On Tuesday’s Love Is___ (OWN, 10/9c), Ramadan puts the brakes on Nuri and Yasir’s fast-moving relationship.
The couple was already exchanging “I love you”s before their first date, and after attending a jazz concert, Yasir — who is a practicing Muslim — and Nuri get hot and heavy at her house during tonight’s hour, titled “Her Questions.” But during the religious holiday, no sex is allowed at the time of the fast, so the pair are forced to end their steamy make-out romp and instead spend the night talking for hours and hours.
“What I love about Episode 3 — and it’s even coined this way — is the cocoon phase,” says executive producer Mara Brock Akil, whose real-life romance with husband/producing partner Salim Akil is the inspiration for the show. “It was great that he was at Ramadan, because it allowed us to slow down and not act on that physical connection, and we were able to act on the intimate connection that really sealed us, that helped me look beyond what society says is a deficit in someone.”
With no place to live, a child from a previous relationship and a stalled car that nearly ruins the couple’s perfect date, as seen in the exclusive video below, “[Salim] wouldn’t be deemed a good choice as a mate,” Brock Akil continues. “But I was able to connect with him in a very intimate manner, and our souls connected, and we, and I, held on to that during that time. I’m so glad that I listened more to my heart than my mind.”
Press PLAY below to watch the exclusive sneak peek, then scroll down to keep reading.
For Nuri, however, trusting in Yasir at this early stage is a struggle, especially when red flags start to appear. “In the second half of the episode, [she] is questioning whether or not this connection she made is really real now that she’s starting to come to view his reality,” Brock Akil previews.
One of Nuri’s titular “Questions” involves Yasir’s ex/roommate Ruby, whom he ends up taking care of after a surgery procedure. Although Yasir’s actions could be viewed as “questionable,” Brock Akil hopes that viewers recognize that he’s “someone who would be nurturing, protective and caring to a friend, and someone who really, ultimately, is just asking you to trust them. That’s a hard thing to do when the facts tell you to run. I hope that people take away that he is a good man for [Nuri], but of course it hurts when you are not getting that attention.”
Much like that fateful Ramadan-fueled “cocoon phase” and the stalled car, the premiere’s infamous underwear scene — in which Yasir asks Nuri out in a Melrose Avenue shop while wearing Calvin Klein boxer briefs and no pants — really did happen in real life. “[Salim] sold everything to come and chase his dream, and he sold even workout shorts,” Brock Akil explains. “Because the style of biker shorts were of the day, he could get away with trying to pass them off as workout shorts. But when I met him, he was coming from Runyon Canyon with his friend. So they had been working out, and his friend was bringing him to Melrose to buy him some clothes, because he was like, ‘Dude, you’re scaring everybody. What is happening to you? This is a cry for help.'”
What do you think of Nuri and Yasir’s romance? Hit the comments with your thoughts!