Vile TV is currently showing an absolutely fantastic soap opera from two years back called Friska, a Dynasty type extravaganza following the fortunes of two rival families over the course of fifty years which has got me enthralled. It’s got some brilliant acting, terrific music and wicked story lines and – even better – it uses the same actors for the main roles, meaning that we watch a 50 year old man ‘mature’ over the span of half a century into a 50 year old man. All the classic markers of age are rolled out including: pigtails to indicate youth (on a middle aged woman), jumpers swung over shoulders and petulance to indicate youth (on a middle aged man) and very high waisted men’s swimming trunks to indicate the Nasser years. The best thing about is its use of documentary footage of Nasser abdicating, and Sadat in the Knesset and old newspaper headlines from the era: it’s like a fun history lesson.
This being Vile TV, the second best thing about it are the subtitles which are as entertaining as the soap opera, mostly because the translators seem to use a dictionary of 1950s American idioms for the more colourful language. I have been watching avidly and have thus far noted three corkers which I share with you here:
Actual dialogue: Fekra heyla!
Meaning: Great idea!
Vile TV translation: Hot dog!
Actual dialogue: Ya ibn el kalb!
Meaning: You son of a bitch!
Vile TV translation: You s.o.p!
Actual dialogue: [said to man very clearly asleep, mouth open and snoring] Enta saa7ey ya Riyad?
Meaning: Are you awake, Riyad?
Vile TV translation: Are you up, Riyad?