TV and Film
Before Ramadan is completely gone from our minds I need to tell you about the Ramadan moselselaat (TV serials). There are many TV shows, drama, comedy, reality, that have special runs during Ramadan. A new episode is played everyday, and it wraps up at Eid. I think I've seen them playing in every Egyptian home I've been to during Ramadan. Fun Fact: in some shows, when a foreign language is supposed to be spoken, replaces the language with Modern Standard Arabic (Egyptian is used normally), so they don't have to put translations on the screen. The most memorable show was "Ramiz the Desert Fox." This show was utterly repulsing. It is a prank show gone terribly wrong. Ramiz pranks famous people, but it's the same elaborate twisted prank every night. Last year, he trapped is famous friends in an elevator and had the door open and get stuck facing a live full grown tiger. That's nothing compared to this year. Ramiz puts his friends on a bus in the desert filled with actors (complete with ditzy blond foreigner to sit next to and distract the famous person), and then Ramiz attacks the moving bus with a band of terrorists with covered faces and huge guns. I don't know what's worse, watching innocent people literally be terrorized, or watching my friends laugh hysterically as it happens! Some Egyptians cite a cultural difference in humor, but this show is nothing like the Egyptian humor I have experienced (sarcastic, self-depredating, slapstick). Others say that since the revolution Egyptians have to push the envelope more to find things to laugh at. Maybe that makes sense, but seriously? They put a black bag on the famous people's heads, drag them from the bus, and then fire their guns while the actors scream. Does your current political situation really make it funny to make someone think there their travel companions were just executed? I have met plenty of Egyptians who agree the show is terrible and immoral... but they never turned off the show.
As I said before I spent Eid with Hagar. Hagar had to work, so she went to bed early the second night. I went out to a movie with her sister, niece, and in-laws. I am always amazing at how things just come to you here if you adopt the Egyptian mentality. I'm sure good stuff you want just happens everywhere, but here I appreciate it more. In the US you work your butt off to get the things you want, but here in Egypt, insha'allah, the things you want might (or might not) happen. I am just so pleasantly surprised when the things I want happen, and otherwise I'm not worrying about it. When I lived here before, I desperately wanted to go an Egyptian movie in theaters. It never happened, but just last weekend I was randomly taken to a movie without even asking. Yay. I saw "Ba Ba" (Daddy). It was a romantic comedy about a doctor who works in a fertility clinic, his journey with his wife, trying for a kid, and all that jazz. For the most part, I could follow the movie, not because of any Arabic ability, but because of the hammy acting. For some reason, in all of the few Egyptian comedies I have seen, the comedic draw centers around male incompetence. In the end Hagar's sister and her husband were not impressed with the movie. I'm not really into romantic comedies, but I enjoyed the experience. But you know what I didn't enjoy so much? The large population of one to three-year-olds in the audience. We went to the movie at one am, for goodness sake! It’s just cultural differences I guess.