Please don’t accuse me of blasphemy when I say that, despite the unavoidable festive spirit, there’s a lot about Ramadan that is just plain awful. Leading that list by a healthy margin is the inevitable stream of Ramadan TV nonsense.
I can accept the melodrama of mosalsals, but some of the things that have been appearing on our TV screens this year are – much more so than the last few years – horrendous.
Here are the five worst TV shows this Ramadan.
Ramez Qersh El Bahr
Good lord almighty; Ramez Galal is the absolute worst. Some may be fooled by the cheeky-chap persona he’s created for himself, but underneath that mischievous grin is the empty shell of a failed actor who refuses to just fade away.
As with his show last year, Ramez Qalb El Asad, Galal uses the fear of being torn apart by Mother Nature’s fiercest predators to make celebrities crap themselves – this time the almighty shark. Not interested.
Fo’sh Fel Mo’askar
Another cheap and cringe-inducing prank show feeding off the stupidity of the rich and famous, Fo’sh Fel Mo’askar sees singer and occasional wooden actor, Mohamed Fouad, follow a similar path to Ramez Galal by taking ‘unsuspecting’ celebrities out to sea.
The fear of sharks, however, is replaced by a surprise ambush by Israeli soldiers, who apprehend the crew, Fouad and, of course, his guests, before taking them into custody. If only that would happen for real.
El ‘Amaleya Messi
No actor exemplifies the cult of talentless celebrity in Egypt more than slapstick-loving, Chipsy-endorsing actor, Ahmed Helmy. You see, there are some thespians in this country that know no limit when it comes to debasing and degenerating their once promising careers.
This year, Helmy is donning an ape costume in his role as a monkey called Messi in what is apparently a political satire. El ‘Amaleya Messi sees the title character on the run as CIA operatives hunt him down in an effort to abduct him. Why are the evil men chasing down this poor monkey? No one cares.
El Kebir Awi
It’s with a slight twinge of sadness that I add El Kebir Awi to this hall of shame, because I quite liked the show and considered myself a fan of goofy funny-man, Ahmed Mekki. But that was three years ago.
Originality has never been a strong suit for the Egyptian television and film industries, but with El Kebir Awi now in its fourth season, surely it’s time for Ahmed Mekki to hang up his 3ema and shooma, and move onto pastures new.
Forgive what may be an obscure reference, but speaking of lack of originality, Egypt’s answer to Tyler Perry has produced a show that the cross-dressing, pretentious American actor and director would be proud of.
There’s little doubt that Mahmoud Saad (of Lembi fame) has been ‘inspired’ by Perry’s Madea films; the series of b-rate movies sees Perry play a lumpy, no-nonsense, shameless old lady to embarrassing effect.
Similarly, Viva Atata follows a no-nonsense, shameless old lady played by Saad who finds herself in prison – for reasons that are hard to care about – to equally embarrassing effect.
In conclusion, read a book.