Maureen Bharoocha, a Los Angeles-based South Asian American director who recently directed the “La Guerra de Aisha” episode on the acclaimed second season of the new Saved by the Bell, stopped by the Hyphen in Hollywood podcast to share laughs, wisdom and memorable hot takes on comedy’s crucial role in our busy lives.
Between reveling in the best and worst tropes of the current ’80s revival, she imparted valuable reflections inspired by her background (which includes both Irish Catholic and Pakistani Burmese Muslim heritage) and the zany family ties that have continued to inspire her comedic sensibilities, which range from I Love Lucy to Wayne’s World to yes, the original Saved by the Bell.
“There’s something that resides in all those films that’s grounded comedy. You really feel honest feelings. I really think comedy is doing its best when it feels real. You get to go to grounded places and it hits harder. Those are always things that I gravitate toward,” she said.
While established in film — her recent, critically acclaimed directorial debut, Golden Arm, was a SXSW favorite and received a theatrical release in April 2021 — Bharoocha had long-held aspirations to work in television. Despite her success on the feature side, she encountered trouble breaking in. She cited NBCU’s Female Forward program, which aims to create gender parity in scripted television, and its counterpart the Emerging Director Program as the first in the industry to guarantee that participating directors will helm an episode of television during the program.
The opportunity, for Bharoocha, was immense. “I was a huge Saved by the Bell fan growing up. It was easy to relate to the old show and see how they reimagined the new one,” she said reflecting on her time. “It’s one of the things that got me through.”
And getting through is exactly what Bharoocha has done, having been featured on IndieWire’s rising female directors in 2020, being on HBO’s 2018 director’s list and being nominated for the SXSW 2020 Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Visionary Directing Award.
You can check out my full conversation with Maureen on the Hyphen in Hollywood podcast below.
You can check out Bharoocha’s latest episode on Season 2 of Saved by the Bell on Peacock.
“Hyphen in Hollywood” is an entertainment podcast produced by senior film and TV editor Christian Ting, featuring candid conversations with up-and-coming and established talent from all corners of the entertainment globe.