Just four days after greenlighting the pilot for Alice in Arabia, ABC Family canceled its plans for the show following widespread internet rage over the show's terrible premise. Here's how the show—an ersatz homage to Alice in Wonderland—was being hawked:
Alice in Arabia is a high-stakes drama series about a rebellious American teenage girl who, after tragedy befalls her parents, is unknowingly kidnapped by her extended family, who are Saudi Arabian. Alice finds herself a stranger in a new world but is intrigued by its offerings and people, whom she finds surprisingly diverse in their views on the world and her situation. Now a virtual prisoner in her grandfather’s royal compound, Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.”
After ABC Family ordered the pilot earlier this week, everyone from Muslim advocacy groups and geographers to people with pulses and firing synapses, issued their objections to the show. One example:
Hear that sound? It’s millions of Muslim women snorting as Alice attempts to survive “life behind the veil.” The very idea that the veil is something to be survived strips Muslim women of their intellect and agency and makes them the subjects of this practice rather than sentient protagonists of it.
Late last night, an ABC Family spokesperson issued this chestnut:
“The current conversation surrounding our pilot was not what we had envisioned and is certainly not conducive to the creative process, so we’ve decided not to move forward with this project.”