A new BBC sketch comedy show Revolting spoofs a Bravo franchise and terrorist group in its first episode in “The Real Housewives of ISIS.” The controversial bit satirizes the ways young women are manipulated by ISIS online. For instance, one housewife says her seducer had her at “free healthcare.” Another quips, “It’s only three days until the beheading, and I’ve got no idea what I’m going to wear!”
The crux of the sketch is an awkward scene in which Zaynab (Anjli Mohindra) models a new suicide vest for her friends, who offer compliments to her face and harsh barbs behind her back . “She looked massive,” cracks Mel (Sophie McCartney) in a talking head interview. “You’re gonna need a lot of Semtex to kill that one.” Things get even worse for Zaynab when Hadyia (Nimisha Odedra) walks in wearing the same vest.
BBC 2’s Revolting comes from political sketch comedians Jolyon Rubinstein and Heydon Prowse, who previously worked on BBC 3’s The Revolution Will Be Televised and a one-off special, Brexageddon?! that skewered Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
The Real Housewives of ISIS sketch has drawn criticism, but Rubinstein, Prowse and the BBC have stood by the bit. “It’s important not to pull your punches in satire,” Prowse told the British newspaper, i. “You have to be fearless or it undermines your credibility. You can’t go after David Cameron for five years like we did and not go after Islamic State.”
Rubinstein added: “The target is online grooming. It’s about people who are vulnerable to these kind of approaches. We’ve had the ‘White Widow’ (British-born terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite) so this is actually happening to women here.”