After 'Sunset'

Episode 1: Let's break down the season premiere's events and get to know our six "Shahs."

Mar 9, 2012

And so we begin a new series -- Shahs of Sunset -- capturing the lives of six Persians in Beverly Hills. Disclaimer: I, in fact, am half-Persian. My father was born in Tehran, and while I live in New York, along with half of my family, the other half does live in Beverly Hills. And attended to Beverly Hills High. I hear about the “old country” quite a bit from my father (stories I actually always feel fortunate enough to hear), and about how things changed when the Shah was overthrown. He still reads Persian magazines, and somehow found Persian television on his computer. We bond over things like Parazit, the Persian version of The Daily Show. (Jon Stewart actually had the guys from Parazit on his show last year.) And, this is semi off-topic, but I recommend reading/seeing the graphic novel Perspepolis by Marjane Satrapi which describes the darker side of that time. (Persepolis also happens to be a tasty Persian restaurant on the Upper East Side.) Sooo in a lot of ways this show hits pretty close to home, maybe a little too close to home. But, from my experience New York and California Persians can be quite different, about as different as New Yorkers and Californians in general, so I’m “learning” things right along with the rest of you! We learned a lot about the six people whose lives we’ll be chronicling over the next five episodes. Let’s break them down:

Let’s start with Mercedes, or “MJ,” Her dogs have Facebook pages, they vote for Presidents (on Facebook.) She’s the single girl, whose friend, Jenn, is getting married. We go along as MJ and her friends shop for Jenn’s wedding dress and bridesmaids’ dresses, MJ tells her friend that marriage is pointless. Let’s just say MJ is a little damaged over her parents’ divorce. Her mother is also fairly critical of her, and married Jewish women. In fact, the discussion about the different views on religion, intermarriage, etc. was fascinating to me, and I’m sure it won’t be the last we hear about it.