Shahs of Sunset

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Shahs of Sunset
Shahs of Sunset.jpg
Genre Reality
Starring
  • Current
  • Reza Farahan
    (Season 1-)
  • Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi
    (Season 1-)
  • Asa Soltan Rahmati
    (Season 1-)
  • Mike Shouhed
    (Season 1-)
  • Mercedes "MJ" Javid
    (Season 1-)
  • Asifa Mirza
    (Season 4-)
  • Former
  • Sammy Younai
    (Seasons 1)
  • Lilly Ghalichi
    (Seasons 2-3)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 35 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Camera setup Multiple
Running time 40 to 43 minutes
Production company(s) Ryan Seacrest Productions
Bravo
Broadcast
Original channel Bravo
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original run March 11, 2012 (2012-03-11)  – present
External links
Website

Shahs of Sunset is an American reality television series that airs on Bravo.[1] The series debuted on March 11, 2012.[2] The series follows a group of Iranian American friends living in Beverly Hills (and the greater area known as "Tehrangeles"), who are trying to juggle their active social lives and up-and-coming careers while balancing the demands of their families and traditions.[3] It is the second American reality television show about Iranians after E!'s Love Is in the Heir in 2004.[4]

Work on the fourth season was underway when Ryan Seacrest Productions and Bravo denied the show's post-production crew a union contract. The crew went on strike with the support of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.[5] Bravo fired the crew and the fourth season has been delayed indefinitely.[6]

Current Shahs[edit]

Mercedes "MJ" Javid, Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi, Asa Soltan Rahmati, Reza Farahan, Lilly Ghalichi and Mike Shouhed (from left)

Reza Farahan[edit]

(Season 1 — present)

Born in Tehran, Iran in 1973 and raised in Beverly Hills, Farahan is a real estate agent in Los Angeles. He is openly gay and often struggles with gossip and prejudice regarding his sexuality.[7] He wanted to participate in the show after seeing news reports of the suicides of teenagers who were bullied because they were gay, and he wanted to help by portraying a positive image of both gay people and Middle Easterners.[8]

Reza has been in a relationship with Adam Neely, a former fashion model, who works for Ryan Murphy, in post production, on his various shows. They have been involved since 2010, and their engagement was featured in the third season finale. In season four, Adam and Reza have complications in their relationship and call off the wedding after tumultuous isues arise inside their group of friends following a fake rumor of the drunk Mj carrying the gay couples love child. Reza and the gang continue to go on, what would be Reza's and Adam's wedding trip, to Thailand. trip[9][10][11]

His father is Jewish, and his mother is Muslim. In an episode he reveals his father converted to Islam to marry his mother. When his parents' marriage ended in divorce, his father moved back to New York to be with his Jewish family; in an episode it's revealed that Farahan's paternal grandmother pressured his father and rejected Reza because he was not Jewish.[12]

He works with MJ at Keller Williams Realty.[13]

Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi[edit]

(Season 1 — present)

Gharachedaghi is an entrepreneur who begins the show unemployed and financially dependent on her father. She comes from a wealthy, nominally Muslim family.[14] She lunches with her friends during the day and socializes at night. She has eight tattoos, including one on the inside of her lip. With a fiery, combative personality, she claims to have been kicked out of a number of schools while growing up due to fighting.[15] Growing up she attended Jewish day care, Catholic preschool and Loyola Marymount University.[16] Her father is Mahmoud Gharachedaghi, architect and principal at GA Architecture and Planning, who appears on the show starting in season one.[17] Over the second season, she launches "GG's Extensions", a brand of hair extensions, with her sister Leila.[18][19] In December 2012 she told Andy Cohen that she was engaged to Omid Kalantari, who has a recurring role in season 2.[20] The two broke off their engagement the following month.[21] She has compared the show's cast's effect on the entertainment industry to the struggles of civil rights icon Rosa Parks.[22]

Asa Soltan Rahmati[edit]

(Season 1 — present)

