The Bomb Guys: Saudi sitcom faces axe over 'lewdness'

The Bomb Guys: Saudi sitcom faces axe over 'lewdness'
A popular Saudi sitcom that has garnered an audience of millions is now facing the axe over scenes deemed too obscene for the ultaconservative Muslim kingdom.
2 min read
15 Jun, 2017
The show's silly humour may have broken some taboos in Saudi Arabia [Youtube/Rotana TV]
A popular Saudi sitcom is facing the axe after screening scenes deemed "too obscene" for the ultaconservative Muslim kingdom.

Shabab al-Bomb ("The Bomb Guys)" is a youth comedy screened by Rotana TV during Ramadan, which is now into its sixth season.

It has garnered millions of fans - including on YouTube - but Saudi Arabia's minister of culture is not impressed.

Dr. Awad bin Saleh, the kingdom's minister who oversees media affairs, sent an official warning to Rotana TV over "offensive and inappropriate scenes" in the show, reported al-Arabiya on Wednesday.

The minister warned the show may be completely taken off the air if the scenes in question - which he did not specify - are not deleted.

He also issued other demands in a official warning sent to the channel's management and said the programme could be dropped if these conditions are not met.

The minister, said the report, vowed there would be strict measures against all media outlets showing scenes containing "religious or moral violations, offensive statements or inappropriate content" on television.

It is not clear which scenes have caused the fresh controversy. According to some Saudis on social media, however, the show may have offended some sensitive viewers with its comic brand of tackling issues considered very much taboo in the kingdom, such as dating and harrassment, as well as casual sexual references.

In one of these scenes, a middle-aged male actor emerges half-naked from a shower in front of a woman. In another, a bare-faced actress has a quick exchange with a swooning young man, before giving him her phone number.

While audiences elsewhere may not even bat an eyelid at such themes, many in Saudi Arabia find them offensive and contradictory to traditions, evident from comments on Twitter in support of the minister's warning with the trending Arabic hashtag (Ban the Bomb Guys)

However, thanks to teenagers and young Saudis, the main demographic of the show, The Bomb Guys seems to have topped the ratings for most watched show this Ramadan in Saudi Arabia, attracting major sponsors including the country's telecoms giant STC.

Ramadan, the holy Muslim fasting month, is a month for prime television production.