Cast Blog: #SHAHS

Little Persia

Recap: The Shahs Peace Summit

Recap: Recipe for Disaster

Asa's Profound and Cathartic Trip

Recap: Reza Pops The Big One

The Return of Lochnesa

Mike: I Will Marry Jessica Soon

Reza Dishes on His Engagement

Recap: Make a Run for the Border

Mike Shouldn't be "Scared" of Other Religions

Recap: Turkey with a Side of Apology

Mike's Inner Struggle

Lilly's Disrespectful Behavior

Mike Takes GG's Side

Recap: Outed by Chihuahuas

Reza: "Lilly Doesn't Understand Friendship"

Lilly's Battle with Foot Boogers

Recap: Always a Lady

Recap: A Little Too Much Diamond Water...

The Shah of Bull Sh--

Reza: "I Wish I Had Kept My Mouth Shut"

Ep 8: Persian Empire Divided

Will Mike Put a Ring on It?

Reza Learns the Power of Apology

Recap: Shah-etiquette

MJ Owes GG a Genuine Apology

What MJ Did was Wrong

Loch-Nesa vs. MJ

Asa's Juice Disaster

Recap: Persian Pride?

MJ's Moral Compass is Way Off

An Offer Lilly Can't Refuse?

Recap: Homo-Not-So-Genius

Mike's Disappointment with Reza

Asa: "I Definitely See Why Reza is Irritated"

Reza on the Fight: "I'm Not Proud of It"

Lilly Needs to "Get More Real"

Reza to Lilly: "Get Off Your High Horse"

Cry Me a River

Mike: Master Negotiator

Lilly: Ain't Nobody Got Time for This

Little Persia

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

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.

Next is Reza and out-and proud-gay Persian who tells it like it is and is sure to provide the best one-liners of the season. In the premiere, Reza brings one of his clients to a home being developed by Sammy, our real estate developer. Although Sammy thinks his property is worth a lot, Reza and his client don’t see it that way since it’s not even finished. Can’t hold a good man like Sammy down for too long though as he holds a raucous pool party later in the episode. 

Then there’s Mike. We see that he’s a bit of a mama’s boy and has a little bit of weirdness with Golnesa. He apparently dated her older sister years ago, but he and “GG” flirt (and fight) all the time. 

Finally, we have the black sheep of this little family, Asa. She’s an artist, and often gets picked on by the others for her life style choices. She’s proud to say that she pays for everything she has and wont change to make money. I have to say though I know I’ll hear “Tehranjeles” at the next Persian wedding I attend. No joke -- my father’s proudest achievement of mine was a mix CD of Persian music I made for my brother’s wedding EIGHT YEARS AGO. He still listens to it in his car. 

Our six leads come together twice in this premiere -- both ending semi-disastrously. First, the crew gets together for dinner. Everything seems OK, till GG thinks she hears Asa say something about her wearing H&M. Apparently, that’s like calling someone a murderer, because they have it out and it gets a little ugly. GG tells Asa she has a problem with her, but is able to stay calm -- and confused -- and squash the whole conversation.

GG is on a tear, though, because later in the episode, we head to Sammy’s pool party. This party has everything I’ve known a good Persian pool party to have -- alcohol, kebabs, and hookah. And, of course, Mike’s date, Lana. Everyone has a comment about Lana, but no one really starts with Mike bout it -- except GG. GG says something about Lana’s attire in front of Mike, and obviously, Mike defends his lady, and shiz hits the fan. The sexual tension between these two is palpable. 

So, we end this premiere with a sneak peek at what’s to come for the season. I honestly can’t wait for that trip to Las Vegas if only to see how MJ ended up in that bathtub.

Tell me: Who's your favorite "Shah" so far. And do you think Mike and GG will be getting it on by season's end?


Asa's Profound and Cathartic Trip

Asa opens up about her expereince at the Iranian border.

Thank God that I'm a captain's daughter and grew up on boats and hovercrafts and do not need anything inserted to not get sick, LOL! Reza and Golnesa are cracking me up here. Hahaha!

Yachting all day on the same waters my wonderful father sailed in his youth. Such a wonderful day hanging out with my friends. Away from the B.S. and in this beautiful place enjoying each other’s love and company. Princess Island was so relaxing and charming. Every restaurant was a seafood restaurant, and I was in heaven! When I saw the tears in Merc's eyes, I could feel that she was ready to “go there.” I am so proud of her rawness about what she wants and her needs. After all, how can we achieve something we can't even visualize or speak of? I am here for her for strength, love, and support through thick and thin. She will be a wonderful mom!

By the great power of Destiny and Will, Reza, my Mom, and I were able to find a way to make a personal pilgrimage to the border of Iran, where all of us and our ancestors were born. It was such a long, intensive, and at times dangerous journey there, but this was nothing compared to the 30 years we have been waiting to go back home.Without getting too political, I wanted to explain to those who might not fully understand our inability to safely go to Iran. The fact alone that I am a political refugee is not the only reason. While I'm a very proud Iranian and feel a great responsibility to shed light on all the wonderful things about my culture, I also feel socially obligated to be honest about the things terribly wrong with the government of Iran. Iran sadly is a tyranny and deals with political dissidents (that's anyone with an opinion) as criminals. It jails, tortures, and executes its own citizens for simple expressing a political opinion. Think about all the individuals, comedians, talk show hosts, or journalists expressing various opinions here in the US about the president or government... In the US it's called freedom of speech. Well, this freedom does not exist in Iran. The number of “political” prisoners and executions of the latter is staggering. So, somebody whose art deals even mildly with such things and is considered “Islamic Feminist” going to Iran safely is pretty much out of the question.

Back to our beautiful pilgrimage to the center of my heart. Throughout the whole day, my Mom, Reza, and I were like silent warriors. We were all dealing with our own personal emotions throughout the journey while also in the collective experience. On the flight and the bus ride, it was sheer excitement. Then on the last leg of the journey in the Kurdish car, we all lost it. Listening to our favorite old Persian song on our iPhone and nearing the Iranian border, tears of joy and sadness starting falling endlessly.

It was so incredible for me to have my Mom, who sacrificed everything in her youth to make a brighter future for me and my brother, with me. I could feel her pain and joy and see it in her eyes. Reza and I really bonded on a primal level, and I will never forget these moments we shared together. I felt that we were making this pilgrimage for all immigrants, all refugees, all displaced people in the world.Then as I got out of the car and smelled the familiar air, a feeling of complete joy and euphoria came over me. I was not sad anymore. Nor was I missing it the way I used to. I surrendered all those heavy feelings right there on that earth. As I said, when you embrace the big monster, it melts away.

We all have landmark events in our lives. This was one of mine. Going to the border of Iran with my Mom and Reza was one of the most profound and cathartic experiences of my life. I am forever grateful and enormously blessed to have been able to have this experience. And I’m thrilled that I was able to share it with you all.