Pierre Bismuth has become known for his investigations into mass cultural products, and especially for his deconstruction of film and TV culture. He probes these mass cultural phenomena to pose questions that relate to how they affect our perception of reality. For his new project, Haj Mitwalli’s Family: Proposal for an Improbable American TV program, Bismuth has appropriated an Egyptian soap opera, and given it a voice over by a single male voice, with an American accent. This simple intervention ultimately focuses the viewer’s attention on how the structure but also the language of a given form governs its interpretation. The result is as bizarre as it is humorous and revealing. Hovering between the foreign and the familiar, the work is at the same time a meditation on a variety of issues from language barriers to Middle Eastern gender politics. What is lost in translation? How far apart are the notions of the familiar and the foreign in this ubiquitous genre? To what degree is (what seems to us) as the caricaturish nature of the soap inherent to the genre or the notion of cultural ‘difference’? Apart from drawing attention to our endless fascination for mass cultural genres such as the soap opera (and how such forms in effect function as great equalizers beyond borders), the work ultimately raises questions about issues such as communication in an increasingly globalised world, cultural homogenisation and linguistic ‘truth’, but also points to language as one of the important lasting signifiers of the idea of cultural ‘difference’.