Thursday, 16 February 2012

Indian Soaps Annoy Me

I know what you're thinking.

Well actually I don't ... however as part of writing the book, I made myself watch a number of Indian soaps. Yes I have made fun of them over the years, but this time I really needed to watch them in order to make my soap in my story as (and I use this word loosely) 'realistic' as possible.

When I was ill earlier this year, I watched them to (loosely using the word again) 'entertain' myself. I have some real bug bears about them. I shall burden you all with my annoyances. I actually wrote this when I was ill and cut off from the outside world (internet included), so some of the storylines are rather dated. So now I present to you.

The Things that Irritate me the most about Indian serials...

Smothering mothers. Mothers who think they always know what’s best – sometimes at the expense of their families. When their offspring (I won't use the word children here, because some of these people are in their twenties and thirties) disagree with their parents they sulk until they get their way. If their children would have thrown a tantrum like that, then these parents probably would have given them a slap and told them to grow up, and that is what these smothering mothers need.
Another example. A woman reluctantly allowed her daughter to go to a friend's birthday party. While the girl was at the party, her mother followed her to the house, and waited outside in the car with her husband's brother (her husband was actually ok with letting the daughter go). She saw the flashing disco lights from outside, and the fact that someone was delivering alcohol. She went into the house, stopped the party and yelled at everyone for not having a wholesome time for this girl's birthday. She yelled at her daughter for dishonouring herself. In fact, the daughter had actually spent most of the time in the corner feeling akward, but so what if she wanted to dance and enjoy herself? It's that kind of parenting that leads to extreme rebellion. In my opinion, that smothering mother should have just trusted in her job as a parent that her daughter would have done the right thing and not drink if she didn't want to (she didn't by the way). But the idea that she had burst into someone's birthday, gave a lecture and dragged her daughter out of the house was just plain wrong.

That leads me on to the blatant sexism. There was a woman who was having a problem with her pregnancy that may have require a caesarean section, which is scary enough. Her mother-in-law refused to allow an operation, and her reason was that the pregnant daughter-in-law will not enjoy being a mother as much if she doesn’t go through the pain. That is bad enough, but as soon as her son, the father of the child, wants to put in his two cents on the matter, he is told by his mother and his aunt that these are ‘women’s matters’ and because of that he is not allowed to have an input in the decision making process. Those lines just made me so mad.  It's his child too, why is he not allowed to have an opinion?
This was just one example. Another time a woman was upset about what was going on with her son, and her husband was trying to comfort her. She told him that he wouldn’t understand loving a child because he is not a mother. It is such an old fashioned portrayal of family life, that a father is just an idiot and wouldn’t understand any emotion because he never carried a child. He is a human being, and therefore has the ability to sympathise and empathise.

Slow episodes. The dialogue is so long and drawn out that it just gets annoying. There was tension in one family and so everyone said quips to each other and then there are periods of staring at each other and suspenseful music. I watch the whole thing and, at the end of the half hour episode realise that the entire episode revolved around the family eating lunch. Zero progress.

Over-dressing. It is not unknown that the people in these shows dress like they are dressed for a wedding just to walk around the house. Maybe the producers are trying to make everything more glamorous, but when the women go to sleep in a sari, all their jewellery and a full face of make-up ... it is just wrong and uncomfortable. I can’t even walk up and down stairs in my Indian clothes without worrying about my outfit coming apart, how do they sleep for eight hours?

Sexual tension. Yes that exists. From watching Western programmes, even the most prude individual can have the attitude of ‘why can’t those characters just find a room and get it over and done with?’ There was a period of time with a guy and a girl who wanted to be with each other but wouldn’t admit it out loud because he was with someone else. Entire episodes revolved around putting them in some situation where they would have to have some kind of physical contact and then they would stare at each other for about 10 minutes. For example, she was hanging something up, slipped on the footstool and fell on top of him. Finally at some point they almost got together: he walked towards her and she was staring at him as she backed up towards the wall. He touched her face and slowly they were moving closer to each other and were about to kiss. Then her phone rang. How clich├ęd! They ended up realising they were being stupid and stopped. Since then, his live-in girlfriend (who lived in a separate floor of the house he shared with his family) has broken up with him after realising he doesn’t love her. This was the woman he proposed to, just to make the other girl jealous. People want them to get together? I just got fed up with their story. The guy is an idiot.

Those are my bug bears for this post. I am sure there are more, but this post is giving me a headache.

Those of you who made it to the end of the post without wanting to punch the computer screen ... congratulations. Have a cookie   =D


Sangu Mandanna said...

I think I watched an Indian soap once. With my grandmother when I was about ten. And all these things annoyed me then too! Funny how some stuff never changes :-)

Shallee said...

I've never seen an Indian soap, but I have seen Spanish soaps dubbed into English. So many of these things bothered me in those too! Though I tried to just laugh myself out of it because of the funny dubbed voices. :)