Eventually, I moved to Chicago, and I did what every American does, I struggled to pay rent, fell in love, got jobs, lost jobs, got a cat, burned food, disappointed my parents, and tried to figure out what to do with my life. Normal, everyday life stuff.
When people defend immigration, they focus on the exceptionality of immigrants. Albert Einstein was an immigrant. Joseph Pulitzer was an immigrant. While those stories are inspiring and valuable, we wanted to focus on the immigrants doing everyday life stuff.
Little America is an anthology series inspired by the true stories of immigrants in the U.S. Here is the thing, it’s not about telling like immigrant stories. These are human stories that feature immigrants. When you get to know someone and start to see your struggles and their struggles, your passions and theirs, your problems and theirs, they stop being the other.
I, along with my partners, Emily Gordon, Lee Eisenberg, Allen Yang at Epic Magazine, wanted to make a show that did just that, because, ultimately, we are all looking for the same thing: food, home, meaning, love.
Like the emotional story of a young Indian boy living in Utah whose parents achieved the American dream of running their own motel until they were suddenly deported. Twelve year old, Kumail, wasn’t going to let his parents’ dream die, so this young boy secretly ran the motel for the next ten years on his own while simultaneously plotting his quest to get his parents back to the U.S.
Okay, true story. He competed in the national spelling bee so that he could meet First Lady Laura Bush and ask for help, and he came in 13th and he actually got to meet her. He did!
I know you guys are like 13th doesn’t sound that impressive, but he was running a motel at the time, too, and he speaks a whole other language.
Did Laura Bush help him? Tune in to find out. Little America will cover the full range of human emotions. Some episodes are funny, some are romantic, some are thrilling. They feature immigrants from Iran, Syria, Nigeria, Mexico, and more, and are set all over America from Texas to Oklahoma to California.
The majority of the writers and directors are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. Yeah.
On set, one of our actors said to Emily, I have been acting for decades, but I have never gotten to be in every scene. How awesome is that?
We hope Little America will help viewers understand that there is no such thing as the other. There is only us, which is why at this moment in history we are excited that we get to tell these stories with Apple. Connecting humanity is in their DNA.
The immigrant dream is the American dream. Connecting through our stories will give us a better understanding of each other, an understanding that allows us to live together, eat each other’s food, maybe learn some fun new ways of swearing, and that is the America I was promised. We can’t wait for you to see our Little America.
BIG BIRD: Hello there! Ha ha ha.
Hi, it’s me. In case you don’t know who I am, I’m Big Bird. I think I’m in the right place to meet my new friend Cody, but I’m not sure. She gave me directions to get here.
She said, first, turn right at Hooper’s store, then take a left at Oscar’s trash can, and then keep going straight until you see Apple Park. I love circles, by the way. So, where is she?
CODY: Here I am, Big Bird. Hi, everybody!
BIG BIRD: Hi, Cody.
CODY: Hi, how are you doing?
BIG BIRD: I’m great.
CODY: Hi, Big Bird.
BIG BIRD: Hey, thanks for helping me get here.
CODY: That’s what I do, Big Bird. I’m a Helpster, a monster who loves to help. Hey, I’m glad you are here because I wanted to tell you and everyone here some very special news.
BIG BIRD: Okay, let’s hear it!
CODY: Yeah? Well, the peeps at Sesame Workshop and Apple have teamed up to make an incredible new preschool show starring me. It’s called Helpsters.
BIG BIRD: Oh.
CODY: Yeah. See? Oh, thank you.
Oh, gosh. I’ve never had a livestream clap for me before. See, helping is my favorite thing to do. My Helpster friends and I just love to help anyone with any problem no matter how large or small, from making instruments for a band to teaching a friend how to fly their first kite. And you know how we do it?
BIG BIRD: How?
CODY: We use the big ideas behind coding to solve problems.
BIG BIRD: You don’t say.
CODY: I do say.
BIG BIRD: Well, do you think you could help teach me?
CODY: I already did. You know those directions I gave you?
BIG BIRD: Yeah.
CODY: Well, directions are one of the building blocks of coding. See, coding fosters collaboration, critical‑thinking skills, and is an essential language that every child can learn.
By teaching preschoolers about coding, we are giving them the opportunity to change the world, world, world, world. You know, in their own special way. Oh, and did I mention we also have cool music and funky dance moves? Boy, I want to watch that show.
BIG BIRD: Oh, and you are helping kids grow up to be smarter, stronger, and kinder.
CODY: And more creative, too. We just want to make a difference in children’s lives just like how you and all of your friends on Sesame Street have done for all of these nice people when they were kids and continue to do today.
BIG BIRD: Oh.