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'Shahs of Sunset' reality show: Is this what Iranian-Americans are like?

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“Shahs” certainly marks a shift in the stereotypical portrayal of Iranians, which was dominated by the frightening images of Americans held hostage in Tehran after the 1979 overthrow of the Shah. Even in the 1990s, films such as “Not Without My Daughter” (1991) branded Iranian culture as narrow-minded and provincial.

In reality, the Iranian-American community has been anything but, with Iranian-Americans playing major roles in American corporations such as eBay, Google, Expedia, AT&T, and Yahoo.

But these entrepreneurial Iranian-Americans aren't the types “Shahs” is following. Rather, the show will be a fusion of Bravo's “Real Housewives” franchise – which depicts wealthy suburban housewives – and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

All the Shahs portrayed in the show went to Beverly Hills High School and enjoy ultra-rich lifestyles: they live in plush homes, dine at high-end restaurants, drive luxury cars, and only wear designer fashions.

Some Iranian-Americans are advocating a boycott of “Shahs” as they think showcasing the lives of Iranian-American socialites who flaunt their status as part of the country's moneyed “one per cent,” will merely worsen public views of the Iranian-American community, especially as the rest of the United States is still painstakingly climbing out of an economic recession.

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