Man Like Mobeen is a British comedy-drama series that follows Mobeen Deen, the titular British-Pakistani-Muslim character, as he navigates a post-criminal life in working-class Small Heath, Birmingham, raising his teenage sister Aks (short for Aqsadine) and geting into various hijinks with his friends Nate and Eight. The show was created by Guz Khan and Andy Milligan and is a continuation of the Mobeen character that the former created on YouTube while he was still a secondary school teacher.
The series first aired on BBC Three on 17 December 2017 for four episodes. A second four-episode series aired on 6 February 2019. Outside of the United Kingdom, it is available on Netflix in North America.
This show provides examples of:
- Abuse Mistake: In "Wrestling With the NHS," Mobeen, Nate, and Eight are reluctant to tell the truth of how Aks got injured because of how it would sound like an attempt to cover up domestic abuse.
- Adult Fear: The show definitely touches on several of these fears:
- Mobeen's overarching concern is making enough missteps that the authorities will take 15 year old Aks away from him, even though he is her only closest living relative in the country.
- Arranged Marriage: The major plot point of "Wifey Riddim." Mobeen seriously considers going through the process of an arranged marriage to bring a female parental figure into Aqsa's life.
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The local police definitely fit this characterization:
- Sajid and Syeda are overly aggressive and trigger-happy towards suspects. Sajid eventually gets suspended for discharging his firearm and Syeda tasers Mobeen immediately after seeing him play around with a samurai sword.
- In the same tasing incident, rather than go through the trouble of filing paperwork, Officer Harper and Syeda decide to recover the barbs and cover up the evidence.
- Officer Harper knowingly sticks a handcuffed Mobeen in the same van with Robbie, the far-right leader.
- Big Brother Instinct: Mobeen goes to great lengths to protect Aks, such as beating up a drug dealer using her friends to move drugs.
- Big, Thin, Short Trio: Mobeen, Nate, and Eight, respectively.
- Black Comedy Animal Cruelty:
- In the first episode alone ("Bagpuss"), Eight buys what he thinks is a laptop in a bag, but is actually a dead cat. The three amigos debate how to get rid of the cat when they are surrounded by cops. Eight confronts the seller about the dead cat, who replaces it with another bag with the "laptop" - it's implied that it is another dead cat.
- In the Cold Open of "Fake News," a petulant woman who argues with Mobeen about queuing sets her dog on Mobeen, who punches the dog as it lunges for Aks. Several bystanders film and then post the video online.
- Celebrity Resemblance: Mobeen asks Khadijah how she feels about her dad being "the brown Karl Pilkington."
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: "Upper Room." Dadha Hussain constructs a whole charade of meeting his second wife Jamila in order to have the main trio help him get out of the house and over to his rental video store to get rid of his porn video collection. The three amigos tell him that they would have helped him regardless.
- Deadpan Snarker: Uncle Shady, who is incredibly blunt and abrasive and rarely ever changes his intonation.Uncle Shady: Hello, bastard.
- Fake-Out Opening: The second series opener "Prom Night" opens with Mobeen surrounded by blades, fire, and threatening dialogue - cut to Mobeen berating the barber for being overly melodramatic and telling him to get on with his haircut.
- Hot Teacher: Miss Aitken, with whom Mobeen is implied to be infatuated.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: Uncle Shady comes to Mobeen's defense:Brother Ahmed: You, Mobeen Deen, are scum of the bloody earth!
Uncle Shady: You, Mr. Ahmed, you are the biggest arsehole.
Brother Ahmed: I beg your pardon.
Uncle Shady: Nobody speaks to Mobeen like this except me.
Mobeen: Thanks and that, but I'd prefer if you didn't speak to me like that as well.
- Literal-Minded: Eight often interprets things very literally.
- Nostalgia Filter: While grocery shopping, the main trio have a conversation about Three Men and a Baby, which Eight mistook for a documentary. Mobeen tells the two that after rewatching it as an adult, he had this reaction and the movie was not as good as he remembered.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: "Wrestling With the NHS," of course. That being said, the show makes a point to emphasize that part of the bureaucracy at the NHS comes from being consistently underfunded and understaffed and from outsourcing administrative work to contractors who are paid more than the actual doctors and nurses.
- Oh, Crap!: In "H-ALTRight", the asthmatic Robbie collapses while Mobeen is giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech:Mobeen: Oh, shit. Oi! Is he dead? (chuckling to himself) I killed this motherfucker with my realness! Ha, ha! Beat Oh, shit. I killed this motherfucker with my realness.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Eight, whose real name (Arslan) is briefly mentioned twice.
- Overly Long Gag: Dadha Hussain's storytelling.Dadha: (Imitating his mother's voice) You need to get married. (Normal voice) I don't want to get married. You need to get married. I don't want to get married. You need to get married. I don't want to get married. You need to get married. I don't want to get married. Beat You need to get married. I don't want to get married.
- The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Mobeen lays a beatdown on Shahid with fruit from a fruit stand. Sounds innocuous, except Mobeen also shoves kiwi into his face, to which he is allergic.
- Potty Emergency: Eight and Nate spend the majority of "H-ALTRight looking for a place to pee. They are forced to use a toilet inside a pub frequented by EDL members.
- Preppy Name: The boorish, impatient, and racist ER patient, Rafe Forbes-Plunkett.
- Profiling: A frequent occurrence on the series. While the series does not shy away from the harm of racial profiling, it does take a more absurdist view on the proceedings.
- In the first five minutes of the series alone, a police squad with semiautomatic guns surrounds Mobeen and his crew. Nate dashes off before the cops get there, and the police take in Eight because he fit the description of the suspected drug dealer ("brown male, in jogging bottoms").Harper (referring to Nate): Why has he run off? I asked you a question.
Mobeen: I don't know. If I had to guess, I'd probably say it's because he's black.
Mobeen: Officer, I don't know if you've heard of this thing called history. Yeah? But these situations very rarely work out for the black man.
- In another episode, Mobeen gets searched by the Asian grocery store owner.
- In the first five minutes of the series alone, a police squad with semiautomatic guns surrounds Mobeen and his crew. Nate dashes off before the cops get there, and the police take in Eight because he fit the description of the suspected drug dealer ("brown male, in jogging bottoms").
- Promotion to Parent: Mobeen has been raising his younger sister Aks ever since both of their parents walked out at different points of their lives. That being said, Mobeen doesn't actually become her legal guardian until the episode "Fake News".
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Aqsa is unwittingly and tangentially pulled into the orbit of a local drug pusher, Mobeen goes on one of these, interrupted only when he plays when a street cat.
- Running Gag:
- Whenever someone pokes fun at his weight, Mobeen will usually grumble to himself about how he's been cutting carbs.
- Nate dashes off at the sound of police sirens.
- Thicker Than Water: Discussed by the trio and deconstructed in "Bagpuss." Aqsa is clearly conflicted when her friend Khareema asks her to hang on to a bunch of drugs that she had been transporting for the local drug dealer when the latter girl is tailed by the police. Rather than report to a fellow denizen of Small Heath, Mobeen takes matters into his own hand.
- You Need a Breath Mint: Aqsa makes fun of Mobeen's terrible breath in front of her teacher Miss Aitken.