وزارد او دا وستساد
VIZITOR TO THE VESTSIDE
an
American blog of Iranian dissent

Bonafide Boniadi


I was recently asked for my thoughts on a Persian family being included in the storyline of the new version of 'Beverly Hills 90210'. I responded Beverly Hells No, that I've never seen the show, and usually not interested in pre-pubescent fluff.

Firstly, to fill ya in, there's a first-bill main character named Navid Shirazi, who is played by the very pretty but very non-Persian Michael Streger. Navid hooks up with a Persian girl named Nika who's played by the very pretty but very non-Persian Noureen Dewulf (a cultured Desi who also co-starred with Sam Golzari in 'American Dreamz', where she played Shohreh Aghdashloo's daughter).

Lets just say it's a start. Ultimately, multiculti stories have to be written by multiculti scribes -- so you have my email, showrunners.

Beverly Hills High School has a whopping percentage of Persian students. So the show took a step further than other recent teen-dramas based in SoCal like Josh Schwartz's 'The O.C.' which projected an Orange County devoid of folks who aren't uber-rich and uber-white and judeo-christian. For better or for worse, anyone who's been to the South Coast Plaza Mall these days knows how wrong a demographic snapshot that is. And speaking of malls, I mentioned BHHS and its correlation with a famous retail spot with this post.

Another one-hour drama took things a step further. General Hospital, the ABC soap which has always been known for breaking ground with diverse subjects, has featured a bonafide Middleastern character the last couple of years for the first time in American daytime TV history.

This past Monday the character, nurse Leyla Mir, saw her run on the show end. Playing the role was 28-year-old Nazanin Boniadi, an Iranian Brit who was nicely suited for the role: she had left her native England to study medicine at UC-Irvine but ended up bitten by the acting bug.

Kudos to head writer Bob Guza and the folks at GH.That character was awarded with a 2008 Image Award, which annually highlights advancements in cultural diversity in media.

The '09 edition will be broadcast next week, Tuesday Feb. 12th on FOX.

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