Man Like Mobeen
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Mobeen is a 28 year old Brummie Muslim single handedly raising his 15 year old sister. This show documents the struggles of his criminal past, the friendships he has and the controversies he faces as a Pakistani Muslim.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Gosh, where do I even start with Man Like Mobeen? To say I love this show would be an understatement. It's one of my top recommendations on Netflix because it is simply put, brilliant. It's a comedy, it's a drama, it's a social commentary, and it's basically one of the best shows on TV right now.
Man Like Mobeen follows the story of born and bred Birmingham local Mobeen as he spends his days with his friends Nate and Eight, all while raising his teenage sister Aqsa in the absence of their parents. They face various problems from drugs in the community, gang violence, Islamophobia, dealing with the NHS and being hassled by the police for no good reason. They deal with all of this with a good sense of humour, but it's not all fun and games.
The show swings between ridiculous comedy and darker moments at the drop of a hat so that the drama really is gut-punching. When the characters find themselves in troubling and dangerous situations, you genuinely fear for their lives. And despite the seasons being quite short, with only 13 episodes spanning three seasons, you love these characters instantly. They're real and hilarious and very relatable.
Every Muslim person has a friend like Nate, a non-Muslim who is so involved in your family that he knows how to be Muslim better than some Muslims do. But he also serves as the non-Muslim person in the story to explain the more "outrageous" concepts like arranged marriages. I use quotation marks there because many people believe that arranged marriages and forced marriages are the same things, they're not, and Mobeen goes through the process with hilarious results.
The third member of their little group is Eight played brilliantly by the talented Tez Ilyas. When you listen to Tez Ilyas speak outside of his character as Eight, your jaw literally hits the floor when you hear the intelligence that spills from this man's mouth. Because Eight is the direct opposite to that. To give an example, in the opening scene of the show he comes to Nate and Mobeen with a black bag that has a dead cat inside. He thought he was buying a laptop from some dodgy guy in a BMW. And this is just the beginning of Eight's shenanigans.
One of my other favourite character's in this show is the long-suffering Officer Harper, who is constantly on Mobeen's case for some thing or another. He just can't seem to be rid of them and is always butting heads with Mobeen. There's an episode in season 3 where they hash the whole beef out with each of them coming to realise that they have the wrong impression of the other.
This is not a show about being Muslim the way Hulu's Ramy is, these characters just happen to be Muslim and navigating a world where being Muslim is a very hard thing to be. Guz Khan captures what it's like to be a Muslim in the UK (and subsequently other Western societies) with such nuance and tells a story about the families we build and what we'd do to protect them.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: