7elwa El-Donia Sokar Review: Is Versatility Always Key?


Admit it. You never thought we’d be this close to Ramadan with the Egyptian Off-Season TV shows still going and making rounds. Honestly, as uncanny as this is, we can’t help but be happy that TV is alive and well year-round.

The latest in the string of new TV shows, 7elwa El-Donia Sokar is an interesting concept that mainly stars Hannah El-Zahed — and since we’ve seen it, it’s time we talked.

Plot and Concept

The concept of 7elwa El-Donia Sokar isn’t new to us. In fact, a lot of us remember a similar endeavor in Donia Samir Ghanem’s Badal El-7adota Talata. But El-Zahed’s show is shaping up to include more stories that will supposedly take on every female archetype we’ve heard of.

In the first story, the show tells us about Sandy, a mousy, sheltered young woman, and how she overcomes her fears as well as falling in love with a magician, Shady.

We follow Sandy’s interesting adventures as they begin with her dreams of performing at her circus and gradually show us how she gets brave after hearing the voice of her dead grandfather. Naturally, hilarity and many conversations about being sheltered and personal growth ensue.

Characters

When we meet Sandy, she’s timid. Actually that’s generous. She’s anxious and terrified. But then she becomes more spontaneous and takes risks that help her do what she wants to do. As this happens, Sandy doesn’t quite let go of her nervousness, which makes her gradual change more realistic.

Another main character is Boy of the Week, Shady, who’s in love with Sandy yet unable to really talk to her because of her nature. So, he decides to push Sandy out of her shell with some questionable methods we’ll get into later.

The best thing about the characters, supporting and otherwise, is that they’re kooky enough to fit the show’s comedy but they never diminish how they genuinely care for each other. Whether that’s due to cast chemistry or otherwise, it’s important to see.

What Went Wrong

So, here’s the thing. As much as stories of female characters shedding their comfort zones and the shackles of being too sheltered will never bore us, we really wish this story used a different direction.

Yes, the whole dead-grandpa-coming-back-to-terrorize-you-into-following-your-dreams schtick is refreshing but the fact that it turns out it was a ruse by Shady gives it a bad taste. He basically lied for the entirety of the show.

And not only that, Shady also got Sandy’s entire family to lie to her and play along. And then they collectively had the audacity to be upset that Sandy felt cheated and betrayed. For lack of better words, that just sucks.

In the lens of the show, this is supposed to be sweet but strip this of the cutesy factor and you’ll see it for what it is: A man broke into the car of a woman he doesn’t know to prank her into getting out of her shell because he cares about her and loves her.

Honestly, it reads a little too close to “Joe Goldberg from You” behavior. And if you imagine the show with a different soundtrack, that will be even more obvious. Whatever the case, we just hope that this week’s story gives us different conflicts that don’t involve potential stalking.

Our verdict: fun but not too serious.

So what do you think? Will this be a chance to explore different new stories or will it be a you-did-your-best sort of thing?





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