Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been binge-watching multiple shows produced in the U.S. in all the available streaming services…Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Apple TV +; you name it. Even though, I’ve lived in North-America for half of my existence, I still cannot relate nor find any purpose to some of the following cultural components which are repeatedly brought up. My Palestinian wife and I just couldn’t help noticing these patterns, clichés, and ‘normalities’ that are reinforced into the American fabric through the most popular series.
Biased stereotypes about minorities
Besides the lack of minorities in leading roles, non-white characters are usually portrayed in a stereotypical and seldom offensive way. Is uncommon to watch a show where a Latin, African, Middle Eastern or Asian characters are depicted as life-saving heroes; instead we are usually seen as drug dealers, construction workers, maids, jihadists, kebob street vendors, scammers…you get the point. As a result, this ingrains a severe biased fallacy into the heads of the average American who doesn’t live in a cosmopolitan city or has never left their little rural bubble…which could ultimately lead to more racism and predetermined discriminatory behavior in all aspects of society.
If you pay close attention, when characters come back home from a long day and lay down on their sofas or beds, they tend keep their shoes on while placing their feet on top of pillows, bed covers, or their own coffee tables. Why…?! Do people really do that at home? Doesn’t anybody find this disgusting? Are these people aware that shoes are literally filled with all the crap that we’ve stepped on since the moment we left the house…including dog poop?!
Dysfunctional Family Dynamics
I am aware that family relationships in the US are not as tight as in other parts of the world due to the praised individualistic and self-sufficient mentality that governs the land ; but portraying deficient family dynamics as a rule-of-thumb only sets bad examples for minors and counterproductive role models for future parents as well. It works as a self-fulfilling prophecy in many negative levels.
Flesh over Brains
I know…sex and superficial vanity sells far more than cerebral documentaries; but going overboard in salaciousness for simple rating points it’s not worth the detrimental loss of brain cells that its viewers unknowingly go through. I’d suggest, maybe incorporating a little bit of both spectrums…?
I am not a saint nor going to pretend that I don’t have vices of my own, but normalizing drinking alcohol as an imperative for any social gathering or casual conversation is a bit outlandish. ‘Good Girls’ is the perfect example of this…if you are a fan of the show (like myself), you will notice that there is always alcohol involved in almost every scene whenever the three female protagonists want to engage in a meaningful conversation. Shown almost as a replacement for water, alcohol has slowly replaced the previously normalized use of cigarettes in the American media.