Wash out

There is nothing wrong with using a television soap opera to get across a social message – this is indeed how soaps started. But exactly what is the message behind the new AT5 soap partly sponsored by Amsterdam city council?

The first episode of West Side on the local tv station yesterday evening was a confusing mishmash of racial stereotypes, bad acting and simplistic storylines. Four families with different cultural backgrounds – Moroccan, Turkish, Surinam and ‘native’ Dutch – are neighbours in New West. And then? The Moroccan is accused of stealing a scooter, vaguely Arabic music plays in the background every time The Turk appears (just in case you aren’t sure, he is after all wearing a smart suit) and there isn’t there some mention of drugs in connection with The Surinamer? But the worst of all are The Dutch – they are depicted as a truly awful pastiche of low intelligence bigots. Or are they just better actors? We’ve got another 12 episodes to find out…

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