“Islamophobia” – Problematic review

Chad White

Season 1, Episode 3


Problematic has had no issues with choosing its topics. The first two episodes were a good introduction into what the series could be. But this week’s “Islamophobia” displayed what the show should be. Talking about the internet and our addiction to it is fascinating but nothing beats a discussion – a pertinent one at that -- on one of the biggest issues of today’s world. The panel was excellent as were the audience questions. And Kasher has never looked more comfortable leading and even taking a backseat to the conversation. It’s too bad this show is constantly inundated with needless cuts and poorly added production values.

Kasher’s monologue was miles ahead of his first one. He came off as confident, ready to deliver on a topic that he’s unsure of. To an extent, he’s a part of the same group. Kasher’s family hails from the same side of the Earth as his panelists and regular ol’ Christian American Person can see him in a similar light as those originating from Islamic nations (the operative word is can). Being joined by an A+ panel with the likes of Maz Jabroni, Reza Aslan, and Amna Nawaz gives this episode a loaded and fairly needed look at the discussion. Each one of these personalities had to adjust who they were, how they were perceived, or how they came off to others as they grew up brown skinned. 9/11 – the ugly wrinkle in history that it is – changed everything for these people (and Hasan Minhaj adds to the number later on).

This was almost a perfect episode. The discussion was well developed. The panel got in very interesting anecdotes or examples. And Kasher and Jabroni managed to make heavy topics funny. But a big issue for Problematic comes from its shoddy production value. Shoddy doesn’t seem like the proper term. Perhaps it’s overdone. Regardless, there is no need to change camera angles seven times while someone is talking. It doesn’t add to the conversation nor does it give the show any flare. The gratuitous cutting of talking points is an interesting headache too. Let’s throw the questionable zoom ins and outs too. Producers of Problematic: cut the crap. Just have a few cameras focused on the subjects. Let the conversation be the star; not Greg or Tina’s suggestion to shoot upside down this week.

Another dilemma here is that the talks, as with the first two episodes, feel rushed to a point where topics could change in an instant. Problematic could do so well if it was 40 minutes long and on a different network. Kasher’s series would stand out were it not for The Daily Show. It’s just a shame it can’t be expanded online, with these shorter episodes available for broadcast.

Should you watch “Islamophobia?”

Problematic may have a problematic production value but this episode has the most interesting topic. Watch it.