Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The new time-pass entertainment

I recently discovered a really good enjoyable television show called "The closer". The beauty of seeing an old show(not 'old-old' but all seasons have been aired and the show has been completed) is that I can see an episode daily until I have seen them all! And I am seeing it on the internet with no ads interrupting me!! And when I manage to wrestle the laptop from my husband for a long enough time, I even see two or three episodes at a stretch...And that, my friend is pure  bliss.

I love this show for so many reasons. It is humorous and it is a crime show ....humor and crime are both a must for me.
The main protoganist is a woman!! And how rare is that !
I love the acting of everyone and the writing is really really good. The plots are good, the crimes seem realistic and the dynamics between the people is interesting...I especially like the one between Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson and Detective Sgt. David Gabriel. Platonic relationships are rarely seen in the western tv shows and maybe that is one reason I liked this.

I am not much of a music person but this is one show where I really sat up and noticed the music. I loved the music in this show...not only at the end when the credits roll but all through the hour. For the first time ever, I checked out who the music composer  for a tv series was  and discovered that  it is James S Levine for 'The Closer'.
After watching The closer, I started paying attention to  the music of other shows. In comparision, to The Closer,  the music for' Law and Order, SVU' is not pleasant especially when they do that loud dramatic sound when they begin some scene...........but then, maybe, the music was meant to be  harsh ... to make the viewer experience discomfort instead of  pleasure, associating the unplesant harsh music with the heniousness of the crime.

I now recall that  I had loved the music at the beginning and end of  many Indian and western shows(but not really noticed the music during the show) ...I think I loved the music of Malgudi days, Mriganayani, Buniyaad and disliked the music of Ramayana and Mahabharatha. I liked the music of shows like the Practice, Boston Legal, Republic of Doyle.....
I have seen at least a 100 different shows  and I cannot remember these shows names now... let alone their I forgetting or the music of these shows  are forgettable???

I am in the middle of the third season of The closer  and I  have several days of bliss to look forward to!
It's summer now and so  there are no new shows on  tv to fill in my evening hours....  the  new shows are aired  in fall and winter. At least, no new shows on the 6 channels on my tv...I dont have cable and I get these these 6 channels through an antenna.

The Closer  (and a million other such shows) should be seen by people living in male-dominent societies. It may at least make the people view women differently.... than the usual way of perceiving  women as dependent on  and inferior to men. I am trying to imagine the effect of this television show  on men and women in countries like Saudi Arabia, Afganisthan, Pakistan....... even  India, Russia or Japan. Male Chavunism is so rife in these countries (and of course several other countries too,) that people.......especially  men simply cannot accept  even a fictional female leader in a fictional  television show ...let alone a real female leader in real life! I am picturing the men I know in India and their comments about The Closer....
Some men would say that Brenda(the female and lead role in The Closer) is an American and American women are better than Indian women; they would accept this lady but not accept that an Indian lady too could have the strengths of Brenda.
Many many many ordinary Indian men I know,  think like little they would be making fun of the weaknesses of Brenda such as her driving, her losing her way when she drives and so on. They would focus on these and lose sight of the bigger picture or her overall strengths.
Even attempts by girls and women to   achieve something or show ambition would be cut down by men(parents, brothers, friends, etc) who would comment by saying"Dont think you are a Brenda Lee Johnson".  How many times I have heard people putting down the attempts of people who try to achieve in India by making negative comments such as "Do you think you are Gandhi? Do you think you are Einstein?" and so on.

I recall the struggles of a female school principal in Hosur who could not get the men working under her to follow her command. They simply did not like taking orders from a woman and would do what was needed only when a male, much junior to her asked them to do their duties. In many Indian  offices, factories, even farms, it is difficult for the  female bosses or female  proprieters to get the men working under them to do their job with compliance.

I wonder when this gender inequality will change in India? What factors will propel this change ?  What factors will hasten the speed of change?
 Religion will definitly not only hinders. The !@#$%^  Manu smrithi quoted by Hindus and the rules of Islam are both anti women.
Politicians are useless in making these changes
The Indian movies and television shows which have such great influence on Indians are not using their full potential to change this attitude towards women. I have not seen Indian movies for the last several years and so I cannot comment.....but I do know that Indian movies/tv shows especially the Kannada mainstream ones still depict women as good if they 'obey' men in thier lives such as husbands and any female who is  assertive is 'bad' .....

Even if women in Karnataka have better education, access to employment, economic strength, greater say over their choices (career, marriage, child-bearing) than 30 years ago, the movies and tv shows continue to be  dated in their depiction of women. I know this because I was forced to see Kannada tv shows last year, when my relatives from India stayed with me!

I definitely do not want a Malashree-type doing Brenda Lee Johnson's role in a Kannada version of The Closer! That would be an over-the-top, parody, impossible to take seriously or believe.
 I strongly believe that if roles like Brenda's were depicted in Indian movies and tv shows, it would go a great way to change people's attitudes towards women.
The more I think about  Brenda's role in an  Indian  version of The Closer,  the more impossible it seems! Let me explain why.....
The ever-present,  subtle but distinct effects of  various hierarchies will change the dynamics between the different roles played in this show...caste hierarchy, economic hierarchy, superior-subordinate hierarchy, male-female hierarchy, old-young hierarchy, poorly dressed-well-dressed hierrarchy, in India will prevent a realistic version of Closer in India.

As Brenda is a female boss, the Indian guys playing her subordinates will have difficulty taking orders from her; if she was a lower-caste woman, giving orders to a chauvinistic Brahmin male subordinate....will he follow a single order from her....definitley not unless he is an exceptional guy!
If she were a lady from south, giving orders to guys from say Harayana or a police station in any state of India....

This is getting depressing...though I am not really a staunch feminist!


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