Tahir's House

Tahir's House

TV-14

A modest Saudi comedy that's ultimately more thoughtful than it is funny

6.1

TV Show

Saudi Arabia
Arabic
Comedy, Drama
2023
Alhashmi Alfaisal, Joud Alsufyani, Mohammed Alfarra

TLDR

The faces and cultures may change, but the prison of capitalism stays the same, baby.

What it's about

A family in Saudi Arabia tries to balance everyone's personal desires as they struggle to save their fish shop.

The take

As the first Saudi series created by Netflix, Tahir's House often feels like it's playing it safe, as if not to step anywhere out of line. This leads to generally tepid results for the show's comedy; despite music cues and the actors' line delivery implying that what we're watching is meant to be comedic, the jokes are only mildly amusing at best. But even as the series relies too much on characters commenting on disagreements and misunderstandings (rather than making the situations funny themselves), it still provides an interesting peek into the dynamics of an ordinary Saudi family tied to a common business. There are generational, class, and gender differences aplenty here, illustrating how even the most ordinary decisions are always tied to matters of faith, culture, and money.

What stands out

The most interesting subplot in Tahir's House (at least within the first two episodes watched for this review) is that of protagonist Youssef's best friend Karim (Mohammed Al-Farra) trying to rebuff the innocent advances of wealthier fashion designer Leen (Rand Algosaibi). What could've been an unequal dynamic with the woman portrayed as annoying or offensively non-traditional becomes kind of cute. There's obviously a significant cultural difference between the two, seen in the way that Leen speaks in English much more often, but years of watching romcoms will tell anyone not to ignore the potential between two people who don't seem to be connecting at first, but have to spend so much time near each other.

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