'Shahs of Sunset' cast: Persianity, gold -- and no smush room
Bravo and Ryan Seacrest Productions' new series "Shahs of Sunset" premieres this weekend, and between the buzz and excitement, the Persian-American cast is brushing off comparisons to other reality shows. Zap2it spoke with "Shahs" stars Reza Farahan, Mike Shouhed and Asa Soltan Rahmati, who want to make it clear that this is no "Jersey Shore" or Kardashian imitation.
While the series does follow the lives of a specific, wealthy social circle as they bond and battle -- dating, partying, fighting and shopping and the rest -- Shouhed assures that the "Shahs" keep it classy, and that they won't be "portrayed like 'Jersey Shore,' where we have a 'smush room' and this other garbage happening.... The show is way more sophisticated than that."
"I think the comparison only comes into play because they have a cultural background that's the same and we have a cultural background that's the same" Farahan comments. "It's funny to me when people can compare one thing to another when they've only seen 'Jersey Shore,' and they haven't seen our show [yet] ... It's like drinking two glasses of wine and comparing them when you've only had one glass."
In other words, get ready for fewer Jägerbombs and more wine tastings.
Indeed, the cast is excited to present their version of Middle Eastern immigrant life in the United States to audiences. "People from places like Arkansas - where I didn't even know Persians existed - are saying 'Yes, finally, a show about Middle Eastern people, about Persians in our culture," says Shouhed.
"You're going to see a richness in family, in food, in love and just this tradition that may not be associated with the US. Just this delicious nugget of richness," Farahan adds. "We live this beautiful, more tribal life."
But among their upper-crust peers in LA, the local reaction has been marked with outspoken doubt and anxiety as well: "In Beverly Hills, there have been some mixed reviews. People are jumping the gun," according to Shouhed.
"It's a close-knit community, and there's never been anything like this," Soltan Rahmati confirms.
Residents of Tehrangeles (the nickname for the large Persian-American community populating West LA) won't have to wait much longer for their official first look at the "Shahs" -- the show premieres on Bravo this Sunday at 10pm/9c. Farahan will appear on "Watch What Happens Live" with Andy Cohen that night, and he is "over the moon about it."
Bravo addicts will be pleased to know that there's already a potential pop hit to accompany the show: A$A's (Soltan Rahmati's preferred stage name) song "Tehrangeles," which will premiere along with the first episode.
Soltan Rahmati also informed us that she has "another song called 'Gold.' It's the epitome of Persianity and A$A. I'm releasing it right after Tehrangeles." Kim Zolciak, Melissa Gorga and Countess Luann - take note!