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Homeland: Is a little research too much to ask for?



Homeland, ah! What a throwback, am I right? Whether you are a fan of the show or not, it's highly possible that you were a witness to the controversy that spread around it back when season 4 of the show came out, but in case you missed it, let me get you up to speed.


Homeland is an American tv drama series, dubbed as a political thriller, that first aired back in 2011. It follows a bipolar CIA operative, Carrie Mathison, who is on the hunt to find an American prisoner that she suspects to have joined forces with an Islamist Terrorist group. The show ran for 8 seasons, during which it managed to garner a huge fanbase for its take on espionage and thrill.


Now, the show has ticked off quite a few countries, mainly for it's stereotyping of Islamic countries where each season is set. Season 4, fortunately for us, saw our beloved CIA operative take a little trip to Pakistan to relieve us of its terrorist links. The fictitious portrayal of the militant events, alongside the insinuation that Pakistan's own Intelligence Agency ISI is an ally of such groups, led to a lot of debates, with Pakistanis lashing out in betrayal and outrage, whereas the US citizens claimed that perhaps the fiction "hit a little too close to home". But I won't be delving into that debate today.


All I want to know is, controversy aside, how hard is it for a show with countless Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe awards to its name, to do a quick little google search about what the capital of Pakistan, or Pakistani people in general, look like? What do they wear? How do they go about their lives?


When I watched the show, with the sole reason to see what all the controversy was about, I quite frankly couldn't get past the fact that Islamabad was portrayed as a backward, conservative, terrorism-ridden city with women clad in burqas and what not. Disappointed, but not surprised ( I type this out as I currently sit in Islamabad).


I mean sure, we've got a couple of sit-ins here and there, but other than that, it's full of lovely people that use any excuse they can possibly get to go to Centaurus or Monal. Women wear burqas, sure, but is that all that we wear? Absolutely not. It takes years for people migrating from villages to the city to get past their initial culture shock because it's too "modern" and you're really out here painting our best like that? Sounds a lot like a stereotypical portrayal, ignorance and a whole lot of generalization to me, is all I'm saying.


And, oh! How could I forget? The accents. The script. The actors. I sometimes wonder if the West truly thinks Pakistan is a part of the Middle East because fam...what was that? Here's a little snippet of the show in case you think I'm exaggerating.



The Urdu had me in hysterics at some points. Not only did the accent of my fellow Pakistani brethren completely miss the mark, but the writers really went ahead and decided they didn't need to spend those extra dollars on a translator because Google truly has brought the future to us! Just search "English to Urdu" and type the entire script in, hit translate, and we're good to go! And of course, to top it all off, Indians and Pakistanis truly are the same people I guess. Cause I don't know about you, but I can tell an Indian accent from a Pakistani one in my sleep, yet it's pretty obvious throughout the season that they really couldn't pick on it.

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Ali Roman 23110148
Ali Roman 23110148
Dec 14, 2020

Oh alright

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@Ali Roman I believe it was shot in Cape Town, South Africa.

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the portrayal of Pakistan as military-dominated and terrorist infested hellhole was not at all shocking to me. The accents in the clip were just horrible, not every woman in pakistan wears a burkha and not every pakistani is a terrorist so USA shows really need to get this right now.

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Ali Roman 23110148
Ali Roman 23110148
Dec 14, 2020

Wow, I could not take that clip seriously. Is that seriously how they think we talk? This makes me wonder though, where was the Pakistani portion of season 4 filmed? Was it actually shot in Pakistan? If not, then that still makes it somewhat less hysterical that they are thaat far off from the mark.

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Manahil Ahmed
Manahil Ahmed
Dec 14, 2020

I never really watched the show, and this was the only reason why. The cover picture alone was enough to horrify me because it said a lot about how they were going to deal with representation. And like you said, "disappointed but not surprised".

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