Practice makes perfect Iranian gets a break in American TV drama? Deegeh chi?
October 20, 1998 The Iranian
Recently I have found myself looking forward to Sundays. I've become hooked on a TV drama called “The Practice” (9:00 pm Sundays on ABC). This past weekend in fact, I became a hardcore fan.
Last Sunday's episode (“The Battlefield”) involved an Iranian woman who had sued her former boss. She had been fired from her position as manager of a dry cleaning shop. (Maybe it seems unlikely to you engineers and computer geeks out there that an Iranian would be a dry cleaning manager, but I have a very good friend in Wisconsin who gave up a career at Sun Microsystems to do just that.)
She was let go simply and outrightly for being Iranian? I was outraged. I began pacing back and forth not knowing whether to turn the TV off or to watch. I mean, this was yet another clear case of Iranian-bashing!
As the case went on, it became obvious that she was not a U.S. citizen, and had chosen not to become one either. This is a subtle but very important point. Many of us are simply not comfortable with becoming legally American. Our attitude is that “Yes, I want to live in the U.S., but, no, I do not want to become an American.” The show explored this deftly I thought.
The defense argued that she had a disruptive effect on the business because she was an Iranian, and they made a compelling case about why she had been terminated. I mean how can the wishes of one outweigh the wishes of many?
I was getting a bad feeling about the whole thing. I knew that legally as well as morally, right was on our … er … her side. but I still did not know what would happen.
As the case wore on and the jury left the room to deliberate, I found myself tensing up in anticipation. I began composing letters of protest. I had thoughts of boycotts, and even, yes, I'll admit it, buying a DVD player and a Sony Playstation so I wouldn't have to watch broadcast TV ever again.
The jury returned with that usual jury look. I bit my lip.
“We the jury… find in favor of …. the defendant!”
“What? We lost?!!!” I screamed. “This is bull…!” I fumed.
As I reached for the remote, my wife pulled it away and said, “Dehe! Baabaa bezaar baqiyasho bebeeneem!”
As I reluctantly watched the rest of the show, the judge turned to the woman and proceeded to apologize for the jury's decision and OVERTURNED THE VERDICT!
“Yahoo!, We won! We won!” I yelled as my wife and I celebrated. I even did a little dance.
I felt so good that I thought, it's finally happening! This is the fair shake we need. This is the kind of exposure that makes Iranians look good and decent. It says it's okay for us to feel and act Iranian and to expect equal rights.
Just when I thought the show was over, there was one last bonus.
After the judge made his decision, the lawyer for the defense came over to our girl and actually asked her out! It appears that during the course of the case he had begun to feel guilty and was attracted to her and wanted to make up for it.
I looked fearfully out from under my eyelids, as she pondered his offer. Don't you dare, I thought, agonizing that she would say something stupid like, “Okay, sure, sounds great!”
“I'm sorry but under the circumstances I don't think that would be wise,” she responded gracefully. In other words, zereshk!
* * *
A side note: Apparently the woman who played the role of the victimized Iranian is married to the star of the show, Dylan McDermott, in real life.