Idol Chatter

granniesveils.jpgI learned something new today. Apparently, at least in Dubai, Ramadan is a time for more than daily prayer and fasting, it’s a holy time for television, too: “it is also the Middle Eastern equivalent of sweeps month,” according to Brian Stelter’s New York Times article, “Dubai Superheroes: Little Old Grannies Who Wear Veils,” which focuses on the show “Freej”–the first 3-D animated series to air in the United Arab Emirates, and what new shows (if any) are premiering this Ramadan season of sweeps, a season hit hard by difficult economic times.
Stelter writes that “Freej,” “finds humor along the dominant fault line of this city: the tension between old and new. Set in Dubai, where camel races are conducted mere miles from the base of the world’s tallest building, the series focuses on four secluded and sometimes stubborn grandmothers.”
To keep “Freej” afloat, there are plans to turn the show into a worldwide brand, and the show’s creator has been called “the Matt Groening and the Seth MacFarlane of the Middle East”:

“31-year-old Mohammed Saeed Harib, is now following a path well worn by the creators of “The Simpsons,” “South Park” and other influential cartoons. He is trying to expand “Freej” into a worldwide brand while maintaining its popularity here in Dubai, where viewers adore the four grandmothers who star in the 15-minute episodes…Sarah Al Jarman, the programming and acquisition manager for the English-language channel Dubai One, introduced a subtitled edition of “Freej” to give non-Arab viewers a glimpse at a locally created animated series. She said the episodes “actually reflect many local old ladies” in the Emirates, featuring their traditional dress, language and habits.”
Soon grannies in veils may be coming to a theater near you! I can’t wait.
Seth MacFarlane

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