In recent years, there’s a rise in popularity of satellite TV here in Brunei. Mostly (if not completely) due to the way it enables us to watch our favourite Indonesian channels. Nowadays, it’s normal for us Bruneians to have access to three different ‘TV modes’ in a single household: the local Bruneian channel, the Malaysian Astro cable channel (eg.HBO, Cartoon Network, etc) and the satellite TV (receiving Indonesian channels). It’s usually a tug o war in my house between me wanting to watch cable channels and my mom with her Indonesian channels.

There are some good shows in the Indonesian channels and there are some bad ones. Then there are the “so-bad-it’s-good” ones 😆 . What’s interesting is that the shows that fit into this “so-bad-it’s-good” belong to the Sinetron genre, the type of shows that my mom loves to watch. What’s a Sinetron? It’s a short form of “Sinema Elektronik” (Electronic Cinema) and it’s basically an Indonesian version of Soap Opera. The main reason for why they fit into the “so-bad-it’s-good” category is that all of them share the same cliche that always makes me laugh whenever it shows up on screen. Here are the list of cliches of a Sinetron that I could remember:

The hero (usually a heroine) is soooooo good…like really really good, caring, noble…I mean all of the good qualities of human being magnified 1000x. She is soooo innocent to the point that she is very stupidly naive and get fooled by the bad guy every single second!!! This goes on till the very end of the series when the bad guy finally get his/her ass kicked by bad karma.

The moral of the story:When facing oppression, don’t stand up for yourself. Instead, just be patient and take all beating from the bad guy because one day she will get what she deserves. Maybe tomorow or in ten years but it will come eventually 🙄

Extra points: The good girl wears a head scarf and sweet looking. For maximum impact, reveal that she teaches children Quran reading as her part time job.

The bad guy (usually an evil bitch) is sooooo F***ing evil that she will do anything to get what she wants and make the good heroine suffer badly. There is one sinetron where the evil bitch got what she wanted (she gets to marry the heroine’s boyfriend) and yet she still continues to make the heroine’s life miserable by framing her for murder so she gets sent to jail. I mean she already got what she wanted! How f***ing evil can she be (and this is after the heroine admitted defeat and wish the evil bitch & her ex boyfriend good luck in their marriage). But don’t worry, the evil bitch got sent to the prison by the end of the series if I remember correctly.

The moral of the story:Being evil also equals to being smart. Try to be creative when you want to do some evil things to someone eg. frame someone for murder, ask a ‘bomoh‘ or a witch doctor for help to do the dirty job or claim that you were raped by the hero (usually a good looking guy who works at the mosque). And be a good liar too.

Extra points: The evil bitch is hot and sexy. And she must have bulging eyes! When she talks, her eyes keeps bulging (accompanied by dramatic music) to show how evil she is Hahaha. For maximum impact, have TWO evil bitches: the evil step mom and the evil hot/sexy bimbo daughter 👿

A love triangle.The good guy and the bad guy out for the same girl or vice versa.

Random martial arts scene. Hero must know how to do martial arts moves. It’s also an opportunity for the director to try to do some exciting kinetic Matrix style fights. Even better, have a good looking pious man do martial arts with superpowers!

Evil shape shifting snakes. Usually locked in a battle with a badass pious man.

Big beautiful houses. One of the main highlight of an Indonesian tv series or movies is the way they showcase the big modern designed houses in Indonesia.

Comic relief characters: homosexuals, cross dressers, midgets. Any other characters who isn’t a good looking teenager are usually the ones that provides the comic relief. Besides, good looking teenage characters are busy with angst ridden love plot anyway….no time for humour. (BTW, a lot of teenage Indonesian stories now. What happened to those old Kadir & Doyok comedies or Sundel Bolong type of horror. Although I heard from many that Ayat2 Cinta is really good)

The title of the show is the name of the heroine. Sort of a trend these days…let me list down the names that I could remember: (Na)Dia, Suci, IntanCandy, Mawar, Soleha and there’s a new one coming out during Ramadhan called Syarifah I think…forgot which channel.

We hear the voices inside the character’s head. Extra point: We hear the evil bitch’s plan (I know, the villain could be a guy but most of the time it’s a girl) through a voice over. Meanwhile, she smiles evilly and play with her eyes BUT nobody around her notice that she’s making evil facial expression!!! HAHA 😛

Longer than it should be. The series tend to drag and just frustrate the viewers. Probably because the producers or TV station stretched it out due to the success of the first few episodes.


That’s all I can come up with. Have any more ideas? 🙂


2 thoughts on “Sinetron

  1. TRUE!!! That’s why I’m soooo frustrated with any Indonesian sinetron, but Malaysian soap dramas are equally uncreative and annoying Dx

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