Kind of Islamophobic. Not particularly racist. Terrorism is portrayed as categorically evil, in that civilian casualties are bad, bad, bad, and all the terrorists on the show are Muslim (though not necessarily Arab), so chalk one up for Islamophobia. Also, especially in season one, early depictions of Brody (the possibly brainwashed, former POW, maybe-terrorist) praying in Arabic feel like they’re meant to be chilling, so that’s a little anti-Islam too.
BUT, the deaths of Arab civilians during US black ops drone strikes are also portrayed as categorically evil, as is the Vice President who authorized them, so that tips the scales back in the other direction. And, not only does the representation of Brody’s Muslim practices become more nuanced and less “frightening,” but a couple of non-terrorist Muslims pop up here and there – one of them a CIA agent.
That said, most of the protagonists are westerners trying to foil Islamic extremists. And, while the show trades on moral grey areas, and we’re sometimes meant to sympathize with individual members of terrorist cells, and occasionally their motives, we’re rarely meant to root for them. So, you know, Muslim terrorists are the bad guys, and the War on Terror is justified. A few good apples on the terrorist side, and a few bad ones working for us, but on the whole, we’re right and they’re wrong. Up to you as to whether that’s Islamophobic. It’s certainly much less of a right-wing fantasy than, say, 24, sensationalized though it be.
As to whether the show is racist or inaccurate in its representation of the Arab/Muslim world, it’s hard for me to say. Beirut was definitely not right. The show does seem to take place in a slightly alternate reality where terrorist threats are more serious than they are in the real world, with multiple successful attacks on American soil and a more aggressive Israeli/Iranian conflict, so some liberties seem justified – but Beirut was still a little ridiculous.
As for terrorist leaders plotting over craft cocktails – do they do that? But I get your point, and in the show the terrorist cell comprises the security chief of a nightclub-loving Saudi prince, a college professor, his caucasion, rich-girl, wife/girlfriend, a gay, westernized, middle-eastern ambassador, a tv journalist, etc. Wi-fi is most definitely used. Very few terrorists of the sandal-wearing, cave-dwelling persuasion are depicted.
So, in summary, given the subject matter, this shit could be way more racist. The larger problem is that the show can’t shake the Showtime Touch. It’s almost big boy television, but ultimately feels like it’s been created by a teenager who loves HBO, but isn’t quite mature enough to reproduce it. It lacks, among other things, a unifying perspective, and gets caught up in some stupid soap opera shit, without enough control over its tone, or consistency of character psychology, or mastery of narrative structure, to pull it off. It’s not crap, it’s just not quite there. And, though on occasion excellent, it’s more frequently middle-brow, and sometimes fucking stupid.
So, she’s writing her little notes backwards, because she thinks cameras are mirrors? Or is that just something the young juggalos are doing these days?
Actually, yeah. The theory, if not the pun.
Yes and no. Yes, that looks like an M60, and yes you fire it lying down with the front resting on a tripod, bipod, or sandbag. I believe you can mount it to vehicles as well. No, it’s not the big sniper rifle from The Hurt Locker (which is some sort of big sniper rifle, .50 cal probably), and no, it’s not an antitank weapon (and neither is the one in The Hurt Locker). It’s a fully automatic machine gun, and you use it to shoot lots of bullets at people.
And yes, I feel uncomfortable about being the “well, actually, blah, blah, accuracy, blah, guns,” guy.
Kelly – Absolutely agree about the inappropriately cartoonish and Two-Facey death of Gus. BUT.
1. The Nurses did react to his messed up face (with stunned horror), maybe a half second after your still frame – which was actually our first hint (apart from the explosion, and the fact that we’ve all seen movies before), that Gus wasn’t somehow miraculously ok. Yes, it’s a little weird that they had to get that close to him before they noticed that his face was missing, but the punctuated reaction helped telegraph the beat.
2. Gus was seen taking off a clip-on tie earlier, not putting one on. The clip-on is what he wears to Pollos Hermanos – fits in with his modest, mild-mannered persona. Otherwise, dude wears a real tie and very expensive suits. I mean, come on.