Rahmati is the self-proclaimed "Persian Pop Priestess" and entrepreneur who is in the Venice artist scene. Her paintings have been published in Imagining Ourselves, an Art book published by IMOW, International Women's Museum in San Francisco. Over the second season she develops and launches "Diamond Water", a bottled water which is alkaline water put in contact with diamonds before being bottled.[23] She is from a Persian Muslim family; her parents and her brother, Arta, all appear on the show.[14] Soltan Rahmati has been together with Jermaine Jackson Jr, the eldest child of Jermaine Jackson, since 2010 and he has appeared in the second season.[24] She graduated from UCLA with a double major in Psychology and Philosophy. She claims her family left Iran as political refugees when she was as a young girl; she grew up in Europe before moving to Los Angeles as a teenager.[14][25][25] She lives in Venice; previously with wealthy entrepreneur Shaahin Cheyene.[26]

Mike Shouhed[edit]

(Season 1 — present)

Shouhed is a commercial real estate agent in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of UCLA.[27] After losing some money in the Las Vegas commercial real estate market, he has moved back home to rebuild. He and his family are Persian Jews.[14] One of his brothers is a dentist.[28] In January 2013, Shouhed announced he was going to be featured in a photo shoot for Playgirl.[29]

Mercedes "MJ" Javid[edit]

(Season 1 — present)

Javid is a real estate agent living in the Hollywood Hills. She was born in 1972. With a voluptuous figure, MJ grew up conscious of her weight and was put on diet pills by a physician at age 14 in order to try to lose extra pounds, though she later quit them.[30] MJ and her mother have a very difficult relationship and argue frequently on the show. MJ and her father however, are very close. She works with Reza at Keller Williams Realty.[13] She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from California State University, Northridge in 2002. During the Season 2 reunion, Javid admitted she is a felon, having been convicted of bank fraud in 1994.[31][32][33]

Former Shahs[edit]

Neelufar Seyed "Lilly" Ghalichi[edit]

(Season 2 — Season 3)

Ghalichi is an entrepreneur and blogger that other characters describe as a "Persian Barbie".[34] She founded a lingerie-inspired line of swimwear known as "Swimgerie" that later merged with another swim line to become Have Faith Swimgerie.[35] She also founded her own line of eyelashes known as Lilly Lashes. Raised in Houston, Texas, she comes from a Persian Muslim family. Her sister, Yassamin, has appeared on the show and her brother, Mohammed, is a cardiologist.[36][37] She attended the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, graduating in 2008.[38][39][40][41] Ghalichi has had a decade long on-again, off-again relationship with a Houston-based lawyer named Ali; after she graduated from law school in Los Angeles they became engaged and she moved back to Texas to live with him. They later broke up due what she described as bad habits, notably cheating on her.[42][43] She also struggles with her conservative family due to her decision to leave law and pursue a career in fashion and beauty. She was the subject of controversy after joking during episode that HIV/AIDS can be spread from a used pair of bikini bottoms and issued an apology.[40][44] Ghalichi's involvement with the show was discontinued at the end of season three.[45] A replacement cast member has not been announced.[46]

Sammy Younai[edit]

(Season 1)

Younai is a residential developer in Beverly Hills specializing in building multi-million dollar homes. Sammy comes from a Persian Jewish family.[14] His family left Iran and moved to Florida when he was a young child, later moving to Beverly Hills when Sammy was a teenager.[47] During Season 1 he works with celebrity developer Mohamed Hadid on his latest mansion: a 48,000-square foot, $58 million house in Bel Air called "the Crescent Palace".[48][49] He has appeared as a guest in Season 2.[36]

Cast history[edit]

Name Seasons
1 2 3 4
Current
Reza Farahan Main
Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi Main
Asa Soltan Rahmati Main
Mike Shouhed Main
Mercedes "MJ" Javid Main
Asifa Mirza Main
Former
Sammy Younai Main Recurring Guest
Lilly Ghalichi Main

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 6 March 11, 2012 (2012-03-11) April 15, 2012 (2012-04-15)
2 13 December 2, 2012 (2012-12-02) February 10, 2013 (2013-02-10)
3 16 November 5, 2013 (2013-11-05) February 25, 2014 (2014-02-25)

Reception[edit]

Community reaction[edit]

