Whether it’s holiday days or long summer nights with the family, you can (almost) only be an Arab if you’ve watched old Arab television shows. You’ll be doing it right if you’ve watched them more than once, and can crack their jokes in relevant contexts. In the age of HD, the fact that they are either in black-and-white or washed colors is only a plus!
1) Madrast Al-Mushaghebeen (1973)
This four-hour play was adopted from the American movie “To Sir, with Love” (1967). Despite starring newcomers, the movie was a great success not only in Egypt, but the whole of the Middle East. Featuring the now classic, well-known Egyptian actor Adel Emam.
2) Kasak ya Watan (1979)
Duraid Lahham’s famous tragicomic play featuring the known Ghawar sheds light on corruption and bureaucracy. Translated to “Cheers, Nation!” the Syrian play is loved for its patriotic and moving comedy.
3) Bye Bye, London (1981)
This Kuwaiti observational comedy is the story of a young man who follows his uncle to London to save him from fraud. The play has references to regional social and political issues. The play was a success in the Gulf countries as well as the rest of the Arab world.
4) Biya el-Khawatim (1965)
A Rahbani Brothers’ Lebanese play starring the legendary Nasri Shamseddine and Fairouz. Many of the songs of the play are very well known until today such as Ya Mirsal El Maraseel by Fairouz and Tallo Al Seyadi by Nasri Shamseddine.
5) Al Ayal Kibrit (1979)
This comedy is far from politics and corruption and more about family values and self-reflection. Four siblings try to convince their father not to marry a younger woman. As they do that, each of them, including their mother, start to realize that the father isn’t the only one making a mistake.
Can you think of others you think we should add to this list? Tell us in the comments below!