Disney+’s Ms. Marvel Uses a Marginalized Culture as a Crutch | TV/Streaming

Employee 2: “What about people who’ve never read the comics? How do we make this story both look good and read well?”

Executive: “Speak only if you have solutions, not if you have questions.”

Employee 3, sycophantically: “You’re absolutely right. I think I can help. Why don’t we copy and paste Netflix’s ‘Never Have I Ever,’ right down to the character dynamics and plot points? We can even hire a head writer who has worked with Mindy Kaling. This will allow us to swap in Islam for Hinduism, but provide slightly improved cultural references—an emphasis on food, family friends, religion—to keep up with the Zoomers.”

Executive, intrigued: “Hmm. Yes. Yes, continue. Can we get a Bollywood starlet? Those lissome ladies will sell Disney+ subscriptions like hotcakes!”

Employee 2: “Describing women that way is incredibly demeaning. And the optimal term is ‘Indian cinema.’ ‘Bollywood’ is a reductive term that glosses over the dozens of languages, subcultures, and traditions that—”

Executive, angry: “SILENCE, FOOL! Now, Employee 3, what were you saying?”

Employee 3: “Even if Fox and Newsmax go hard on our performative inclusion, we can sell a young Muslim woman as the newest iteration of superhero. We’ll increase revenue in Muslim-majority countries, and of course, here in America, people will feel proud to support her. It’ll allow them to think, whoa, Muslims: they’re just like us!”

Employee 2, skeptically: “Sort of like a Muslim ‘Crazy Rich Asians?’ Or like a Marvel ‘Ramy’?”

Employee 1: “Minus the quality writing, directing, editing, and soundtracks of both, I’m guessing.”

Executive, annoyed: “Obviously! Employee 3, what sort of events are happening in her life when we meet her?”

Employee 3: “No need to reinvent the wheel. Age-old tropes of rebellious teenagers, overbearing parents, the fight between self-expression and traditions—these will all do just fine as the storytelling structure. Plus, no one but comic book nerds will know whether we’ve lifted this from the comics or came up with ourselves.”

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