KCETLink Presents Season 2 of Controversial Israeli Comedy 'ARAB LABOR'

Network Enlists Palestinian-American Comedian Aron Kader and

Jewish-Israeli Actress/Philanthropist Naomi Ackerman to Introduce

Episodes and Provide Insight Into Cultural Complexities

 

BURBANK, Calif. - July 11, 2014 - As part of KCETLink's mission to educate and enlighten viewers through quality, groundbreaking programming, the nation's largest independent public media organization, has enlisted Palestinian-American comedian Aron Kader and Jewish-Israeli actress/philanthropist Naomi Ackerman to introduce ARAB LABOR Season 2 episodes, providing insight into the cultural nuances depicted in the award-winning Israeli sitcom that has engaged a global audience by poking fun at the cultural and political differences in Israel's mixed society. Artfully tackling the complexities of a society where tensions are ever present, KCETLink continues its run of Israel's top-rated series this summer. 

 

The second season of ARAB LABOR will air exclusively on KCET in Southern California with two half-hour back-to-back episodes Tuesday nights beginning July 15, 2014 at 9 p.m.  Additionally, Season 2 will re-air on national satellite network Link TV (via DirecTV 375 and DISH 9410) beginning Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET/PT

 

It is through a comedic lens that ARAB LABOR creators shine a light on some of the harsh realities of life in Israel.  To help viewers understand the challenges, Kader and Ackerman explain some of the series' cultural nuances and historical references each week. Leveraging their own wit and wisdom, Kader and Ackerman will introduce back-to-back episodes of Season 2 and identify plot points that might not be understood by viewers who are unfamiliar with the issues surrounding the cultural divide in Israel.

 

In Season 2, viewers will discover how one decent shower in a Jewish neighborhood is enough to make Amjad decide to upgrade his family's life and move from the Arab village to the wealthy, Jewish neighborhood in western Jerusalem. In the new neighborhood, there is great water flow, garbage is cleaned three times a week, streets are marked and there are trees and gardens.


Amjad, an Arab very well aware of his inferior status in the eye of his new neighbors, will do absolutely anything to get accepted by the average Israeli bourgeoisie. He tries to prove he is an inseparable part of his neighbors' life, hoping to please them, and, by doing so, completely neutralizes his identity, culture, and nationality, often at the expense of his family members' mental health.

 

Created by Sayed Kashua, an Israeli-born Palestinian journalist, ARAB LABOR (translated from the Hebrew "Avoda Aravit," which colloquially implies "shoddy or second-rate work") is a controversial hit Israeli comedy series that focuses on Amjad Alian, a Palestinian journalist and Israeli citizen in search of his identity, as he seeks high status in the society into which he was born, but where his car is searched everyday when he drives to his job in Jerusalem.

 

Humorously highlighting the collision of language, religion and custom, the milestone series depicts Israeli society through the eyes of an amusing Muslim Arab family and their constant desire to conform.  When it premiered in Israel in 2007, the sitcom marked a milestone on Israeli television as the first program to present Palestinian characters speaking Arabic in primetime. ARAB LABOR, broadcast in Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles, debuted in the U.S. on Link TV in the fall of 2008.

 

ARAB LABOR stars Norman Issa (Amjad Alia), a Palestinian-Israeli journalist working in Jerusalem; Mariano Idelman (Meir), Amjad's Jewish-Israeli coworker at the newspaper; Clara Khoury (Bushra), Amjad's wife, mother of Maya; and Mira Awad (Amal), a Palestinian-Israeli attorney to whom Meir is attracted.

 

Online, viewers can access ARAB LABOR bonus material, including cultural explainers, articles, interviews, and episode descriptions at kcet.org/arablabor and linktv.org/arablabor.  Full episodes will also stream online for two weeks following each broadcast.

 

 

Season Two Episode Descriptions:

 

"Shower"

All Amjad wants is a decent morning shower, but a problem with the water pressure in the apartment above his parents' home is getting in the way. Shocked by the superior quality of the shower at his Jewish friend Meir's house, Amjad storms city hall demanding "equal water pressure for Jews and Arabs." Instead, the municipal council demands the demolition of his illegal building constructions, giving him an excuse to buy the apartment he's always wanted in Meir's building in a Jewish neighborhood.

