Huffpost Culture
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Shirin Sadeghi Headshot

The Shahs of Seacrest

Posted: Updated:

We knew the campaign to start a war with Iran was brutal, but we didn't know how ugly it would get, until now. The warmongers, we've just learned, have hired Ryan Seacrest to close the deal.

There simply cannot be any other explanation for the curious timing and unpleasant odor of his new reality show, Shahs of Sunset. Iranian Americans now know what Italian Americans felt when Jersey Shore hit the scene. You see, Seacrest has compiled a less than impressive sample of what is in fact one of America's most highly educated and financially successful minorities, to showcase his view into the cosmetically-altered soul of Tehrangeles.

He's taken Iranian Americans -- a group that some estimates put at nearly 2 million in the United States and who have been shown by the US Census to be the most highly educated minority in America -- and reduced them to a motley of six, mostly real estate agents. Six Iranian Americans, four of whom don't even go by their original Iranian name: GG, Mike, Sammy, and MJ. Six Iranian Americans who we're told are all in their 30's, though at least four could easily pass as somewhere in their 40's and one -- the out-of-the-closet Reza -- is more than likely a reincarnation of the deceased pop star Freddie Mercury, as he might have looked in his 50's. (No offense to the great Freddie, of course.)

And what do they do? Get drunk, fight and talk about their earth-shattering careers as real estate agents and daddy's girls. It's a convenient portrayal of Iranian Americans to those Americans who know little about them: what would be wrong with bombing a country full of idiots like this? And it's a doubly convenient Kardashianization of the Iranian American youth: "Observe, young Iranian Americans, don't follow your parents, grandparents and siblings into medicine, engineering, internet technology or other fields of higher education and certainly don't get involved in politics, especially about Iran, because you can be famous by being a bubblehead."

"I don't like ugly people," one of the Shahs of Sunset cast members, GG, said recently. Touche. And that brings us to the delicate matter of that element of image-making that is most visible to the eye. As one current resident of Iranian-central in Beverly Hills stated on an entertainment blog recently: "Sorry to be blunt, but it shouldn't have been that hard to find any number of great-looking, glamorous Persian participants." Sorry indeed.

Seacrest and his new cache of Iranian -- nay! Persian -- underlings claim that his motives are pure, that Iranians are seen as terrorists in American eyes and he will change all that by portraying them as airheads and mimbos. But any WASPish American can tell you that the real terrorists are the Iraqis, the Afghanis, and those other folks we're bombing on CNN.

And it's not just that Seacrest has no doubt already succeeded in soiling yet another raven-haired minority (the Armenians will never forgive him, of course), it's that he keeps getting away with it. The monster that Merv Griffin built has made a fortune off of scraping the barrel of shamelessness and redefining the lowest common denominator. If we can be generous for a moment, we might even imagine that Seacrest's secretions are decent, cultured people who, lost in the glories of Internet Age notoriety, inadvertently transform into caricatures of themselves. But the Kardashians quickly snap us out of that stupor.

No, Shahs of Sunset will not be representative of the achievements of Iranian Americans; it will do what all of these flaccid ethnic reality shows have done: reduce the olive-skinned minorities of America to airheaded exaggerations and conveniently apolitical and un-intellectual prototypes for the future. In the future, you see, it would be very convenient for new Americans to prioritize the American dream of rags-to-riches via Internet infamy, over the memories of a heritage and a homeland past. In the future, Greek Americans, Arab Americans, South Asian Americans and Asian Americans should be weary of the hand of Seacrest. It's only a matter of time before he strikes their communities, too.