“Alice in Arabia” is a high-stakes drama series about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather’s royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil. The pilot was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously served in the US Army as a Cryptologic Linguist in the Arabic language, trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. She left service in September 2013 as a rank E-4 Specialist.
As expected, the Arab/Muslim community is crying foul, calling it offensive, racist, contributing to negative stereotypes. Mind you, no-one has seen an episode yet, but they've still hit the Twittersphere with the usual bitching and moaning.
Samia Shameem @SamIAm_NoHam (who wears a hijab) posted:
"…while surviving life behind the veil." The veil is not a set of prison bars. Stop. #AliceInArabia @ABCFamilyMaybe not for Samia, but to any Western non-Muslim woman, yes indeed they would be considered prison bars.
But since no-one has seen the show yet, they should reserve their outrage until they do.
ABC has chimed in on the uproar.
“We hope people will wait to judge this show on its actual merits once it is filmed. The writer is an incredible storyteller and we expect Alice to be a nuanced and character driven show,” a spokesperson for ABC Family wrote in an email to California radio station KPCC.
We won't know for sure whether the characters will be stereotypical or not until it airs, but if they are- that's Hollywood for you.
This is a TV series people, if you find something offensive don't watch it. Besides, it will give actors of Arab descent a heck of a lot of work.