Bravo finally premiered The Shahs of Sunset last night, and I can happily report that I both love it and hate it all at once. On the one hand, it’s rather riveting in a car-wreck sort of way. On the other hand, it’s filled with mostly hideous people who proudly measure their self-worth with designer labels. Of course, that’s sort of the basis for all great Bravo shows, which means that at the end of the day, I will become hopelessly addicted to this mess, and I’m okay with that.
Shahs of Sunset (appropriately abbreviated to S.O.S.) is a perhaps one of the more unlikely reality shows to appear in the wake of Jersey Shore. That latter zeitgeisty sensation has ushered in a wave of programs that aspire to highlight certain ethnic groups, starting with Italians, leading to Russians (Russian Dolls), and now arriving at Persians. To many people in the country, it’s likely that this may be their first time really being exposed to the Persian stereotype, but for those of us in LA, we see a lot of it, and so it was with a morbid fascination that I tuned in, hoping to both rubberneck on the flashy Persian lifestyle and perhaps be enlightened too. Still waiting on that latter experience…
Our cast of characters is a mostly grimy crew — a group with about as much personality as hair gel (which is to say a fair amount). We have MJ, a cynical woman who has rejected the institution of marriage and instead focused her attention on small dogs who she spoils to an almost comical degree. Emphasis on almost. The fact that she checks her pooches into a ridiculous dog hotel is enough to make us hate her immediately, but the good news for MJ is that she’s not really that awful. She’s fairly funny, and her equally cynical mom is hilarious (if not a bit racy in her views on things such as Jews and Armenians).
MJ’s best friend / best gay is Reza, a roly-poly realtor who once was somewhat hot and now is… well… have you seen the mustache? Needless to say, I wouldn’t call Reza’s look the sexiest, but don’t tell him that. The guy thinks he’s the second coming of George Clooney. I suppose I should applaud him for having high self-esteem. But then I retract that applause because, well, again… the mustache. Reza is pretty terrible, but I also get the sense that he’s just being ridiculous for the cameras. In fact, one of my friends is actually friends with him, and I can’t imagine that my buddy would associate with such an awful guy; so, based on that, I’m holding out hope that Reza is actually surprisingly awesome. Whatever he is, he’s definitely a character.
Next we have GG, a hot, spoiled girl who looks sort of like the Persian version of Lauren Conrad. GG has a sharp tongue and a few bitchy-sassy one-liners that are so obnoxious you can’t help but secretly enjoy her (“I hate two things: ants and ugly people”). That being said, GG is the classic, catty rich girl — the type who jealously thrashes another hot girl’s outfit for no other reason than to exert dominance. To boot, she ridiculed fellow cast member Mike’s girlfriend’s bikini, stating that it was a rather egregious ensemble to wear to a party. Let’s not forget, however, that said party was a POOL party with a tiger, cabanas, and oh yeah, a POOL. Since when was it a crime to wear a BIKINI to a POOL PARTY? Better yet, she denied that she was talking shit. Just making observations! Awful.
Earlier in the episode, GG also exerted some awfulness at a dinner amongst the cast. When pseduo-hippie Asa dared to mention H&M, GG immediately assumed this was a nasty dig at her own personal style, and as we all should know, GG would NEVER shop at H&M. It’s like suggesting that she do something heinous like GET A JOB.
Anyway, GG went off on Asa, who looked about as stunned and confused as, well, anyone who was watching this show for the first time. Poor Asa — she’s already my favorite because she’s the only one who has suggested an inkling of shame and embarrassment for her friends. Asa clearly is all about Persian culture — she’s even produced a track that she unabashedly calls an “epic Persian summer jam” (note: I’m already racing to iTunes…) — but she struggles with the excess and tackiness that her community seems to display. She wisely states that money can’t buy you style, but not all her friends would agree with her. GG, for one, turned her nose up at Asa’s lack of designer duds, and while I can’t say that Asa’s bohemian/gypsy style was my favorite, at least she had a spark of individuality.
Also rounding out the cast is Mike, a muscle-clad realtor (they all are realtors, quite frankly) who seems like he wants to bang GG, but perhaps his Jewish background prevents him from getting involved with a Muslim girl. Plus, there’s also the fact that GG is kind of a bitch, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, Mike is a through-and-through momma’s boy, and while he looks like he reeks of cologne and hair products, there wasn’t anything particularly offensive about his personality (and if there was, I’ve clearly blocked it out of my mind).
Lastly, we have Sammy, an affable, pudgy real estate developer who looks like he could be a forgotten character from Pinocchio. Sammy is known for throwing the craziest parties (tigers! kebabs! Skanky ho’s!) and dating stripper-types. I wouldn’t rank him as one of the most attractive people we’ve ever seen on television, but apparently deep pockets can be a turn on for the ladies. Nevertheless, Sammy seems like a sweet guy, even if his tastes veer into douchey territory.
Color me hooked.
“Guys, let’s enjoy this dinner and make all the other customers never want to come back again.”
Mike: “Guys, isn’t my mom the best?”
GG: “Guys, isn’t H&M the best? I mean, the WORST. I would never shop there. EVER!”
“Anyone else have my epic Persian summer jam in their heads?”
“You guys, do you think my dogs are ordering room service at their hotel right now?”
“Seriously, Mommy’s the best.”
Reza: “Can we pause the conversation for a moment to talk about how fine I am? I mean, look at me. Face of a rapist, body of a competitive pizza eater.”
Asa: “You know, there are a lot of great, slimming looks at H&M.”
“YOU TAKE THAT BACK WOMAN.”
“Cheers to being awful.”
“OMG. Look at this picture of Kate Middleton. She’s not wearing a single piece of gold. Hahaha.”
GG: “Like my outfit? Daddy paid for it.”
Reza: “Wow, your daddy sure spends a lot of money on you.”
“You do NOT talk about MY FAMILY. I WILL KILL YOU.”
“Kill me? But I’m fabulous!”
“Please. You are like a forgotten scarf in the H&M clearance bin.”
“OH NO YOU DIDN’T!”
“OMG! I love dancing to this epic Persian summer jam!”
“Somebody please take me back to the zoo. Or better yet, just shoot me and make me a rug. I can’t stand another whiff of Drakkar Noir.”
GG: “OMG. You look so pretty! GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS PARTY BEFORE I TEAR YOUR EYES OUT.”
Reza: “Hey, remember that time when we had sex?”
“How many times do I have to tell you, Reza? That wasn’t me. That was a pillow fort with googly eyes.”
“Hey bro. Do you think maybe we look a bit too date rapey?”
“Nah. The girls dig it.”
“Asa, what are you looking for? Your H&M hookah mouthpiece? Hahaha.”
What did you think about the show?