Iranian exiles have launched Iran's own version of the British satire program Spitting Image, whose Israeli version – Hartzufim – also enjoyed major popularity until it went off the air 12 years ago.
The show, Shabake Nim (A channel and a half), which was screened on Iranian television for eight weeks and whose season final was broadcast Friday night, poked fun at outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as the country's infamous public hangings.
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The show stars foam puppets shaped like senior Iranian politicians and religious figures taking part in satirical sketches.
According to the British Times, the show is not broadcast from Iran, but is rather picked up by Iranian citizens through their personal satellite dishes. The show's creators live in London, thus sparing them the legal, and possibly lethal, implications of their at times proactive work.
In one sketch, the Times reported, the show criticized Iran's public executions. In the clip, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, head of the Iranian judicial system, can be seen giving an interview to Iranian TV and pitching the idea of a legal-entertainment channel which will show "executions and all the other forms of physical punishment we all love."
Larijani also offers viewers bored with banal executions to pay for additional materials, "the cherry on top" of the classical hangings as he calls it, in the form of documented decapitations from Saudi Arabia.
Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also been featured on the show and received no small number of jabs.
In a sketch called "Mahmoud's going away party" (see video) religious figures, as well as senior political and army officials, can be seen dancing and rapping in a club.
Shabake Nim has become a must see, water-cooler show for Iranians, the Times reported. However, the show has also achieved no small number of detractors which have a hard time with its liberal streak.
After the show was first aired, the broadcaster's website was flooded with complains, however, over time, their number has decreased.
Absent from the show were two prominent Iranian figures, incoming president Hassan Rohani and Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
According to the British paper, Rohani's absence is explained by the fact that the show was filmed before his surprising election.
However, the reason for Khamenei's absence is far more peculiar – producers failed to secure someone to give his voice for the Supreme Leader's foam likeness. At first, the show's creator attempted to dub Khamenei himself with the use of a Darth Vader voice effect, but over time the idea was dumped.
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