Mosalsalat Turki: The Turkish Soap Operas that Mesmerized the Arab World
By: Nevin Girgis/ Arab America Contributing Writer
Something found in every Arab household is the common obsession with Turkish Soap Operas, otherwise known as ‘Mosalsalat Turki’. ‘Mosalsalat Turki’ are notorious for portraying dramatic storylines with the most visually appealing actors and actresses. Popularized in the Arab world, Turkish series become dubbed to Modern Standard Arabic for comprehension from all Arabic speaking countries. The series illustrate the exciting genres of: romance, comedy, and history all in the most dramatic ways possible, of course. A phrase frequently said in Arab households is “you’re a Turkish soap opera”, which is when someone is overly dramatic. Arab mom’s sit in front of their televisions with a plate of seeds to wait for the release of new episodes. The fascination with Turkish Soap Operas has grown to be apart of Arab culture.
Prominent Series in the Arab World
Gümüş (2005-2007) is a 3 season series popularly known in the Arab world as ‘Mohaned we Nour’: the names of the two main characters. This series is one of the first to take over the Arab world. Every Arab has heard of Mohaned and Nour’s love story, even storeowners sold candy with their faces on them. Gümüş follows the sensational chase from both Mohaned and Nour at their attempt to infatuate the other, at different points in their relationship. Ultimately, their love strengthens and grows to be unbreakable. Quickly, Arabs became obsessed with the back and forth between Mohaned and Nour and the guessing game of ‘will they’ or won’t they’? Many began to recreate scenes of Mohaned and Nour to attempt to play out their love story.
‘الطائر المبكر’ or Erkenci Kuş (2018- 2019) is a 2 season gateway series for many new Turkish series viewers. In brief, this romantic comedy series follows the lives of Sanem and Can who, in theory, are near perfect for one another, but life slightly complicates the process. Sanem is the funny, witty intern. While Can is the serious, jealous but talented and creative boss. Can is mesmerized by Sanem’s scent which creates intense attraction between the two. The leads create the most dynamic and alluring love that invites viewers to maintain their interest in the series. Their relationship endures many obstacles, due to lies, family drama, financial differences, and more, nevertheless, their love overpowers all and they find love and security in one another. Accordingly, the story of Sanem and Can allows viewers to witness the magic of love of an unexpected couple.
‘زهرة الثالوث’ or Hercai (2019-2021) is another 2 season series that had Arabs extremely engaged . This series is about Miran who has been lied to by his family and is convinced to take revenge on the innocent Reyyan, who has also been lied to by her family. Miran marries Reyyan only to leave her the next day, humiliating her and her family in order to avenge his. As their story together continues, they both discover the lies of their families but can’t help but fall in love with one another more and more as the days go by. This series takes drama and revelations of hidden secrets to another level.
The real question is why have Turkish Soap Operas taken over most Arab households? Why have Arabs put foreign series’ as a high source of entertainment? Simply put, Arabs love watching dramatic shows and sitting with their seeds and peanuts to view the bewitching episodes. Despite the ridiculousness, still they are entertaining, enticing, and have amazing unforeseen plot twists. Dubbing has made it easier for Arabs to watch their favorite series without having to learn a new language. Even though a single episode of a Turkish series is 2.5 hours, many will insist on watching the episode in one sitting, maybe even more than one. Mosalsalat Turki are now essential to most Arab households and Arab culture as a whole.
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