One last TV/ pop-sociology post, and then I’m done with the topic for a long, long time.
So lala-yuppie-hippie is one framework of classification which separates different shows on TV. But then there are shows which are 100% hippie. And then they sub-classify their characters using some different framework. For example Mind Your Language and it’s Indian ripoff Zabaan Sambhal Ke differentiated characters using national/ regional stereotypes.
These days my cousin and aunt fight over the remote. This is because my aunt wants to watch the aforementioned Radha ki Betiyaan yada yada while my cousin wants to watch Miley Jab Hum Tum, which is Both are on at the same time. What follows is an attempt to use words to describe the unspeakable horror of Miley Jab Hum Tum.
The unspeakable horror arises because the six main characters (three guys and three girls, of course) are built around stereotypes. This in itself is not a bad thing, but:
- There is zilch character development beyond the stereotypes
- The stereotypes are incredibly old and boring.
There are two different stereotype frameworks which have been used. The characters are students in college and are doing the incredibly hippie course Media Studies. (Must… resist… temptation… to sidetrack into the fascinating recursion of characters on television studying about television.)
So the three male leads have been stereotyped into playboy-nerd-dweeb.Playboy-nerd-dweeb was of course a wonderfully fresh and useful classification back in a) the 1960s b) America, when Archie Comics was at its peak. Considering that this classification doesn’t really exist in India, and that even in America teen demographics have split into goths, emos, geeks, and suchlike, why is it being used on Indian television?
The framework stereotypes used for the female leads are as stale, but at least the framework used here is Indian and not quite as old. The female leads have been split into rich bitch, behenji-turned-mod, and behenji. The rich bitch spends all her time trying to humiliate the behenji and behenji-turned-mod, who are sisters from Morena. (By the way, the Wikipedia entry on Morena is a hilarious rant on Tomar victimhood and the wickedness of Jats. In case it’s brought to a Neutral POV by the time you’re reading this, here’s the permalink to the current revision).
But yeah. So the entire premise of the serial is that people from small towns are uncool, people who’re interested in studies can’t dance, people who dance aren’t interested in studies, and that being an idiot is funny. This could of course have worked back in the 1980s, but the stereotypes are so old by now that there’s nothing left to do with them. Naturally, this makes the serial excellent junk/ comfort food for the brain.
Right, people, that closes my pontifications about TV, pseudosociological classifcations, and the like. We now return to our regular arbit fundaes.