In a shocking development, ABC Family’s pilot Alice In Arabia, a series about an American girl “unknowingly kidnapped” by her grandfather and pushed to “survive behind the veil,” has generated quite a bit of outrage. On one hand, the plot summary released to the press sounds pretty racist; on the other hand, no one has seen an episode yet.
Here’s Hollywood Reporter’s description of the series:
Alice In Arabia is a high-stakes drama about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather’s royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.
And just in case that didn’t make you raise a quizzical eyebrow:
The pilot was written by Brooke Eikmeier, who previously served in the U.S. Army as a cryptologic linguist in the Arabic language, trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. She left service in September 2013 as a rank E-4 specialist.
Well, this sounds like it could be a mess. America’s savior-complex, a former NSA analyst, and broad platitudes about feminism, freedom, and/or the war on terror? Sounds like family-friendly fun!
Eikmeier has taken to social media to defend her series, after the hashtag #AliceInArabia took off. Either way, someone in the marketing department at ABC Family is having a bad day.