If they have access to shows on Netflix, residents of Alief and anyone else with connections to the area will get a chance to see the neighborhood reflected in a huge — and sometimes comical — way starting Wednesday, Aug. 24.
The date marks the video streaming debut of a sort-of biographical comedy series called “Mo,” named for its creator and star, Palestinian-American comedian Mohammad Amer.
Click here to watch a 2-minute teaser.
Amer, 41, and his family moved from the Middle East to Alief when he was a child. Later he attended Alief Hastings High School.
The series includes several clever looks at how immigrants acclimate themselves to American life in a Houston suburb — especially a suburb teeming with people from all over the world.
“It’s where (Amer) discovered how it felt to live in a community defined by its diversity — Black, Mexican, Vietnamese, you name it,” freelance reporter Chris Vognar wrote in a New York Times piece about the series.
Alief’s cultural mix may seem routine to residents and Houstonians in other parts of the region. But for its wider audience, the newspaper points out that Alief strip centers sometimes resemble the United Nations: “A Vietnamese restaurant next to a Mexican grocery store next to a Parisian bakery.”
Amer told Vognar that adjusting as an immigrant to a new culture, including being a Muslim who no longer lives where his religion is a dominant one, caused him some anxiety.
“Most of my life has been anxiety, and I think comedy is the way I’ve been able to channel it,” he said.
Look for appearances in the series by two well-known Houston-based entertainers: hip-hop artist Bun B and rapper Paul Wall.
Also, “Mo” is seen driving through other parts of the city, passing familiar landmarks such as the downtown skyline.
— By Alan Bernstein