R-Rated for Ramadan: What's with the holy month's risque TV?
As recently as last year, families used to sit around the telly for late Ramadan nights of family-friendly shows. This holy season, it's as though a switch has been flicked - Grandma suitable conservative shows have been replaced by the raunchy and provocative.
Perhaps a dark force has visited scriptwriters to cloud their judgment - sex and violence are common place, rendering the era of comedies and heart-felt and wholesome life lessons a TV memory from a bygone era of Little House on the Prairie or Bab Al-Hara, its Arab kin. Continue reading below »
Whatever happened to the age of innocence that attended the holy month? Ramadan is all about children getting to stay up late - bedtimes and night curfews are off the table. With a tendency to let the parental guard down during Ramadan, watershed worries often waft out the window with a carefree puff of argeeleh smoke.
But a new trend in graphic telly is leaving the up and coming generation all the wiser about the cruelties and guilty pleasures of life than we were at twice their age. Ramadan TV shows have gotten grittier, sexier and more risque than ever before.
In the battle between parental guidance and a desire to push the boundaries of programming, it's clear to see which side has won. Several TV shows made history this Ramadan as they were slapped with an 18+ rating; their explicit content required a parental advisory disclamer.
With rumours that the unrest in Egypt has resulted in a more lax take on family shows, one can only suspect that the widespread turmoil has led to some cheeky chancers slipping in naughty content to the Ramadan lineup. One could be forgiven for assuming that the Egyptian censor has taken a holiday as the Nile is churning out some of the naughtiest content ever seen on regional telly.
Whether the industry censors have run amock or standards are just slipping, some believe that this year's shows are making a mockery out of Ramadan. But alas - even Arab TV channels don't care about family values. There's no room for prudes in the house when ratings are involved.
Ramadan this year gets a bold PG warning. Cover your kids' eyes because what's being shown in the holiest month of the Islamic calendar isn't pretty. Here's our x-rated panel of TV's rude and racy Ramadan treats, uncut!
Has Ramadan's TV line-up gone too far? Is this a slippery slope into the sordid space of a war-ravaged, all holds-barred Middle East? Has the Egyptian chaos caused the censors to run riot?