As an avid viewer and supporter of Lebanese TV series, I've come to realize that while some programs are working on transforming the way we watch television with imaginative story lines, provocative plot development and creative characters, others have totally missed the mark.

Here's five common characteristics that make Lebanese TV series suck:

1. Unrealistic Commentary

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This might be the most common mistake Lebanese scriptwriters make. Marwan Najjar can go ahead and sue me for this, but I have to say it: his work is the number one best example of unrealistic conversations in TV series. So, for instance, instead of having a character just say: "I hate your guts," we have to suffer through lines like, "I despise the fact that you're still here, my dear."

Watch this clip from the show "Men Ahla Byout Ras Beirut," where a would-be rapist says to his potential victim, "enough acting cute, get me there already!" (which is just a roundabout way of saying: "I want to fuck you now.") To get out of the situation, the girl literally says: "Give me two minutes, I'll be there, the way you want, and ready." Really, who talks like that? Answer: no one.

2. Overacting

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This depends more on the actors themselves than on the series, but poorly-written scripts combined with amateur acting and the generally old-school theatrical approach (read: being excessively dramatic) to televisions series translates into bad things.

Watch this epic example from the show, "Ghareeba" to demonstrate how overacting can be sometimes be funny (and sad) as hell. Actor Ammar Chalak is outraged by his wife's revelations that she is not in fact his real wife [who actually died in a horrific plane crash] and just wants her to stop talking because he feels hurt and misled. Waving both his hands erratically, turning in every direction and saying, "shut up" repeatedly, I really have to wonder: "Dear Ammar Chalak, is this really how you tell someone to shut up on a regular basis?"

3.The Supporting Cast

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When some Lebanese series turn into total fiascoes and offer up unintentionally laughable material, you've got to wonder who the hell casts these people. After the big names are plugged into the show for obvious reasons, it's common practice to just throw in supporting cast members arbitrarily because they don't come with an expensive pay scale.

Watch this clip from the show, "Wouroud Moumazzaka," as actor Fadi Ibrahim struggles (almost awkwardly) to pull any kind of emotions out of his colleague. A casual talk between two men who are supposedly happy their boss just survived an attack instead seems like two students reciting their homework. No change in tone, no facial expressions, nothing.

4. Soundtrack and Filler Music

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I've never been able to shed a legitimate emotional tear while watching a Lebanese TV show. You know why? The music, that's why.

Here's an epic example in the show, "Zikra," in which the music is paired with a scene depicting a young gold digger's resentment toward her rich, old boyfriend. The scene transitions to another scenario in which a perverted husband reaches to touch another woman's thigh while he's at the movie theater with his wife. The same three notes keep going on for ages. Why. Why. Why.

5. Stereotypical Characters

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The drunk is delusional, the teenager is a "rock star," the guitar player is Satan's worshiper, the hooker is a loud, obnoxious woman, the disabled guy is retarded, the list goes on. They are always one-dimensional, vapid characters with no real complexity or personality beyond the stereotypical behaviors assumed by the script writer.

In this episode from the show, "Ajyal," with Chaheed's wife, an HIV-positive drug addict and one of Satan's worshipers (yep, the full package), you can get a glimpse of how character stereotyping works. Chaheed takes his cousin and her friend to one of the Satan worshiper's meetings where they meet Foxy, the "boss" of the community, complete with tattoos, a nose piercing, clad in black clothing, and of course, talking about killing babies as a sacrifice to the devil. Epic.


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