Reza Farahan talking about Shahs of Sunset, on Poletik

Before the show debuted, there was concern among the Persian-American diaspora that Shahs of Sunset would promote an unwelcome image at a particularly tense historical moment.[16] Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi, worried that "Americans have a chance to see a slice of materialistic, shallow and downright embarrassing Iranian culture. I just want to shout, 'We are not all like that!'" Two-time Mayor of Beverly Hills, Jimmy Delshad, voiced concerns that instead of showcasing the professional class of doctors, lawyers and business executives, the show would "take us back and make us look like undesirable people."[16] Iranian American Novelist Porochista Khakpour took issue with the cast's self-description as "Persian" rather than "Iranian", but otherwise found the show to be just another reality television show in the "been-there-done-that Kardashian-Real-Housewives-Jersey Shore mash-up" with characters that reminded her of elements in those she grew up with in the diaspora.[4] West Hollywood's City Council passed a resolution on March 22, 2012 condemning the show.[13] Professor Gina B. Nahai lamented that the cast was "unattractive, unsophisticated, unproductive" and "consists entirely of every negative stereotype floating around this city about the community".[50] Author and scholar Reza Aslan felt the concerns of the Persian community was overstated, commenting "Only the most moronic viewers would watch 'Shahs of Sunset' and extract an opinion about Iranians and Iran."[16]

In response to criticism producer Ryan Seacrest dismissed the notion the series would cast the community in a bad light, describing the show as simply "escapism" that is "meant to be entertaining and fun."[16] The president of Bravo described the cast members as representative of what the channel deems "affluencers:" 30-something, upscale, highly educated and influential."[16]

The members of the cast have stated that they portray a more Americanized and modern version of Persians than those depicted in such films as 2012's Argo, where Iranians are depicted in ways they felt made them "savages" or "homeless people." Mike Shouhed has commented that the show's producers sometimes add to the confusion by using Arabic music on the show; Reza Farahan has received mistaken feedback complimenting Arab American culture.[51]

Critical reaction[edit]

The show holds a 48 out of 100 score from Metacritic.[52] Mike Hale's review in The New York Times commented that the show's characters "are a more diverting bunch than the high school football coaches and community activists of the well-meaning, admirable but prosaic All-American Muslim on TLC", but the "one really unfortunate thing about Shahs of Sunset is the way it exploits, and will in turn amplify, a previously localized phenomenon: the longstanding stereotyping of Los Angeles's Iranian-Americans as vulgar, materialistic show-offs who don't fit in among the city's supposedly more cultured elites."[53] Tom Conroy of Media Life Magazine mentions that the show sparks some interest due to the cultural backgrounds of the cast, "but that is nearly outweighed by their dislikability."[54] Verne Gay of Newsday described the show as "Another insufferable nose-pressed-against-the-glass reality romp that says the rich are just like you and me -- only rich, and exceedingly, tiresomely narcissistic."[55] Linda Stasi of the New York Post wrote: "If the goal of Bravo's newest stereotyping gang bang, Shahs of Sunset, is to make Persians in LA look like egomaniacs, soulless bores whom you wouldn't want to spend five minutes with, let alone an hour, then they've succeeded."[56]

Labor dispute[edit]

