Netflix’s ‘Mo’ Review: A Powerful Comedy Championing a Palestinian Refugee’s Story

A show about seeking asylum in the United States, generational trauma, and cultural displacement doesn’t sound like the recipe for a good comedy. But somehow Netflix Month he accomplishes this, while shedding light on the conflicts and struggles as an immigrant.

Created by comedian mo amerbased on his own life, along with Ramy Youssef, Month explores the life of a Palestinian family in Houston, Texas with a pending asylum case and bills to pay. Amer plays the eponymous character, Mo Najjar, who struggles to hold down odd jobs and support his family: his mother Yusra (Fara Bsieso) and his brother Sameer (Omar Elba). In the debut episode, Mo is fired from a long-standing job due to his refugee status, setting the course for what will happen in the next seven episodes. He gets a job at a strip club, becomes increasingly dependent on Lean, gets into several run-ins with immigration attorneys, and essentially hides all of this from his family.


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Mo’s internal and external problems are amplified by his relationship with María (Teresa Ruiz). They find themselves in a loving and enduring relationship, but one that causes tension due to religious differences (Maria is Catholic, Mo is Muslim) and Yusra’s subsequent disapproval.

Mo Amer and Teresa Ruiz in a still from 'Mo'.

Mo and María (played by Teresa Ruiz) fight for their relationship to be accepted.
Credit: Netflix.

One of the greatest strengths of Month it is his exploration of identity, whether through flashbacks or in current scenes. Mo’s identity is complex and her actions are often at odds with her religious and cultural values. This dichotomy is poignantly examined throughout, highlighting larger issues of contemporary America and what it means to be American.

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The theme is not only executed through situational comedy and dialogue, but also in the gritty, aesthetic depiction of Houston, where Amer actually grew up, and flashbacks to Kuwait, where the fictional Najjars were forced to live afterward. to flee Palestine. These two places serve Mo in very different ways, but they serve as the backbone of who he is, bonding over his code-switching and his various interests, among other things. Her adoptive city is one of deep-rooted friendships and adolescent history; but one in which she lives in almost constant fear of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. What was once her home is a point of both pride and longing. One of the most endearing things about the latter is the infusion of Palestinian culture into the daily lives of the characters. For example, Mo carries a bottle of his mother’s olive oil wherever he goes, a simultaneous sign of his roots and a metaphor for resilience for many Palestinians, also alluded to by Amer in a interview. The character himself says it well in one episode: “Of course, Houston is home. I have another house I can’t go to yet.”

Farah Bsieso and Mo Amer wait outside a courtroom in 'Mo'.

Mo and his mother Yusra (Farah Bsieso).
Credit: Netflix

The many corresponding emotions within the series are also a testament to the writers and actors; in one instance, we laugh at a perfectly worded insult Mo throws out, and in the next moment we wait in silence as we witness the urgency and hunger that lurks beneath everything he does. “Tombstone” episode 5 is a great example of this see-saw: It highlights a particularly funny scene with the new lawyer Mo has hired, but also a touching moment where Mo and his two brothers pray at Mo’s grave. his father. For viewers, there is fun and the possibility of empathy, many times at a time.

The first season ends on a cliffhanger for Mo, whose character viewers will come to support more and more, and Netflix has yet to confirm if season 2 is in the works. But a second season would be well deserved. Month It may be one of the biggest TV shows of the year. The series confidently and poignantly presents a reality for so many in America, who have spent decades in a country they cannot legally define as their own. representation, in Month, is far from being a mere buzzword. It reports on everything the show has accomplished in its eight-episode run.

Telling the story of undocumented immigrants within the strict time constraints and comedy genre is no easy task, but each episode gives viewers a fresh perspective, jokes to laugh at, and definitely things to ponder.

Month It is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)

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