Ana Ayza Atgawez: Desperation disguised as humor

“Ana Ayza Atgawez” (I Want to Get Married), starring actress Hend Sabry, has been a major disappointment for most TV viewers this Ramadan. For ten days now, the young actress has been the perfect portrait of overacting and exaggeration.

“The acting is so bad that sometimes I feel she is miming not acting,” says Yasmine Ihab, a housewife. Many audience members, particularly girls, were excited for the long-awaited sitcom, which has, unfortunately, been nothing but a flop for some. Ahmed, an engineer, stated that it only took him a couple of episodes to stop watching altogether. “It felt so desperate, as if the actors are trying too hard to make us laugh and failing at every attempt,” he said.

Overacting is not the only problem in “Ayza Atgawez.” The story is another problem.

In 2008, “Ayza Atgawez” started out as a humorous blog whose main topic was the writer’s endless quest to find a suitable husband. It soon became a best-selling novel, now in its seventh edition.

Because it touched upon a sensitive and highly debatable topic in Egyptian society, the book became rather popular among the young generation. But the sarcastic tone fails to hide the desperation to find a husband, which to some female readers was quite offensive. Narrowing down one’s utmost dreams to a white dress and a wedding band raises all sort of questions about women’s rights and how most of us perceive ourselves.

As an admirer of Sabri and director Rami Emam’s work, I thought they would do more with the story they were given. The book is a collection of small scenes that first appeared on a blog. There is no depth, no coherence, and no substance, and the TV version is not any better.

The story needed more work from the writer and the director. Right now it is simply a mere duplication of a majorly overrated book. “I found the book extremely tacky and desperate but the sitcom is a little better, the best of the worst this year,” says Danny, a Ramadan-TV devotee.

“I hated the book from the first few pages but I decided to finish it nonetheless to see what she has to say, and it was nothing,” says Amina, a journalist. She also added that she, as a woman, found the book very degrading and understood nothing of the humor planted within, if there is any.  

What makes it even worse is actress Sawsan Badr’s support of Hend Sabri in her overacting. The two compose a perfectly fake duet of exaggeration. “The sitcom is supposedly funny, but at times I find it extremely depressing,” says Sara, another formerly hopeful viewer. “It makes my stomach turn that there are still women like that,” she adds.

“The only thing I like about this sitcom is the photography, which seems like a general trait this Ramadan, as most series now are shot in a cinematic way,” says Amira, speaking of the popular technique of using one camera and special lighting. She adds that guest actors sometimes make it a bit more interesting and that she is looking forward to Ahmed al-Sakka’s episode.

Up to now “Ayza Atgawez” is a disappointment for fans of Hend Sabri.  But her overacting matches the original book, which was just as overrated.

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