from a pro forma sense of obligation so that the creators could
claim broad representation on their show. I do not necessarily
think having expansive representation on the show is a bad thing,
given that any positive representation of marginalized characters is
generally a good thing (that conversation is for a different time); I
do think the writers and casting directors need to be careful in how
these characters are portrayed on the show, however, and what
their diversity adds to the collective purpose of the show.
Another very intentional aspect of the multiculturalism on
the show is the portrayal in a few episodes of Dev’s parents by the
real-life parents of Aziz Ansari; having Ramesh (Shoukath Ansari)
and Nisha (Fatima Ansari) included sheds light on Dev’s
upbringing as well as his traditional roots. His parents are
portrayed as immigrants with thick accents. It is clear they are not
trained actors, and they often speak with little inflection and real
hesitancy. Dev’s mother is shy, reserved, but very supportive.
Dev’s father is sage, funny, and brings a real joyful comedic
presence. The use of real (untrained) people as actors on the show
is refreshing, and carries with it a sense of authenticity and
legitimacy. The idea behind it is that these really could be Dev’s
parents because, after all, they are.
The whole point of the multicultural emphasis on the show
is the notion that any person could be substituted in for these
characters and it still could be someone’s life. That is to say, this
show could be about a Hispanic woman (or any other person) in
Dev’s position, and the show would not change very much. The
actors are playing versions of real people and speak realistic lines
of dialogue with stuttering and unnatural pauses. The situations
introduced on the show depict something that could really happen,
to anyone; it just so happens that an Indian man is the main
character of the show. Where the show fails its critical
multiculturalism test is its lack of self-reflexivity. Kellner asserts
Previous Page Next Page