Family sitcoms of the 80’s followed a tried and true formula: an out of touch but well-meaning dad, the peacemaker mom, cool but combative teenage kids and a corny but catchy theme song that tied it all together. While the recipe for a successful comedy has long since evolved, some modern day funnymen are using the old school technique to spread a message of tolerance.
Halal In The Family, a new web series created by Daily Show writer Miles Kahn and Daily Show correspondent/writer Aasif Mandvi, follow the Qu’osbys (pronounced Cosby), a Muslim-American family trying to live their all-American lives while handling cultural misunderstandings that often root from their religious background. Whether it’s being spied on by neighbors or being stereotyped via Photoshop-inspired bullying, father Aasif, mother Fatima, and children Whitney and Bobby find a way to shrug off the satirically-spun mix-ups with a quip and a good ole’ belly laugh.
After each episode, however, the message shifts to a more serious nature. Visitors will find a section called “The Issues”, an addendum that puts the 3-4 minute comedy clips into political perspective using statistics, graphics and external links to outside activist sources. The dichotomy of comedy and tragedy is at full display here — and the attempt at externally browbeating an audience with a stalwart sociological message weakens both the creativeness of the satire and the follow-up moral viewers are supposed to takeaway.
Halal In The Family’s theme song ends with a squad of FBI SWAT team members rushing in on a nice family moment shared the Qu’osbys, arresting them as Aasif yells, “We are not that kind of Muslim!” Likewise, the show is not the kind of sitcom we are used to, which makes it a meal for someone with a more acquired taste for its mix of satirical cultural hijinks and political heavy-handedness.
Check out all four episodes on the playlist below and let us know what you think: