The second episode of “Here Come The Habibs” airs tonight, 8:30 PM. The newest sitcom takes an Australian Lebanese family out of the West. However, Channel Nine has already received backlash and suggestions of racism.
The “Here Come The Habibs” cast rushed to their show’s defence. According to Pedestrian TV, co-creator Rob Shehadie (famous for “Fat Pizza”) and Lebanese-Australian actor Tyler De Nawi (who plays Elias on the sitcom) slammed the criticisms.
“If this show was on SBS or ABC I don’t think we would have the same backlash but it’s ’cause it’s commercial TV. I can tell you right now that I would never be involved in a show that makes a joke of the Lebanese race in anyway,” Shehadie explained.
De Nawi agreed with Shehadie. The actor mentioned that “Here Come The Habibs” is a “light show” to watch.
“Families can come together on a Tuesday night and enjoy some laughs, enjoy some good content. The point of it all, the fact that Channel Nine has taken the risk, means maybe we are moving forward. Let’s put some laughs back in,” De Nawi added.
In January, a Daily Life writer pointed out that the show “won’t be funny.” The site mentioned that shows like “Here Come The Habibs” are said to “perpetuate misinformation” and “contribute to racism in Australia.” The writer even started a petition for the show to be pulled out.
On Twitter, those who watched the first episode seemed to agree with De Nawi and Shehadie. Check out some of their thoughts below:
You see, our Lebo culture involves having a good old laugh at ourselves! 👍🏼 #9TheHabibs
— Bec Hanna (@bechanna01) February 9, 2016
The relos coming for the money next week 😂. Lebanese personified. Couldn't be prouder 🇱🇧 #9TheHabibs
— Jessica Issa (@jessicaissa1) February 9, 2016
"When are they going to let me move out?"
"When your dead."
Ah the similarities with my Italian family #9TheHabibs
— Mattie (@PrincessMattie1) February 9, 2016
Sydney Morning Herald noted that the show is “closely parallel” to “Kingswood Country” which also showcased broad stereotypes. However, the site indicated that the new sitcom still needs to build up its premise.
Adding humour and cultural content to the sitcom has caused an array of reactions. Funny, and celebrating the cultural differences in Australia? Or pointing the racist finger and creating more of a divide? Tell us your thoughts below!