When I first heard that Ryan Seacrest was doing a show on Iranians living in Los Angeles, I was scared. When I watched the show, I was horrified. I even announced on Facebook that I would now be telling people I was Italian. BUT, like a bad car accident, I could not tear myself away from Shahs of Sunset and now, instead of blowing it off, I kind of fell in love with it. And so did a lot of other people. The series got better ratings than Bethenny Frankel's show on Bravo and after a brief first season, it was just renewed for a season two. What fascinates me about all Reality TV is that I always start out hating everyone involved and then, before I know it, the gay guy confronts his absent father and I suddenly want to hold him tight and tell him it gets better. Throw me any morsel of humanity on one of these shows and I'll cling to it and watch the whole season. That's why I went from wanting to barf in the mouths of everyone on Shah's to trying to figure out who I'd want to meet for happy hour (MJ).
Anyway. My mom is kind of mad that my sister and I are obsessed with Shahs, but I can tell she secretly wants to give the show another try. And even though I've embraced its awfulness, I do feel a responsibility to dispel some Persian myths and stereotypes the show perpetuates. This is for you, mom.
10. All Iranian-Americans do not live in Los Angeles. Many of us live in other parts of the country. Those of us that didn't relocate to LA are racist against Iranians who did. We think they are cheesy and tacky and materialistic (my aunt, uncle, and cousins are the exception to the rule.) This is why we were particularly terrified to learn there would be a reality TV show about Persians in LA. They are like our dirty little secret and now they've been exposed to the world.
9. We do not all sell real estate. We do, however, appraise it.
8. Contrary to what Asa would like you to believe, she's not like super famous among the Persian community. I'd never heard of her until this show. But I cannot wait for Diamond Water perfume to be made available at the nearest Nordstrom Rack and I'm dying to hear a Tehrangeles feat. Fergie & Snoop-Dogg re-mix.
7. We believe the people on this show need a serious eyebrow intervention. We pretty much invented threading and their bushy brows spit in the face of it. Andy Cohen, if you're reading this, I'd like to tape a PSA to air after the show telling Persians where they can get their brows done in the greater Los Angeles area. I'm worried they are going to spread lice with those furry caterpillar abroos.
6. We don't argue about stupid shit like accusing someone of wearing an off the rack dress or being late to a party. In fact, why would anyone with a life go to a party on time? (Persian Standard Time is my new favorite thing to say). We actually fight about important stuff-- like backgammon games or not getting invited to a wedding. And we certainly do not kiss and make up right away. Instead, we prefer to hold a grudge until someone dies and then we feel bad and say sorry.
5. We stopped rocking mustaches in 1992 just like everyone else. And as much as Reza is our favorite character for creating the catchphrase "Hello, We're Persian" we don't want them to make a comeback.
4. We are into highlights, not peroxide. We are as horrified by Vida (MJ's evil mother; pictured below) and Reza's Long Island cousins cheap blonde dye jobs as the rest of you are. We would however like MJ's mom to get her own spin off show called Livin' La Vida Loca.
3. Persian Muslims and Persian Jews are not like the Capulets and the Montagues. We don't hate each other. We just kind of ignore each other. Seriously, I didn't even know Persians could be Jewish until I met a Persian Jew in college.
2. We look more like GG and less like MJ and Sammy. Although, let the record show that GG's nose is not real. I do not want to be held to some unrealistic beauty standard by gringos who don't know a fake nose when they see one.
1. We do not call ourselves refugees and we never call Iran the old country. Last time I checked refugees weren't living in Beverly Hills. Oh wait, most of these people live in shitty Westwood condos. So, scratch that. They are totally refugees.
There are a million other things I could add to this list. (Like how we don't all have a soft spot for gold and antique furniture. Seriously. Some of us shop at Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel like the rest of America). And yeah, even though the series does show Iranians in a bad light....well, does that really matter when it also shows MJ fall on her ass in a Vegas bathtub OR Reza's kabob-loving scary grandmother who was also kind of cute and could be in an Adam Sandler movie OR GG's hot ass sister who bought a BMW for like five dollars a month and no money down? What do I care what people in the mid-west think about Iranians? I don't. Bring on more Shah-nanigans stat.