The other Recep

So bad he's good

CultureSociety This article is part of the series Humour

The most popular Recep abroad is without a doubt Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. At home however, he might be challenged by his namesake, Recep Ivedik, a comic character created for a TV show by actor Şahan Gökbakar. Adapted for cinema, it became the biggest grossing film in Turkish cinematic history. From 2008 to 2010, three films starring Recep Ivedik were released; the first and second were the biggest films of 2008 and 2009 and are still at the top of the most-viewed films in Turkey, with more than 4 million viewers. The third one was slightly less successful; a fourth is due out on 12 February.

The main reason for the success is the character himself — and Gökbakar’s impressive acting. Turkish people in Turkey or abroad are already quite familiar with Recep Bey (Mr Recep), or rather Recep ağabey (brother Recep). Hilarious for most, he is at the same time harshly criticised as disgusting, obscene, uneducated and brutish. Recep is a typical anti-hero. Among his most frequent words are insult after insult — “pervert”, “retarded”, “pimp” — other times, he’s just roaring with thoughtless laughter.

Hilarious for most, he is at the same time harshly criticised as disgusting, obscene, uneducated and brutish.

Physically he is also repugnant: monobrowed, unshaven, big bellied, and hairy as a bear. In a dream sequence, he meets his late grandfather telling him: “You are just an animal!”. He is like a bull is a China shop. Recep is the caricature of a rude and traditional Turkish macho guy. The China shop is the new Turkey: the one of upper-middle urban classes, with its yoga courses, its embrace of international brands and new technologies, its leisure resorts, its fancy cafés. Recep is facing culture shock in his own country.

Recep is the caricature of a rude and traditional Turkish macho guy.

Though many Turks would claim that there are numerous Receps around, the character has a touching sensibility in his swearing and bad behaviour that makes him unique. He just never stops. Indeed, the films scripts are pretty weak and really just pretexts for the main character to play his role in a series of sketches. Mashallah News trawled the Ivedik trilogy for the 10 best Recep sketches. We hope they will make you laugh.

Top 10 Recep Ivedik Moments

1 At the Hairdresser’s

Recep is depressed; his relative Zeynep brings him to a fancy hairdresser who is to update his long unchanged haircut to a “metrosexual” and “avant-garde” one.

2 At the Karaambar Truck Drivers Association

Recep arrives at a restaurant to eat a plate of beans, but he first has to pass a challenging entry test to become a member of the truck drivers association that owns the place.

3 At the Theatre

In another attempt to rid Recep of his depression, Zeynep takes him to a theatre play. But he can not stop himself expressing loud comments — and even intervening directly in a tragic love scene

4 Aerobics at the 5-Star Hotel

Recep joins an aerobics course in order to flirt with a girl. He wears a leotard provided by the hotel.

5 The Fortune Teller

In Turkey, it is a tradition to read someone’s fortune (fal) in their coffee grounds. Recep is co-director at an advertisement company. While telling one of his employees their bad fortune, reading a plastic glass, he makes fun of her typical Istanbul high society accent: “You speak like a seal! What is this?”

6 Delivering a Pizza

After trying several jobs, Recep is working as a pizza delivery boy. Though he manages to perform the company’s promotional song, he tries to rip off a client.

7 At Starbucks

While waiting for the date he met online, Recep tries to order tea or traditional Turkish drinks but without success. After accepting the suggestion of the cashier for a macchiato, he refuses to give his real name to be written on the cup and gives instead his nickname “ayı one” (bear one).

8 Playing Okey

Okey is a very popular tile-based game in Turkey. Recep deploys a very strange trick to help his relative Zeynep win.

9 Buying a Computer

After entering an electronics shop, Recep tries to buy a laptop. Unhappy with the normal prices, he wants to bargain for a much lower one in typical bazaar style.

10 Scuba-Diving

While scuba-diving Recep loses his way under water and arrives on a beach where a small crew is shooting an erotic film.

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