"Ahmed and Salim", a provocative animated web series that uses very dark humor to describe the life of the two sons of an Arab arch-terrorist, is becoming increasingly popular with surfers, while at same time stirring much controversy.
The series was created by two Israelis, Or Paz and Tom Trager, who define it as "a sitcom about terrorists." The two are responsible for all stages of the series' production, an impressive fact given the fact that both of them have full-time jobs: Trager is a journalist and graphic designer and Paz works as a video editor.
Very dark humor
Six four-minute episodes of "Ahmed and Salim" have already been uploaded to the internet. In addition to the series' website, the two cartoon terrorists also have their own Facebook accounts and a user's page on YouTube.
The series includes extreme scenes, which some viewers find offensive. In one of the episodes Ahmed falls in love with a Jewish girl, who in turn develops a crush on younger brother Salim. The brothers' concerned father resolves the conflict by shooting the girl dead.
In another episode, which was taken off YouTube following complaints by shocked surfers, the father dreams he has become a "stinking Jewish rabbi," and his sons do what they were taught to do when encountering a Jew and shoot him in the testicles.
Over half a million surfers have already watched the first episode, which went up in January, and yielded 3,000 responses from registered users. The other episodes boast lower, yet also impressive figures of 20,000 viewings in average.
Paz and Trager hope to eventually be able to turn the series into a television production, but admit that so far no one has made them an offer to this effect.
'We don't care if people are offended'
They are aware of the controversy that the series has prompted, and that even led to some death threats, but say they receive many supportive, positive responses as well.
It seems that the Arab world is taking a special interest in the comic show. Al-Jazeera has already run an item about it and Paz and Trager say that many articles, for and against the series, have been published in Arab and Muslim newspapers.
"Some came out against it (the series) saying that it spreads the racist stereotype, while others analyzed the episodes and explained they weren't racist," they related.
"We were recently interviewed for an Arab magazine, and they completely altered our answers in accordance with what they wanted to convey. We gave light, humoristic answers, because we really don't have anything better to say, and they completely turned it around and made us sound racist and egocentric," Trager said.
But, offended viewers or not, both of them vow to continue working on the series. "We don't really care… if people get hurt. Frankly it even makes us happy, because it means we did a good job," they concluded.