 

"Moving"

Amjad goes out of his way to carefully plan the Alian family's move into their new apartment in a Jewish neighborhood, but anything that can go wrong, goes wrong. He receives parking tickets every three hours because he's not allowed to park on the street yet. Amjad tries to get a local parking permit from the municipal council, but must first change his address at the population registry department. His mover, who has connections at the department, promises to get him a permit. But the situation turn disastrous when he sets out with Amjad's I.D.

 

"Dog"

The neighbors' dogs bark relentlessly any time Amjad leaves or enters the building; he suspects it's because they dislike Arabs.

 

"Nightgown"

Amjad decides to purchase sexy lingerie for Bushra at a women's underwear store, where he's suspected to be an Arab pervert.

 

"Building Committee"

Amjad decides to purchase sexy lingerie for Bushra at a women's underwear store, where he's suspected to be an Arab pervert.

 

"Purim (Halloween)"

Amjad leaves together with Meir for a Purim (Halloween) party, dressed up as an IDF soldier. Amjad leaves the club to smoke and gets kidnapped by two young Palestinians. The kidnappers are shocked and embarrassed to discover they kidnapped an Arab dressed up as a soldier. No one wants Amjad back. No one is willing to pay any ransom for him. The kidnappers find themselves stuck with the worthless Amjad in a desert storeroom somewhere in the West bank.

 

"Music"

The Alian family is invited to a concert in which Nadav, a neighbors' son around Maya's age, plays. Amjad is filled with envy and anger because Maya doesn't know to play any classical music and forces her to play the violin. Along the way, we discover a traumatic childhood event experienced by Amjad who was convinced he was headed towards a promising musician's career before his father prevented the fulfillment of that dream.

 

"Remembrance"

Memorial Day and Independence Day arrive. Amjad, who thinks he's invited to light a torch at the traditional torch lighting protesting ceremony in front of the prime minister's house, finds himself committing to light a torch at the eve of Independence Day at Mount Herzl. At the same time, Maya, who is a part of the school choir, is torn between her parents' demand and her desire to be perceived as an equal amongst her friends in her Jewish school. She doesn't know whether or not she should take part in the Memorial Day ceremony at school.

 

"Civil Guard"

Amjad joins the civil guard in order to protect the neighborhood from a series of break-ins. Amjad turns into the neighborhood's new guard. Armed with a Carbine with which he has no clue what to do, he turns into the neighbors' menace. He acts like a sheriff in the Wild West and the neighbors don't dare to leave their houses when the armed Arab is lurking around the neighborhood.

 

"Amjad Suspects"

Bushra has a private clinic in the village. She's very busy, returning only very late. Amjad decides he's a "metrosexual" until he discovers one of Bushra's patients is Husam, a childhood bully who used to torture him and grew up to be a man's man, rich and charming. Jealousy drives Amjad mad. He's sure Bushra is having an affair with Husam and decides to clear his name and save his honor.

 

"Tension in the South"

A war breaks in the south ruining the tranquility Amjad has finally reached with his neighbors. In an attempt to explain his opinion and the opinion of the Arab citizens of Israel, he appears as a guest in a TV show after which he finds himself giving home to a family of war refugees from Sderot.

 

"Swimming"

Amjad understands that Arabs have a problem with water and that they do not know how to swim.  He finds himself declaring in front of his neighbors, Timna and Natan, that he does know how to swim. Amjad joins swimming lessons and finds out his situation is much worst than he thought. The Russian swim instructor has a revolutionary trick to teach even Arabs how to swim, but the trick doesn't work on Amjad, who accidentally causes the instructor to drown and is accused of attempted manslaughter for racist reasons.

 

"Amjad Superstar"

Amjad receives an offer from one of the TV networks to host a new TV show in Arabic. Amjad, who's always dreamt of appearing on TV, begins to fantasize of a bright future in which he would change the face of the Middle East. Convinced he's the first Arab in primetime, he discovers he's supposed to host the show dressed up as a bunny.

 

 

ABOUT KCETLINK

KCETLink is the national independent public transmedia organization formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media. A viewer-supported 501c(3) organization, its content is distributed nationally via satellite on DirecTV (375) and DISH (9410), in Southern and Central California via broadcast, as well as through various digital delivery systems. The combined organization reaches a wide broadcast audience that includes Link TV's 33 million satellite subscribers and KCET's 5.6 million households in Southern and Central California. KCETLink is committed to driving public media innovation with smarter ways to access content that engages all audiences with global storytelling. For additional information about KCETLink productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.

 

 

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