Tash ma Tash
Tash Ma Tash (1993–2011) (Arabic: طاش ما طاش) ("No Big Deal" in English) was a popular Saudi Arabian satirical comedy that ran for 18 seasons. The show followed a sketch comedy format. It aired on the Saudi State-owned television channel Saudi 1 for 13 seasons but in 2005 it was bought by MBC. New episodes ran exclusively during Ramadan right after sunset.
|Tash Ma Tash|
|Also known as||TMT|
|Directed by||Abdul Khaleq Alghanem|
|Country of origin||Saudi Arabia|
|No. of seasons||18|
|No. of episodes||540|
|Running time||21 minutes (without commercials)|
|Original network||Saudi 1 (1993–2005) |
MBC 1 (2006–2011)
|Original release||1993 –|
The show consists of episodic comedy sketches that present social commentary on the Saudi society. Every episode has a new story and characters, though popular characters tend to re-appear in new storylines. Most episodes poke fun at the flaws of Saudi society while others show a tendency for dark comedy and melodrama. The show was one of the pioneers of self-criticism in the Saudi media, with the episodes often dealing with sensitive topics such as social aspects, culture, terrorism, marital relations, and religion.
The show satirizes regional social, cultural, and legal state found within Saudi Arabia.
John R. Bradley, author of Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis, said that the show continues to run and receive high ratings because, in Saudi Arabia, people perceive comedy to be a good valve for frustrations for social, regional, and other issues.
The show has been a target for religious clergy after an episode aired which criticized the judges of the local courts (who are clergymen) of skipping work or leaving early, leaving paperwork and cases delayed.
One episode portrayed the difficulty for women to do basic things without a mahram (a legal male guardian). The two heroines of the episode were alone because the husband of one and brother of the other were in Paris for a few weeks. The women were harassed and flirted with in parks by young men, escorted out of shops and turned away from banks. They tried to regain freedom of movement by borrowing a senile grand father (a cure worse than the disease) and finally disguised the daughter of one and niece of the other as a little boy. Ultra-conservatives deemed this episode offensive to Islamic traditions. Many people considered this episode to be somewhat exaggerated but true.
As of 2011, the show has been discontinued and there are no plans for future seasons.
Badria Al-Bishir details what she calls battles between the extremist (mutawa) and the liberals in Saudi Arabia. The show is considered a milestone in the critique of extremist thought in Saudi Arabia, which has been used to shape the public opinion. It rose in times when the Newspapers and TV production were dominated by the liberal party, while the educational systems were dominated by the religious party. The nature of the clash has often been explored in the Tash Ma Tash program.
- Bradley, John R. Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis. Palgrave Macmillan. 19 May 2005. 7.
- Qusti, Raid. "Tash Ma Tash: A Barometer of Self-Criticism." Arab News. 3 November 2004 (20 Ramadan 1425). Retrieved on 10 January 2009.
- Ahmad, Mahmoud. "Tash Ma Tash Actors Receive Death Threats." Arab News. 27 October 2004 (13 Ramadan 1425). Retrieved on 10 January 2009.
- Al-Bishir, Badria (2011). The Tash Ma Tashbattles: A reading of the prohibition mentality in Saudi society.
- "السعودية سيرة دولة ومجتمع".