Ben & Izzy

The NYT had a piece this weekend about the new Jordanian show, Ben & Izzy, which is currently seeking distributors. It’s partially King & Queen produced/funded, and it’s about an American kid and a Jordanian kid who travel through time with the help of a genie. They bump into Mark Twain:

“I reckon you and Ben don’t get along too awfully well,” the animated Twain tells the Arab boy.

“He is annoying,” Izzy tells Twain. “Americans are so brash and full of themselves.”

A moment later, Twain takes Izzy’s chin in his hands, and instructs him: “Don’t judge the country, son. Judge the man.”

Maybe the creators should take Twain’s advice:

Ben the American is described as “a symbol for his country” who is “big” and “energetic,” but “on the negative side, he is a bit xenophobic, self-centered, needs-to-win competitive.”

“Like his native land,” the creators write, “he sometimes blunders into situations without thinking.”

Izzy the Jordanian, by contrast, is “slight of build, sinewy and studious,” but “on the downside, Izzy can be a little too serious, self-righteous, superior, even devious.”

I explained the plot to my kid and his eyes glazed over half way through and he looked away. Then he said, “What’s Izzy? What kind of Arabic name is that?” When I showed him the picture of Mark Twain, he said, “I don’t like it…That animation is weird.” I guess there’s one Arab American kid who won’t be watching that show…

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