Reviews at this point tend to be mixed - some are cautiously positive and others giving it a thumbs down. Actually, Bill Brioux's column (Flat as the Prairie) is hilarious on its own. He refers to it as "an out-of-gas Corner Mosque":
The CBC comedy, premiering tonight at 8:30, has become the Little Prayer On The CBC, the divine new series that would lead the once proud public network into the promised land of higher, or even measurable, ratings.
The jokes here are endless, I suppose.
However, even the encouraging review by Rob McKenzie voices this concern:
If Little Mosque has one weakness, it's that several of the non-Muslim characters have the depth of cardboard. The antagonistic townspeople come across as a bunch of inbred, bug-eyed sister-kissers. Mercy may be small, but it has a radio station with a shock jock who loves to fearmonger, and a populace happy to be monged. And when Amaar, the town's metrosexual new imam, is en route to Mercy from Toronto, the cops who detain him at the airport are even more imbecilic than the two Mounties on Corner Gas. Amaar says that if his story doesn't check out, "you can deport me to Syria," to which one of the policemen huffs, "Hey, you do not get to choose which country we deport you to."
Mark Steyn, in the Jan. 15 issue of the Western Standard makes the point that "Muslim the new gay". He says that "...the intended impact is the same: to make Islam something only uptight squares fret about."
Record television critic Joel Rubinoff makes that comparison as well (sorry - under subscriber lock):
While some may find its Northern Exposure-meets-Men In Trees premise too derivative to feel truly original, the (mostly) witty subversion with which it skewers Muslim stereotypes shall be proven in time, I suspect, no less groundbreaking than Ellen, the '90s sitcom that, courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres, announced the arrival of gay culture in mainstream homes across North America.
Creator-producer Zarqa Nawaz herself is quoted by Rubinoff as saying:
I want people to ... recognize the similar issues that appear in all our lives. It's important to normalize the community within the greater community so as not to be seen as the 'other.'
Well, then clearly it's not a hidden agenda. However, if it helps us all to get along better together then what's the harm? And maybe, just maybe it will actually be funny!
What we really need here is a self-deprecating comedy about CBC. How about "Big Blight on the Taxpayer"? Now that I would watch.
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Update: Well, I just finished watching the pilot. (Of the show, that is). Big yawn as far as I'm concerned. For a show that is trying to do away with stereotyping, they sure go to a lot of trouble to cast the non-muslims as mindless dhimmwittis.