You can’t make this shit up (“Alice in Arabia”)

You ever see something so fucked up that you can’t even get mad?

It’s one of those things that, if somebody told you about it, you wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it yourself. And if you saw it, you’d just stand there staring at it like, “This is so fucked up that I wanna keep it as a specimen for further study. I wanna pin it to a board and dissect it.”

That’s how I feel about Alice in Arabia.

Here’s how ABC described it:

“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.

(And the English major in me notes the parallel between Alice in Arabia and Alice in Wonderland. That’s right–countries with lots of Brown people in them, especially Arabs, are not real places in the real world with real people in them. No, they are nonsensical realms akin to an alternate universe where cakes turn little girls into giants and people play croquet with fucking flamingos and Johnny Depp can breakdance.)

Get this: this was not satire. This was not a joke. This was not a market survey designed to test the waters for what audiences like and don’t like.

A real live human being–not an alien, not a robot, not a mermaid who recently switched out her fins for legs–decided that this was a good fucking idea. Even more than that, that human being convinced other real live human beings that this was a good fucking idea. And they didn’t even need to make an offer the other people couldn’t refuse!

Pro-tip: If you have an idea for a story about people of color, and it sounds like some shit straight outta The Onion or The Colbert Report, DON’T FUCKING DO IT!


4 thoughts on “You can’t make this shit up (“Alice in Arabia”)

  1. *headdesk*

    On the bright side, they’ve since cancelled it:

    I especially like this bit:
    “The defense from writer Brooke Eikmeier was that she didn’t write ABC Family’s promotional description for the pilot episode, and that the actual show was a sensitive and balanced portrayal of Saudi Arabian culture. However, BuzzFeed got hold of an early draft copy of the script, which appeared to live up to every concern that Alice in Arabia was just as racist as it sounded.”

    Shockingly, racists insist they aren’t racist. In other news, sexists insist they aren’t sexist and homophobes insist they aren’t homophobic.

      • Hell, it shouldn’t have been considered FOR a pilot… this is the kind of stupid, racist ignorance that’s just mind-boggling.

        Like… it reminds me of District 9 in a way, where the movie painted the ENTIRE NATION of Nigeria as evil, Hollywood voodoo worshiping, criminals.

  2. The only semi-good thing to come out of that trainwreck is that it was canceled before it got off the ground. It’s an appalling thought that people literally thought this was a good idea.

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