Iranian-American comedy comes to TV thanks to Nasim Pedrad

Saturday Night Live alum Nasim Pedrad brings something to American television that has never really existed before: the Iranian-American experience.

Nasim Pedrad is set to star in a new TBS comedy titled Chad, who follows a 14-year-old Iranian boy to high school. Chad, played by Pedrad, has quite a journey ahead of him – navigating the tough ups and downs of high school while discovering his cultural identity.

10 episodes were ordered for the show, and Pedrad shared his excitement over the news with an Instagram post filled with emojis.

As for this Iranian American, when I saw Pedrad’s Instagram post and then watched the teaser for Chad that fell yesterday, I thought I was being played. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. And then I thought… where the hell was that show when I was in high school?

As an Iranian-American woman who grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, my craving for any form of representation on the big or small screen was intense. And even now, at age 30, I still don’t feel like my cultural experience has been accurately described to the American public.

Of course, there have been glimpses of what it’s like to be in the Middle East in the United States both on TV and in movies. But can you name a singular TV show that follows a Middle Eastern family that’s on the same level as Freshly landed Where Blackish?

When Sunset Shahs is my best reference and FX’s Tyrant is the second most likely (and this is an Arab-American family, mostly established abroad, and with a not-so-positive title) – it’s clear that there’s a big gaping hole where the portrayal in entertainment for the people of the Middle East should be.

We’re slowly starting the progress train with shows like Mindy Kaling’s upcoming Netflix series, which will follow a modern day first-generation Indian-American girl. But it’s also an Indo-American experience.

Middle Easterners shouldn’t have to sit down and say ‘Okay, that’s good enough’. We deserve our own stories.

Like I tweeted this morning I waited always seeing a part of myself portrayed on mainstream television. While I know this is a high school boy comedy, and we’ll probably see some more awkward teenage scenarios than anything else, Chad is a teenage story with a Middle Eastern perspective. It is also a show directed by an Iranian-American woman. This alone worth all the praise.

Chad is the start of what will hopefully be a plethora of shows telling these kinds of stories – stories that my family and I can relate to, and that everyone can laugh at. and learn too.

Watch the official teaser for Chad below.

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