There is a common thread among first generation immigrants in North America. We all share the constant juggling of the old world in our homes and the new world outside our doors as well as forging our own path, while still respecting the traditions our parents carried with them across the Atlantic. This often leads to misunderstandings and that is always the perfect foundation for comedic scenarios.
Besides the frustrations, there is way more comedy when trying to negotiate with immigrant parents. I can do an awesome impression of my parents accent and often get a chuckle at our moments that are ‘lost in translation’.
So when I came across the trailer for a pilot sitcom called ‘First Gen’ I was excited to see if this was relate-able. And sure enough its not only hilarious, the commonalities are spot on.
The show is based on a first generation Nigerian family and is loosely autobiographical of creator Yvonne Orji. The trailer shows the juxtaposition of immigrant parents’ high expectations of their children and the kids’ desire to pursue their passion. In the pilot we see the main character Joanna (played by Yvonne Orji) tell her parents she’s dropping out of med school to pursue a career as a comedian. Every immigrant parent’s dream is to see their child become a doctor, so you can only imagine the comedy that ensues when Joanna decides to change course.
For so long, the first generation African narrative remained amongst us. But as we see famous faces like Lupita Nyong’o and Uzo Aduba (Orange Is The New Black) tell stories of their parents and upbringing with pride in interviews, the image of Africans is being redesigned by us, for us and through us.