Ramadan TV: it’s time for those disgusting fake mustaches!

باب الحارة

As our post-iftar headache subsided on this first evening of Ramadan, my wife and I decided to check out what’s on TV in Ramadan. One thing you need to know about me is that my average TV watching time is usually something like half an hour per month. I have not watched an arabic series since my teenage days. The last Arabic TV series I was marginally aware of was Nihayet Rajul Shuja3 (The End of a Brave Man).

Bab el 7ara is, of course, the opium of the Arab masses after the Arab-dubbed Turkish soap opera Muhannad and Noor ran out two days ago. So I switched onto MBC1 and, lo and behold, there was the opening sequence for Bab el 7ara III (Revenge of the Mutant Mustache).

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My goodness.

It’s not just disgusting fake mustaches. This “series” has the works. Sweaty men’s faces. Female actresses drowning in greasy make up. Fake tears enough to irrigate your garden. Ridiculously over-emotional acting. Horribly bad lighting. Stupid camera work. Over -dramatic music. Fake sets. You name it, they’ve got it.

And oh.. the personalities: the over-inflated Arab ego, the machoism, the overt verbalization of inner thoughts (because the audience is too stupid, we have to shove every emotion down their throat and make sure they understand how the character feels).

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This is hit TV material for today’s Arab world. The theme song, played over a horribly edited opening sequence crammed with shots and the names of all the people who worked on the show, promises the audience a feast of “valor” and “bravery” You know, all
the “good stuff” from the “good old days” when colonial France was still around in Damascus and when men where men etc, etc.

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I couldn’t care less about the content of this show actually.

But it angers me that this is the quality of production that today’s Arab audiences are fed. The advertising that interrupts the show looks so slick and cinematic compared to the show primitive visual language and third rate school stage acting.

It’s seems we have not hit the cultural rock-bottom yet. Just put on the mustache and floodlight my face and take me on a trip to the good old neighborhood.

P.S: we switched to MBC and and actually enjoyed the lighthearted Kate and Leopold, a much better demonstration of old worldly valor and gentlemanliness. 100% mustache free.


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20 Responses to “Ramadan TV: it’s time for those disgusting fake mustaches!”

  1. peter Says:

    haha..great review.. the infamy of Arab Ramadan TV is actually world famous.. (Ramadan Karim anyway!)

  2. secratea Says:

    jad, that mustache bihaddi 3alahum nisir.. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  3. ArabianMonkey Says:

    I did my TV rounds last night and go very see-sick! The mustache?? Check out the historical epic productions and the attack of the beards…..

  4. ArabianMonkey Says:

    I did my TV rounds last night and got very see-sick! The mustache?? Check out the historical epic productions and the attack of the beards…..

  5. John Doe Says:

    dude, you’re something! i like you, i actually invented the CCL abbreviation which is: Couldn’t Care Less, you cracked me my man 
    its time for our society (or rather the people with active brains and exposure in our society) to start critiquing such bad productions, i did amongst my friends for so long, but i’m a no-body, friends agree and others just don’t listen and enjoy it anyways..
    dude, you’ll have lots of enemies after this post, cuz this fake, over-the-board acting, and low production is the life for so many!
    but spot on, you read “a few” of our minds, not mine only.. hehe

  6. How does the collective brain think? Says:

    The problem is that among the 300 ramadan TV series, there are some high quality productions…both conceptually and aesthetically. It just mind-boggling that the cheapest and lowest production on all levels is the one with the most success.
    It is inexplicable.

  7. aussieforgood Says:

    Everything you said is so true! We get it, men were men in those days, and if you didn’t have that ridiculous ‘stache then you’re not a “man” How many more seasons of Bab el-Hara do we have to put up with before they realize its total garbage.

    It just proves you can feed the Arabs a total flop of a show and they will be more than happy to watch it and make a big deal out of it (eg: Mohannad and Noor, where it was a looser in it’s own country and the actors aren’t even famous there!)

  8. Saad Darwazeh Says:

    Thanks Ahmad for yet another good comment on the low quality TV transmissions being fed into our minds… But untill a creative someone (like you) comes up with a good production, the poor majority of the people are stuck with moustaches…

  9. Mude Says:

    You poke fun at the mustache better than I do. I don’t think this will cause you to receive any death threats. People here are sensitive about the ‘Stache.

    The garbage that’s shown on Arab TV is the reason I have ZERO Arab TV channels in my home, not even the ones that broadcast Western content.

    Just good ol’ American garbage on my TV, straight from the source.

  10. jessyz Says:

    We were at the supermarket yesterday and the man in the queue behind us had that same exact mustache, my husband’s exact words “he looks like he just got out of a Syrian tv show”

  11. abed_italy Says:

    You are fantastic man! When i read this blog i see a lightspot in the arab intellectual darkness…
    Thank you!

  12. hussein Says:

    Great achievement for the Syrian Drama that it could copy the Unbelievable success of the Egyptian TV shows in Ramadan.. Specially: El7aj Metwaly and his 4 wifes and 7 girls :)

    No doubts about the taste of the Arabian street!

  13. mustache_defender Says:

    Stop talking that way about this series… All Egyptian series look crappy compared to it.

  14. Yazan Says:

    HAHAHA
    I just watched the first episode of the new ‘season’ on youtube, and for the first scene where ‘za3eem el 7ara’ is announced dead, you can see they were aiming for a very tragic and dramatic scene, but I ended up laughing my ass off.
    The script was so badly written.

    So after watching that I remembered your post and came to tell you about it. :D

  15. sara Says:

    i love bab el hara it is sadning and good

  16. Tim Says:

    Ahmed,
    Let’s go out to a cafe during Ramadan sporting crappy fake mustaches… I’ll do it if you come with me :)

    Tim

  17. Nadine Says:

    We mock the beards, and now there’s a little movement building beards for good! :) LMTO!!

  18. Nasser Says:

    I think you miss the pint of baba alhara

  19. Hanan Says:

    You guys are the type that wont watch anything only if its got some naked girls in it go get a life im in australia and all my friends and family watch this and it beats over exaggerated american films by far!!

  20. Alianzas » Bab El Hara, la telenovela siria que se ve en todo el mundo árabe Says:

    [...] La serie cuenta con tantos adeptos como críticos. Según Ahmad Humeid, uno de los blogueros jordanos más reconocidos, Bab El Hara es  “el opio de las masas árabes”. Humeid lamenta la pésima actuación, la mala calidad de  producción, iluminación y montaje, y la “abundancia de mostachos”. [...]

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