Arabs loved the loony tunes too! How 80s 90s Arab kids related to these 7 cartoons

Published August 2nd, 2016 - 03:21 GMT

Oh, to be a child once again! Those were the days, especially as an 80s/90s kid in the Middle East, when recess meant one of two things: Playing games with the neighborhood kids down the street, or binge watching the best cartoons the very few TV channels available had to offer (long before SpaceToon and Cartoon Network came to life).

Whether it was crying over girls’ faves Sally and Lady Lady (dubbed mostly from their original Japanese into classical Arabic), or laughing at the silliness of everyone’s favorites The Flintstones and Pinky and the Brain (for kids with paid Satellite/Cable subscriptions), the nostalgia that hits when reminded of those cartoons makes any Arab adult in their late twenties/early thirties teary-eyed and filled with a warm fuzzy feeling.

Many Generation X peeps would argue that the reason why those cartoons were so popular is because of our lack of channel choices at the time, in addition to their mostly emotional sotrylines and moving music that really got to them as children. So why don’t ya get nostalgic and take a trip down memory lane with Al Bawaba as we delve into what made some of these cartoons so relatable to kids from this region and left them stuck in their memories to this day. 

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The Flintstones

Wilma’s skimpy outfits didn’t prevent The Flintstones from being a hit in the conservative Arab world. Set in the Stone Age, kids and adults loved the adventures of Fred, Wilma, Betty and Barney. Could it be because the ME is still stuck in the Stone Age? If so, which showroom can I purchase my own “Fred footmobile” from?

Recess cartoons

Because 80s and 90s’ Arab kids would freely play in the neighborhood until sunset - unlike Generation Z, whose idea of playing with their next-door peers consists of a game of Xbox - they jumped with joy whenever the naughty conformist kids from Recess came on. Their school escapades resonated with the real lives of Generation Y.

Lady Lady

Since dating is off the menu for some Arab girls, watching young ladies Leen and Sarah date two handsome Englishmen in the romantic-drama cartoon Lady Lady made it all the more popular. Girls would daydream about living those characters’ lives, while getting attached to the emotional storyline and moving music.

Sally

If you don’t get teary-eyed when the name Sally comes up, then you didn’t grow up in the ME in the 80s and 90s! This cartoon was so emotionally-charged that it should've had a 12+ age restriction. Kids loved watching Sally go from wealthy to poor to wealthy again, while inspiring so many characters around her at the same time.

al ragheef al ajeeb

Bread is a must-have item on Arabs’ breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, so it’s no surprise that Al Ragheef Al Ajeeb - translates into The Strange Bun or its original Japanese name Anpanman - was mighty popular back then. Kids craved watching every “freshly baked” episode of this adventure cartoon.

Maroko

Maroko is a charming little school girl whose humor and cheeky self made her so loved by kids. Arab kids are often too afraid to disobey their parents and that’s exactly what Maroko was afraid to do (yet she still managed to get herself into trouble with her mamma somehow, just like Arab kids do with their mammas).

Belle and Sebastian

A dog is a man’s best friend and Belle (the Arabic version of Lassie the dog) was every Arab child’s best (TV) companion. Belle & Sebastian is a cartoon that taught kids the value of the unbreakable bond between man and his “best friend".

The Flintstones
Recess cartoons
Lady Lady
Sally
al ragheef al ajeeb
Maroko
Belle and Sebastian
The Flintstones
Wilma’s skimpy outfits didn’t prevent The Flintstones from being a hit in the conservative Arab world. Set in the Stone Age, kids and adults loved the adventures of Fred, Wilma, Betty and Barney. Could it be because the ME is still stuck in the Stone Age? If so, which showroom can I purchase my own “Fred footmobile” from?
Recess cartoons
Because 80s and 90s’ Arab kids would freely play in the neighborhood until sunset - unlike Generation Z, whose idea of playing with their next-door peers consists of a game of Xbox - they jumped with joy whenever the naughty conformist kids from Recess came on. Their school escapades resonated with the real lives of Generation Y.
Lady Lady
Since dating is off the menu for some Arab girls, watching young ladies Leen and Sarah date two handsome Englishmen in the romantic-drama cartoon Lady Lady made it all the more popular. Girls would daydream about living those characters’ lives, while getting attached to the emotional storyline and moving music.
Sally
If you don’t get teary-eyed when the name Sally comes up, then you didn’t grow up in the ME in the 80s and 90s! This cartoon was so emotionally-charged that it should've had a 12+ age restriction. Kids loved watching Sally go from wealthy to poor to wealthy again, while inspiring so many characters around her at the same time.
al ragheef al ajeeb
Bread is a must-have item on Arabs’ breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, so it’s no surprise that Al Ragheef Al Ajeeb - translates into The Strange Bun or its original Japanese name Anpanman - was mighty popular back then. Kids craved watching every “freshly baked” episode of this adventure cartoon.
Maroko
Maroko is a charming little school girl whose humor and cheeky self made her so loved by kids. Arab kids are often too afraid to disobey their parents and that’s exactly what Maroko was afraid to do (yet she still managed to get herself into trouble with her mamma somehow, just like Arab kids do with their mammas).
Belle and Sebastian
A dog is a man’s best friend and Belle (the Arabic version of Lassie the dog) was every Arab child’s best (TV) companion. Belle & Sebastian is a cartoon that taught kids the value of the unbreakable bond between man and his “best friend".