On September 10th, 2014, after receiving no response from Ryan Seacrest Productions (RSP) in reference to their pursuit of a union contract, the 16 post-production crew members of the series walked off of the job site.[5][57] The Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG) called a strike against the show until it met the demands of its editors and assistant editors. On September 26, Bravo took control of the production away from RSP and fired the entire editorial staff.[58] In response, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E) "filed unfair labor practice charges against Bravo Media" and issued a press release saying, "Federal law protects employees’ right to organize, including their right to strike. It is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act for an employer to retaliate in any way against employees for their exercising their rights under the law."[6][59] "This is no longer just a fight about whether this crew gets health and retirement benefits," MPEG President Alan Heim said, "It's an unabashed attack on the right to organize."[60]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bravo Launches New Docu-Series "Shahs of Sunset" on Sunday, March 11 at 10 pm ET/PT". Retrieved December 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ Jethro Nededog, Bravo Renews 'Shahs of Sunset' for Second Season, Hollywood Reporter, April 17, 2012, accessed April 17, 2012.
  3. ^ "Bravo Media's "Shahs of Sunset" Earned Series Highs Among All Key Demos With 1.5 Million Total Viewers, Up 56 Percent Among Adults 18-49". Retrieved December 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Porochista Khakpour, A New Persian Empire Plants a Personal Flag, The New York Times, March 6, 2012, accessed February 6, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Patten, Dominic. "IATSE Hits Bravo With Unfair Labor Practices Charges Over ‘Shahs Of Sunset’ Firings." Deadline. 29 September 2014. 29 September 2014.
  6. ^ a b McNary, Dave. "Bravo Hit With Unfair Labor Practice Charges Over ‘Shahs of Sunset.'" Variety. 29 September 2014. 29 September 2014.
  7. ^ Lynn Ebler, Reza Farahan, Gay Iranian, Stars In Bravo's 'Shahs Of Sunset' Reality Show, Huffington Post, March 10, 2012, accessed April 14, 2012.
  8. ^ Yvonne Villarreal, 'Shahs of Sunset' star Reza Farahan: It's not National Geographic, LATimes.com, April 3, 2012, accessed April 14, 2012.
  9. ^ C Waldholz (February 4, 2014). "All the Details Inside Shahs of Sunset's Reza Farahan's Engagement". Life & Style. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ Bacle, Ariana (February 11, 2014). "'Shahs of Sunset' stars are engaged". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ Strohm, Emily (February 5, 2014). "Shahs of Sunset's Reza Farahan and Adam Neely Are Engaged". People Magazine. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  12. ^ 'Shahs of Sunset': Reza's Family Torn Apart By Religious Issues (VIDEO), Huffington Post, April 9, 2012, accessed April 14, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c Gary Baum, 'Shahs of Sunset' Stars on LA's Love and Hate Relationship With 'Persian Palaces', Hollywood Reporter, March 30, 2012, accessed January 21, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d e Charlotte Safavi, Shahs of Sunset: Episode 3 With a Nugget From Episode 1, Huffington Post, March 28, 2012, accessed April 14, 2012.
  15. ^ Diana Falzone, 'Shahs of Sunset' star GG kicked out of 10 schools, says she'll 'always be a spoiled brat', FoxNews.com, February 6, 2013
  16. ^ a b c d e f Martha Groves, 'Shahs of Sunset' stirs concerns among Iranian Americans, Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2012, accessed February 7, 2013.
  17. ^ Green Architect Design - Home of the top architecture company based in California
  18. ^ Shahs Of Sunset Recap: "Being A Skinny Bitch Ain't Everything", RealityTea, January 14, 2013, accessed January 30, 2013.
  19. ^ Mike Shouhed from Shahs of Sunset Praises GG Extensions Launch, LALate.com, January 20, 2013, accessed January 30, 2013.
  20. ^ Shahs of Sunset's Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi Is Engaged to Omid Kalantari: All About the Proposal!, Us Weekly, December 10, 2012, accessed January 21, 2013.
  21. ^ Shahs of Sunset's Golnesa "GG" Gharachedaghi Breaks Off Engagement to Omid Kalantari, Us Weekly, January 22, 2013, accessed January 30, 2013.
  22. ^ Lynn Ebler, 'Shahs of Sunset' Star GG: We Are The Rosa Parks Of Reality TV, Huffington Post, January 22, 2013, accessed January 30, 2013.
  23. ^ Diamond Water by Asa Gets Splash on WWHL, LALate.com, January 27, 2013, accessed January 30, 2013.
