In the “Indians on TV” episode of his groundbreaking series Master of None, Aziz Ansari vocalizes the slow-but-steady nature of progress when it comes to representation, and how one thing leads to the next as opposed to all of it happening at once. We might already be seeing the impact of that show as Disney’s Freeform, formerly ABC Family, has ordered a multi-camera comedy called Brown Girls, which sounds delightful given the quality of the television they’ve been producing of late.
What’s more, the pilot comes from a writer-producer from the Indian Diaspora, Disillusioned and Hipsterhood’s Shipli Roy, so authenticity is probably something we don’t need to worry about. It’ll also be penned by Iranian-American producer Nastaran Dibai (3rd Rock From The Sun) whose Barry Sonnenfeld-directed ABC pilot about the Iranian-American immigrant experience, Funny In Farsi, unfortunately never made it to air. It’s a pretty great script and I suggest tracking it down.
According to Deadline, the show will focus on two Desi women, Rimmi, an American-born beauty vlogger, and Devi, a young immigrant from India, i.e. characters with two distinct yet overlapping Indian and American experiences that will no doubt come into conflict. That’s the kind of cultural contrast that interests me (in case you couldn’t tell from last Supergirl review), and I'm excited given that this could not only be an opportunity for a lot of South Asian and South Asian-American talent, but for viewers of the same demographic to see their stories and experiences contextualized and reflected back to them.
Freeform Executive VP Karey Burke seems to feel the same:
“We love this odd couple comedy not just because it is a sophisticated, funny show but we are thrilled to tell a story about part of the American experience that isn’t really on TV today,”
The Big Bang Theory’s Mark Cendrowski is in negotiations to direct, and while the mention of that truly awful show might give folks pause, I don’t quite mind as the character of Raj is the only depiction of an Indian student in America I’ve felt even remotely represents my experience. That’s just me, but I hope this pilot is received well and the folks at Freeform continue the good work they’ve been doing. We’ll keep you updated on any further developments.