In ‘Mo’, Netflix found an endearing lead and a complex story of multiculturalism

1. 'Mo' Netflix (2)
(Photos: Netflix)
AMMAN — “Mo” is a hilarious series with sharp and sarcastic humor, and is above all hyper-current and effective. Written by and starring comedian Mo Amer, the Netflix series is a fresco on identity. As a Palestinian refugee who grew up in Houston, Amer has a unique history in the stand-up scene.اضافة اعلان

Relatively unknown on this side of the Atlantic, Amer, an American comedian of Palestinian origin, is nonetheless a star in the US. He has written for two Netflix shows and also acted in the sitcom “Ramy”, by Ramy Youssef. He now has his own series on Netflix: a subtle semi-autobiographical comedy available on the streaming platform as of August 24.

Amer’s character, Mo, is a Palestinian refugee born in Kuwait whose family fled to Texas during the First Gulf War. Thirty years old and still awaiting his citizenship, he’s a charismatic polyglot with a biting sense of humor. It’s a pleasure to follow his story.

Amer has explored his complicated identity in two Netflix stand-up specials, “Mo Amer: The Vagabond” (2018) and “Mohammed in Texas” (2021).

Identity crisis
The eight-episode series explores many themes: gun violence, the opioid crisis, and exile, among others, and it’s in addressing these topics that the show’s writing is its most intimate and touching. The main character is torn between his American identity and his Palestinian roots — from the fact that his mother refuses to support his relationship with a Mexican woman to a jar of olive oil he always carries with him, a symbol of an idyllic Palestine.

Mo speaks impeccable Arabic, English, and Spanish, and is often mistaken for Mexican. He lives with his mother (Farah Bsieso), his brother (Omar Elba), and their cat, and provides for their needs while dating shero Maria (Teresa Ruiz). The first episode starts off on a somber note, when Mo is let go for not having papers and later finds himself a victim of a shooting.

The series notably tackles serious subjects like multiculturalism, opioid addiction, and immigration while perfectly playing with the clichés and aberrations of white American society. The characters, for their part, whether main or secondary, are as surprising as they are endearing.

As a comedian, there’s no question about where Amer found his best material; he grew up called Mohammad in Texas.

Stories about his family’s assimilation struggles, America’s skewed view of Muslims, and how chocolate hummus is “a hate crime” have been spun into Amer’s jam-packed live shows, comedy specials, and his sets with the Allah Made Me Funny squad. The Palestinian-American actor has poured his life into his new series.

Read more Reviews
Jordan News