Ramez Gab Min El Akher review: Is Ramez Galal's new Ramadan prank series out of ideas?

The Egyptian comedian is back with new Ramadan show Ramez Gab Min El Akher

The Egyptian comedian Ramez Galal is one of the Arab world's most notorious television pranksters. Courtesy: MBC
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What are new ways to terrorise celebrities after doing it well for a decade?

Let them escape a burning building? Check.

Simulate an attack by a wild bear in the freezing forest in Russia? No problem.

These are the kind of perennial questions Ramez Galal faces with each season of his popular Ramadan series.

As one of the Arab world’s most notorious television pranksters, Galal’s shows are renowned for pushing the envelope when it comes to fraying the nerves of unsuspecting guests with brilliantly executed and at times cruel setups.

While the series is a ratings juggernaut for broadcaster MBC, it arguably reached its peak in 2020 with Ramez Majnun Rasmi.

The show brought to mind one pressing question: Who thought that strapping celebrities into a gyrating chair and flailing them around the set, before introducing them to a fake snake and dunking them in a pool of crabs, was funny?

An Egyptian hospital even went as far as sending a public notice advising the young and vulnerable to avoid the show hours after the season premiere.

While the effect of the backlash at the time is unclear, follow-up seasons relatively dialled down the shock factor in favour of more adrenaline-fuelled pranks.

In 2022’s Ramez Movie Star, unsuspecting actors were lured into filming an action sequence with Jean-Claude Van Damme, while in Ramez Aqlahu Tar, they were stuck mid-air due to a malfunctioning ride in a theme park.

Judging by the first two episodes of the latest season, titled Ramez Gab Min El Akher, and airing nightly on MBC streaming platform Shahid, Galal may have exhausted the format.

The set-up is convoluted and the thrill factor is missing.

Shot in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh, each episode has a pair of high profile guests – mostly Egyptian actors and athletes – arriving at a television studio to appear in what they thought was Galal’s new talk show.

Things go almost immediately awry, however, when their changing rooms unsuspectingly lead to an obstacle course through a trapdoor.

Under the instructions of Galal, who is hovering above on a platform, the duo must get through challenges that include escaping a growling dog and jumping into a range of ponds.

Judging by the first two episodes, it is not so much the shock reactions of the celebrities involved that is this season’s calling card.

Ramez Gab Min El Akher

Creator: Ramez Galal

Starring: Ramez Galal

Streaming on: MBC Shahid

Rating: 2.5/5

Instead, it is the banter between them as they negotiate the obstacles presented.

Bassem Samra and Ahmed El Sakka, who star in the Ramadan crime caper series Al Atwala, have the kind of winning chemistry perfect for a buddy-cop film.

Mai Omar and Nagla Bader, starring in the dramas Ne'mat El Avvocato and Embratoreyet Meem, are also good value with the latter's dry wit gelling with Omar's increasing aggravation.

Let’s hope future guests have the same appeal, because the action itself is derivative with no big surprises to be found.

While it remains to be seen if Ramez Gab Min El Akher will pick up steam during the month, the series is already doing its job by trending on X, formerly known as Twitter, in Egypt each evening.

This will probably ensure the programme will continue to become a mainstay of Ramadan television for years to come, for better or worse.

Episodes of Ramez Gab Min El Akher can be streamed on Shahid

Updated: March 13, 2024, 2:21 PM
Ramez Gab Min El Akher

Creator: Ramez Galal

Starring: Ramez Galal

Streaming on: MBC Shahid

Rating: 2.5/5