Satellite TV in Jordan, I discovered on my recent trip there, is a chaotic pleasure. When my American friends talk about watching it, taxiing home after a long day, there’s a little dread mixed with the hope of going into the kind of coma that only television can put one. The standard satellite setup, dauntingly, has more than 500 channels shooting out their signals in languages from all over the world. Finding something conventionally decent to watch is next to impossible for all but the practiced viewer. When you find your way around, you can preset your favorite stations and forget all the rest. But for those of us doomed to the full variety, the Jordanian boob tube becomes an obligatory tour of the human universe.

When all you want is Friends (or even its Arabic equivalent), prepare to weed through Italian soaps, Iranian talk shows, the Pentagon channel, Egyptian… More…