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Yes they can! The power of the women of 'Tyrant'

Tyrant boasts a lot of complex male characters. But while the show is set in a male-dominated society, it’s the female characters, particularly the Middle Eastern women, who really give the show its added depth and gravitas. Leila and Nusrat lead the charge for Tyrant‘s host of well-rounded feminine characters, showing that despite dealing with the hardships of being essentially second-class citizens in their own country, these women still find ways assert their strength and find meaning in their lives.

It’s very exciting to see that Tyrant’s second season make use of Leila and Nusrat’s similar histories. Both women have been drafted into lives of politics and deception. Like Leila, Nusrat was groomed to be the wife of an Al-Fayeed without truly knowing what kind of hell she would be in for once she said “I do.” Similar to the losses Leila has suffered by being married to Jamal (chief of which was being left by Bassam, the love of her life, to fend for herself), Nusrat has lost her innocence. (This is no thanks to Jamal wanting to “check her virginity.”) She’s also lost her parents, and has had her entire worldview reshaped into something horrible. What’s worse is that Leila, Nusrat, and other women like them are expected to deal with their pain privately and keep a smile on for the public. The patriarchy demands this, but the patriarchy doesn’t understand exactly how strong-minded a person has to be to be able to pull this off with grace and dignity.

Both women are at different points of their lives, but both have what it takes to make it in the hard world they were thrust into. Nusrat is still finding her footing as Ahmed’s wife, and thankfully for her, she has someone as kind as Ahmed to support her through her challenges. But Nusrat shows amazing perseverance, what with her actually going through with her marriage despite being sexually assaulted by Jamal—and surviving the death of her father (also Jamal’s doing). Right now in the story, she’s having a rough patch, but you can be assured that Nusrat will land on her feet once again.

Leila has said that she views Nusrat like she would a daughter, and I think she’s telling the truth. It’s clear that Leila can see a lot of herself in Nusrat, and it’s clear that, despite her wanting Nusrat to annul her marriage to Ahmed, she wants Nusrat to have a better life than she has. But Leila has managed to make herself a formidable part of the Abuddinian presidency, and in many ways, she’s the one who’s the real president.

They say that behind every great man is a great woman, but it seems like that statement should be altered a bit. Sometimes, a great woman is what makes an average man seem greater than he is; this is the case with Leila. Leila is not just the First Lady; she’s Jamal’s adviser and political strategist all in one. She knows more about what it takes to run a country, and if given the chance, she’d be able to run Abuddin calmly and with an iron fist. Leila’s ability to see the practicality in any situation and divorce her feelings from most decisions is exactly what Jamal lacks.

Leila’s harsh life has given her the talent to be able to see things from a calm, rational, and sometimes coldly distant perspective. Meanwhile, Jamal is a loose cannon who wants everyone else to save him from himself—instead of dealing with his own demons alone. If Jamal could get out of his own head for long enough, he could learn from his wife about how to be a better leader.

This season has featured several other well-rounded women alongside Leila and Nusrat. Daliyah, for example, has gone from being a dutiful wife to a prisoner of war to the right-hand of resistance leader “Khalil.” She has been able to keep her sanity by keeping her focus on her family’s safety—her young son in particular. Daliyah’s focus on family also shows that a woman’s strength doesn’t come from just how well she plays the men’s game; being a mother is a huge show of feminine strength.

Samira has also been a great female character this season. Between last season and this one, she has transformed from an idealistic young woman who was frustrated with her father for not wanting to go all-in with Ihab’s resistance, to a woman who became resigned to a life of insurgency. Her arc certainly isn’t the happiest, but her presence displays a type of masculine strength that’s not typically given to female characters. She has never been given much ornamentation as a character. This shows not only how committed she is to the cause, but how internally powerful she is. Remember: She’s the one who convinced Ihab to join the Army of the Caliphate in order to kill the Al-Fayeeds. When he was at his weakest point, she was the one who was buoying the both of them.

Women are routinely expected to fill subservient roles in patriarchal societies such as the one depicted in Tyrant. But as tends to happen, women are always the backbone, giving much more than they get in return.

Tyrant airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on FX.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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