  24. ^ TAMARATATTLES EXCLUSIVE: Steaming Hot Persian Tea on Who Shahs of Sunset's Asa Soltan Rahmati is Dating, tamaratattles.com, December 19, 2012, accessed January 21, 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Q&A: Asa Soltan Rahmati Talks 'Shahs of Sunset'". MSN TV. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  26. ^ David Hay (October 25, 2007). "Modern in style, bohemian in spirit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 5, 2012. ; Note: the article originally claimed the two were married, but a retraction published at Cheyene's behest on April 25, 2012 denies they were ever married.
  27. ^ Mike Shouhed, BravoTV.com, accessed January 28, 2013.
  28. ^ Jana Waring, Shahs of Sunset Episode 8: RECAP, Reality Nation, January 21, 2013, accessed January 28, 2013.
  29. ^ Magic Mike: 'Shahs of Sunset' star Mike Shouhed to strip for Playgirl, New York Daily News, January 24, 2013, accessed January 28, 2013.
  30. ^ Erin O'Sullivan, "Shahs Of Sunset's Mercedes 'MJ' Javid Opens Up About Weight Struggles: A Doctor Put Me On Diet Pills At Age 14", Access Hollywood, February 6, 2013.
  31. ^ Nik Richie, "Shahs Of Sunset Mercedes 'MJ' Javid Is Not Who You Think", TheDirty.com, January 8, 2013, accessed March 5, 2013.
  32. ^ Shahs of Sunset Star Mercedes MJ Javid Has A Criminal Past, RealityTea, January 8, 2013, accessed March 5, 2013.
  33. ^ Shahs Of Sunset Reunion Recap: Part Two Of Friends Ripping Each Other Apart, RealityTea, March 4, 2013, accessed March 5, 2013.
  34. ^ 'SHAHS OF SUNSET' Slammed by Hot Model ... I'm the Real 'Persian Barbie', TMZ.com, December 2, 2012, accessed January 26, 2013.
  35. ^ The Designers, Have Faith Swimgerie, accessed January 20, 2013.
  36. ^ a b Jana Waring, Shahs of Sunset Episode 4: RECAP, Reality Nation, December 23, 2012, accessed January 21, 2013.
  37. ^ Lilly Ghalichi, Life is a Gift, Lilly Ghalichi's Blog, June 15, 2012, accessed January 28, 2013.
  38. ^ HONOREE LISTING McCombs School of Business Distinguished Scholar, The University of Texas at Austin, 2004, accessed January 20, 2013.
  39. ^ HONOREE LISTING McCombs School of Business Distinguished Scholar, The University of Texas at Austin, 2005 accessed January 20, 2013.
  40. ^ a b Fame Brief: The Sun Sets On Jokes About AIDS, AboveTheLaw.com, December 13, 2012, accessed January 20, 2013.
  41. ^ CalBar Attorney license, accessed January 20, 2013.
  42. ^ Lilly Ghalichi, Lilly and Ali, Lilly Ghalichi's Blog, December 30, 2012, accessed January 28, 2013.
  43. ^ See Lilly Ghalichi's comment dated June 14, 2012 at 11:19 AM: "My boyfriend was cheating on me because I was never available (ASSHOLE)" -- Lilly Ghalichi, Omg SHOES!!, Lilly Ghalichi's Blog, June 13, 2012, accessed January 28, 2013.
  44. ^ 'Shahs Of Sunset' Star Lilly Ghalichi Apologizes For AIDS Joke, Instinct, December 10, 2012, accessed January 20, 2013.
  45. ^ Takeda, Alison. "Lilly Ghalichi Fired From Shahs of Sunset Before Season 4: Report". www.usweekly.com. US magazine. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  46. ^ Staff. "Lilly Ghalichi Leaves Shahs of Sunset, No Replacement Set: EXCLUSIVE". wwwlalate.com. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  47. ^ Ilana Angel, A Conversation with Sammy Younai of Shahs of Sunset, The Jewish Journal, March 25, 2012, accessed January 21, 2013.
  48. ^ Got $58 Million Lying Around? Buy the Mansion Featured on Shahs of Sunset!, RealityTea, July 11, 2012, accessed January 21, 2013.
  49. ^ Morgan Brennan, Celebrity Developer Mohamed Hadid Asking $58 Million For Crescent Palace, Forbes, June 28, 2012, accessed January 21, 2013.
  50. ^ Gina Nahai The bad, the worse and the ugly, The Jewish Journal, February 29 2012, accessed February 7, 2013.
  51. ^ Ramin Setoodeh, "'Shahs of Sunset' Cast Members Review Ben Affleck's 'Argo'", The Daily Beast, December 3, 2012, accessed February 7, 2013.
  52. ^ Shahs of Sunset: Season 1
  53. ^ Mike Hale, The Children of Old Tehran Go Hollywood, The New York Times, March 9, 2012, accessed February 7, 2013.
  54. ^ 'Shahs of Sunset,' spoiled Iranian brats
  55. ^ Review: 'Shahs of Sunset,' familiar Bravo fare
  56. ^ "Money can’t buy class on Persian ‘Jersey Shore’". 
  57. ^ http://www.postproud.org/#!Crew-of-Bravos-Shahs-of-Sunset-Shuts-Down-PostProduction/c17en/26D43057-E0BA-4389-B3B2-3A47EDE20B51
  58. ^ Handel, Jonathan. "'Shahs of Sunset': Bravo, Ryan Seacrest Productions Drop Striking Editors." The Hollywood Reporter. 26 September 2014. 29 September 2014.
  59. ^ "From the Guild: Charges Filed Against Bravo." MPEG. 29 September 2014. 29 September 2014.
  60. ^ Hamedy, Saba. "Union accuses Bravo of 'unfair labor practice' on 'Shahs of Sunset.'" Los Angeles Times. 29 September 2014. 30 September 2014.

External links[edit]