We all had these nights when we curled up beside our tetas and moms with the TV on and watched intently as Zat or Wanees turned the course of the mosalsal around. If it was winter, we’d probably be drinking sahlab or hot cocoa. If it was summer, we’d be messily eating manga and snacking on teta’s goodies. Feeling nostalgic? We too are feeling nostalgic. We miss the days where we would wait until the episode aired and complain about the thirty-minute commercials that we have memorised word-for-word. We miss the days when we were younger and got to actually finish the tasks assigned to us and we miss the days when we weren’t swallowed by the blackhole of missing assignments and obligation. Would join us for a walk down memory lane? 3ayza Atgawez, anyone? These were the days.
1- Bent Esmaha Zat
Released in 2013, starring the icon Nelly Karim (who’s an absolute queen) and Bassem Samra, this series was an eyeopener. It walked us through the great events and changes Egypt went through from the 1952 Revolution till the 2011 Revolution; painting a picture of how middle class people lived their daily lives. We see how Zat and her overbearing mom, played by Entsar, change over the decades. Weirdly enough, I don’t understand how I grew to love her as the series progressed. It was one of the first shows to speak freely about FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and what a heartbreaking scene that was. Everything from the failing masharee3 of the Wagdy, Madeeha, Zat and Abdelmegid squad to the Maspero news scene, we loved every minute. In summary, Abdo Of Course and Zat, we miss you.
2- Raafat El Hagan
Going to teta’s and curling up with her while watching this masterpiece was just heaven. Honestly, the patriotism always skyrocketed after Raafat (his real name is Refaat Al-Gammal) risked his life for Egypt. Starring the classical stars Yosra and Mahmoud Abdelaziz, this show was one hell of an insight to the era of the Egyptian-Israeli conflict. Not to say it was factual; it was just patriotically fun for our child-selves! The romances of the infamous David Charle Samhoon were something else. We all thought, at some point, if he’ll ever settle for a lady. He always got his heart broken, not that we relate… at all. Are we the only ones looking to rewatch?
3- 3ayza Atgawez
Starring Hend Sabri, Sawsan Badr and Ahmed Fouad Selim, it was a show that captured the our hearts for quite a while. Regardless of the fact that we are indeed angry that this show made it seem like all women were looking to do is marry (wait for our upcoming rant), we had fun watching this. Ola’s luck made it no surprise that she did not actually realise her dreams at the end of the show. Ola’s faragh 3atefy is a different breed (and a not so occasional mood).
4- Yawmiyat Wanees
Do you remember the shenanigans of Wanees’s family and the moral (usually ironic) lessons at the end of every episode? Starring the Egyptian king Mohamed Sobhi and Suad Nasr, we indulge in the lives of one hell of a family in an endless loop of laughter and joyous tears. The car episode was a personal favourite of mine. I also loved relating to the characters and seeing how a family lived and went about their daily lives. Suad Nasr, we miss you, may your soul rest in peace.
5- Lan A3eesh Fi Gelbab Aby
Lan A3eesh Fi Gelbab Aby, starring the Egyptian queens Manal Salama and Abla Kamel, is an absolute meme bank. Without this TV series, we wouldn’t have the iconic account of Fadeli Ekte2aba Wahda Waftah Mak2aba (you’re welcome). It’s one of the most iconic social drama series to ever be produced from the region. Detailing the story of a family making its way from the very bottom of the socioeconomic food chain to the top of it, with all the experiences, changing family dynamics, learned behaviors, differing social value, and other cultural changes that come with. Nour El Sherif and Abla Kamel truly delivered a masterpiece.
6- Ahl Cairo
Ahl Cairo is a sociopolitical drama that zooms in on the lives of high society Cairenes in the early 2000s. It portrays the time when Egyptians really had enough of corruption going underrepresented and all the upperclassmen’s dirty laundry is aired. It’s insightful, especially if you’re curious about where exactly the social, economic, and cultural gap originated. If you haven’t watched it already, what are you waiting for? PS, it stars all your favorites: Khaled El Sawi, Kinda Alloush, Rania Youssef, Ahmed Wafik, and more.
7- Abwab Al Khof
Abwab Al-Khof was one of the first – if not the first – Egyptian horror series, released in 2009. By starting the first episode, you were in for a hefty and heavy ride: we follow a young reporter, Adam Yaseen, who has a profound interest in the underground world of magic, witchcraft, spirituality, and finding ‘the truth’. This series is solely starring Amr Waked with repeat appearances for Reham Ayman and Bayoumy Fouad, with guest stars appearing in each episode (one of which is an extremely young and adorable Amina Khalil).
8- Sharbat Loz
Sharbat is a working class woman who works for a mega-designer with a big family. When she’s caught wearing his most prized dress for an upcoming shoot, he punishes her by sitting her with him for days on end to manually hand-sew another. Unfortunately for his family, he falls in love with her, marries her, and dies – leaving his extremely successful company in her name. Follow their adventures as both her family and his collide over a classic Egyptian struggle for mirath. This series was a mix of a bunch of new faces (now stars) and stars (who are now icons): Amina Khalil, Saba Mubarak, Edward, Tamer Hagras, Yara Gobran, Mohammed Sallam, Mohammed Adel, Nessrin Ameen, Injy El Mokaddem, Mohammed Shaheen, Farrag, and Reham Haggag (yes wow). While also being held up by superstars Samir Ghanem, Yousra, and Ragaa El Gedawy.
9- El Kebeer
El-Kebeer is this one comedy that had most of the Egyptian youth watched every night, every Ramadan. Ahmed Mekky (an autograph, please?) and Donia Samir Ghanem: an iconic duo. We lived for the Johnny and Kebeer scenes. Honestly, nothing trumps the first two seasons, we could watch those on repeat forever. That’s one mosalsal theme song we could never forget.
10- Ragel w Set Settat
I grew up with this series. As a woman who lives in a female dominant household, I found this pretty funny and somewhat relatable. They grew on me saraha, so I kept going all through the seasons, and loved seeing el takadom fel editing beta3 the theme song, I felt proud not gonna lie. Be sure to check it out, it’s Ashraf Abd Elbakki ya3ni, the skits between all the members, both individually and collectively, were everything: Entesar, Noha Abu Ouf, BABY Menna Arafa, Leqaa ElKhamisi.
That’s a wrap for part one! To say that we’re drowning in nostalgia would be an understatement. Picture this – a rewatch with a bucket of ice-cream and teta’s cake with a mug of sahlab in this weather. Ugh. Here you go: an ideal plan for your mid-year vacation. Enjoy.