Indian TV shows are synonymous with cringe. It’s common knowledge that most (read, all) daily soaps and even comedy shows are deeply problematic, with hardly any sense poured into the plots. It’s all about weird ways to get kidnapped or hospitalized. At this point it’s not even funny, because we need to be concerned about the content that airs on national television, while our families watch them (and form opinions).
And here are all the things that are extremely wrong with these shows:
1. The preachy behavior.
Let’s just face it, we’ve got enough people telling us about “ideal living” and we do not need speeches from so-called ‘perfect’ characters talking about parampara, pratishtha, anushasan and whatnot. But, almost all Indian TV shows have a certain obsession with preachy monologues. We just need to see normal people, who are flawed and makes mistakes every once in a while.
2. Female characters whose roles are confined to being mothers and wives.
For the longest time, the only job that most TV shows had for women was to take care of the kitchen and the diya (so it doesn’t extinguish). While some shows have now ‘tried’ giving careers to female characters, they do not really know how to incorporate into storylines. So, these women have jobs which we hear about like once or twice in months, and that’s that.
3. They treat sex as a taboo subject.
Of course, our society treats sex or any form of physical intimacy, for that matter, as taboo. So, it’s not only TV shows that are to be blamed, but they do normalize the ideology. A lot of them blatantly establish that sex is an ‘activity’ for when you’re married. And there’s so much shame to it, even THAT seems awkward. All of this misinformation, when we’re in dire need of sex-positive content.
4. Treating young adults as spoilt, ignorant ‘props’.
Most of these shows use teenagers and even young adults as fillers in the family, with hardly any character or story-arc. Every once in a while, if they do give some nuance to their characters, to get ‘creative’, it’s made about how ignorant and lost they’re. For instance, the much celebrated TV show Anupamaa, recently added a story arc which revolved around Anupamaa’s daughter developing feelings for someone. And like any daily soap, they made a big deal about it, making it sound like an offence.
5. A stretched plot.
I’ve seen pregnancies last for more than a year on these TV shows. They not only exaggerate the plot but also how it’s presented. I mean, we could be watching these shows after a month’s break, and we’d still catch-up with everything that happened during the time. It’s because there’s hardly any substance, and everything is usually so predictable, and all they do is spend time on the reactions that make up for half of the episode.
6. Terrible, terrible sound and visual effects.
We’ve literally heard the same ‘dhum tana nana’ for years now, and it’s going to last for generations to come. All these sound and visual effects are so bad, that it’s impossible to take any of it seriously. And probably, the people working on them are not the problem. Because, it’s exhausting to deliver something good, when the show is shot and aired for 6 out of the 7 days of the week.
7. Patronizing father figures.
It’s usually the baujis and pitajis in daily soaps who are assigned power, solely based on their age. If not them, there are older brothers or father figures who are constantly teaching others about morals and ethics, when they don’t have any. All these family set-ups rely on every decision that they come up with, even if it doesn’t make sense. And of course, these characters are extremely condescending – you know, the entire ‘men don’t show emotions’ theme.
8. Problematic sense of humour.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, the epitome of family-comedy. And since THIS is the epitome of a genre in India, we keep getting similar shows that depend on insensitive one-liners for humour. It all comes down to body-shaming or sexist jokes instead of focusing on smart humour that is not insensitive.
9. Constant glorification of motherhood.
Giving birth or raising a child takes a lot out of a person, and this is coming from someone who has only seen it happening with other women. The amount of exhaustion, pressure and sacrifice that comes with being a mother is something we can’t comprehend. But, time and again (in almost all episodes), these shows glorify motherhood as the ultimate goal, like mothers can’t be flawed or have a life of their own. And talking about it as a choice is not even considered.
10. There’s no end to them.
There’s literally no end. I know about shows that started when I was in school and still exist after I’ve graduated and have a job. And no, it’s not because they’re amazing, they’re just repetitive and cringey with the same conflicts every other month.
Why are we still watching them?