Netflix’s ‘Mo’ Represents the Quintessential Houston

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From Netflix’s hit series “Mo” started airing on August 24, I may have binge-watched the show (twice…).

Catch up fast: “Mo” is a half-hour comedy-drama created by and starring Houston comedian Mo Amer.

  • The show, filmed in Bayou City, tells the crazy adventures of Mo Najjar, who is trying to support his family of Palestinian refugees awaiting asylum.
  • Teresa Ruíz, Tobe Nwigwe and Bun B also star in the series.

Why is this important: The show is a love letter to the magic of Alief (and Houston as a whole).

What they say : “It’s the city that adopted me, that embraced me, that loved me, and I love it back. And I think the best way to do that is to tell Houston’s story.” , Amer said in a behind-the-scenes video.

To note : Amer drew inspiration from his own life as a Kuwaiti refugee during the Gulf War.

  • But he wants the public to know he’s never had a skinny addiction, per Variety.

My thought bubble: As a Muslim immigrant who also grew up in Alief, this story meant so much to me. I felt the love that Amer poured into the story.

  • Many neighborhoods are compartmentalized in Houston, each with its own identity and culture. But “Mo” stands for my Houston the Houston I knew growing up.
  • The show portrays Alief, a neighborhood often shown in a bad light, on the right. And while “Mo” portrays the realities of hardship and crime, it focuses on love within the diverse immigrant community.

Details: The series provides insight into Houston landmarks, like the “We Love Houston” sign, Funplex, Mount Rush Hour, and the plethora of shopping complexes.

Yes and: Other key references from Houston and Alief include:

  • How a group of friends with immigrants from various countries like Mexico, Nigeria and Vietnam is the norm.
  • Know conversational Spanish.
  • The refusal to go to the hospital if you are not insured.
  • The line around the Breakfast Club and the love of Shipley’s Do-Nuts.
  • The realities of the difficult immigration process and the fear of ICE.
  • Harwin’s Wholesale Markets and Counterfeit Luxury Goods.
  • The immigrant jostles and works under the table.
  • Slabs and swangas.

The bottom line: This show doesn’t look like a Houston study. It doesn’t feel forced, but rather authentic. “Mo” is goofy, emotional, dramatic and full of Houston pride.

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