Mo: Netflix series shows complex, painful and comical sides of the life of an immigrant

Month is an American comedy-drama television series that premiered on Netflix on August 24. It features Mohammed Amer as an undocumented Palestinian refugee, Mo Najjar, who lives in Houston. The eight-episode season was co-created by Amer and Egyptian-American Ramy Youssef. The latter has its own award-winning series, ramie (2019-present) on Hulu, about a millennial American Muslim in a New Jersey neighborhood.

Mo Amer is well known as a comedian in the US, with two Netflix comedy specials (“Mo Amer: The Vagabond” and “Mo Amer: Mohammed in Texas”) to his credit.

Amer’s parents were displaced from Palestine to Kuwait, where he was born before the family was forced to flee to Texas during the 1991 Gulf War.


With an engaging and effervescent presence, Amer delivers fast, humorous and insightful material that focuses on several different circles of hell in America: the chaotic, crisis-ridden situation in the US and Houston, one of the cities largest in the country. taken as a whole, the dire situation of undocumented immigrants in general and of Palestinians and refugees from the Middle East in particular.

“It talks about second-generation statelessness…and the domino effect that comes from being stateless…Once you’re waiting to be granted asylum, you’re just out there, without a home on paper,” Amer commented in an interview. A “refugee free agent” is what he calls his status.

Unlike many current movies and TV shows that claim to capture social reality, Month it proceeds in a vivid, multifaceted, and compassionate manner, devoid of self-pity or self-conscious melancholy. In the sometimes desperate conditions, the creators see more than oppression, they see life and struggle. Month it proceeds as a series of panels, but also has a central drama. A review like this can only provide a general idea of ​​the show, so the reader should see it for themselves.

The series is semi-autobiographical. It follows Mo Najjar, who lives with his mother Yusra (Farah Bsieso) and his brother Sameer (Omar Elba), a young man clearly on the spectrum. The three have been waiting to be granted asylum for more than 20 years, ever since Mo came to the US when he was nine years old. Estranged sister Nadia (Cherien Dabris) resides in nearby Galveston with her son and her Canadian husband, through whom she obtained legal status.

Other central characters include Mo’s Latina girlfriend Maria (Teresa Ruiz) and his childhood friend Nick (Tobe Nwigwe), a Nigerian-American.

At the beginning of the series, Mo loses his job at a cell phone store. Trilingual (also in real life) and tech savvy, he is an asset to the business. But his boss fires him for fear of an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raid. “It’s not the first time ICE has put me out of a job,” Mo complains. Survival now means pulling fake luxury goods out of the trunk of his car. His quick salesmanship brings in hundreds of dollars from cheap knock-offs.

The relationship with the Catholic Maria is complicated by Yusra’s disgust at not being a Muslim. Always insisting to her family that Maria is about to convert to Islam, Mo struggles to find cultural points of convergence, such as comparing a nun’s habit to a hijab.

Later in that same episode, Mo is at a grocery store buying cat food for Sameer, whose feline companion helps him get by. “Would you like to try some chocolate hummus?” asks a worker handing out free samples. Appalled, Mo replies, “Did you say chocolate hummus? You just insulted my grandmother. Yes. To hell with your lineage. To hell with your culture.” “I am sorry [I’m sorry]”, replies the store employee, apologizing, “I did not know that the hummus was Mexican”.

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The ruffled feathers smooth as Mo offers her some of her mother’s homemade olive oil, which she carries around in a small bottle like holy water.

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