Egyptian comedy with political innuendo is a hit on YouTube
CAIRO - Egyptian comedy series “In Our House, Robot” (“Fi Baytena Robot”) currently shown on YouTube, has attracted nearly one million views.
The series’ plot revolves around talented engineer “Youssef” (Hesham Gamal) who owns a technology company he founded with two classmates after graduating from university.
Thanks to his genius, Youssef is able to transform his company into a huge project with a promising future. He invents two robots that are constantly exposed to operational defects and disruptions that put anyone who interacts with them in odd situations.
The series, written by Ahmad Mohi and Ahmed al-Mohammadawi and directed by Walid al-Halafawi, maintains a constant theme: the differences between the world of humans and robots and the latter’s inability to understand human beings’ erratic character and behaviour, such as lying, deceit, hypocrisy and inconsistent thought.
The director chose actors Amr Wahba and Shaima Saif to play the roles of robots Lathith and Zumba.
The work highlights the limits of young people’s attempts to make a quick profit without exerting effort or planning well for the future.
Through the actions of Youssef and his wife Sarah (Layla Ahmed Zaher), all of the the earnings of Youssef’s company are wasted and he has to borrow money. Under the illusion that his profit will grow in the future, he then spends lavishly on a luxurious palace and expensive furnishings and equipment. Instead, however, his wife embarks on a series of failed projects.
The work is not without light political innuendo. One of the characters, Malak Fahmy (guest star Nahed El Sebai) plays the role of a human rights activist whose car collides with Zumba, which she does not realise is a machine. So, she is surprised that she cannot take it to the hospital.
During another scene when she sees robot Lathith being re-charged with electricity, she assumes he is being tortured. Likewise, the idea of intermediaries (who ensure services in exchange for money) prevails in government institutions, like when two personal identification cards are issued for the robots despite the absence of official papers vouching for them.
But the series tends to present women in a negative light. Youssef’s wife, for example, is portrayed as a naive person who thinks a robot is just a container for a modern music player and causes the machines to stop functioning because of her illogical requests.
There is solid comedic mateiral in Youssef and Lathith’s relationship with the company secretary, who constantly seeks a man she can marry, even if it is a robot that does not understand her constant harassment.