Ruby Episode 2 Review: The Power of Performance

Originally published on Facebook on 26 February, 2012 at 13:08 PM:

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Heba Bsat – Starting yesterday, MBC4, LBCI and the Egyptian channel CBC started airing the MBC-produced Ruby starring Lebanese stars like Cyrine Abdelnour, Diamond Abou Aboud, Pierette Katrib, Taqla Shamoun, Fadi Ebrahim and many others alongside an ensemble of Arab actors led by Amir Karara and Maxim Khalil. This Arab series, based on the critically and publicly acclaimed Mexican telenovela with the same name, is the story of a poor girl, Ruby, who just doesn’t want to be poor anymore. And for once in our Arab drama, the lead character is no protagonist. She’s actually a villain. And that’s the first half of why I’m excited about this new series. It’s different. It doesn’t center around a hero; it centers around an anti-hero.

The second half? The first episode. It blew me away. The script written so freely and smoothly by the wonderful Claudia Marchelian transcended cultures. She was able to transform a Mexican telenovela into a Lebanese one so ideally. And that was obvious through the dialogue. It didn’t feel forced. It didn’t feel fake. It was amazingly genuine – especially the chats between Cherine & Ruby.

Ruby: “Fete7 msn?”

Cherine: “Eh bas 7atet away.”

I LOVED that. Claudia Marchelian didn’t just pretend to understand the Lebanese and Arab youth, she actually did. I’m sure that required a lot of research, so kudos to her as always. And as per usual, the issues she’s presenting from our Lebanese society are spot on. I love that about her.

“Youm ba3ed youm 3am bekteshef eno l fa2ir wel m3atar ma be7e2ello ye7lam.” – Ruby


As for the performances? INCREDIBLE! Lately, Lebanese series are presenting great leading performances but are failing to cast the right actors in the supporting ones. And judging by the first episode, Ruby does not have that problem at all. All of the performances, even those by extras saying one lines only, were believable – very believable.

Cyrine Abdelnour’s character, Ruby, reminded me of her first leading character in a Lebanese series: Lana in Ebnaty. She was this rebellious young girl who didn’t care about anything but herself. But we ended up rooting for her and becoming fans of Cyrine Abdelnour BECAUSE of her. So I actually like Ruby, and I think we all will even when she turns out to be the antagonist of the series.

The shining performances in the first episode, however, were the courtesy of three wonderful Lebanese actresses: Pierette Katrib, Diamond Abou Aboud, and Taqla Shamoun. They were able to get our sympathy and yet put a smile on our faces with their hope and determination for a better life. I, honestly, never liked Diamond before because her characters were always mopey and melodramatic, but Cherine, her character in Ruby, seems different. She’s holding on for dear life. And I like that about her. And as for Pierette’s character, I have a feeling by end of the series, she’s going to everyone’s favorite – the star of the show.

We didn’t get to see much of the Arab side of the series yet. There were only a few scenes with Amir Karara and no scenes at all with Maxim Khalil, so if there’s anything I’m looking forward to in the next episodes is getting to watch those two kick ass because, let’s face it, they will.

Bottom line? I’m so gonna watch this series five days a week. It’s gonna be worth it; I can tell.


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