I used to be an TV addict. I could spend hours in front of a black-and-white television in the living room. When the time came for me to enter elementary school, I was a bit unhappy because I could no longer watch my favorite morning programs. And do you know what were they? India’s most epic hero legend Ramayana and local martial arts Saur Sepuh. Hahaha.
Television shows during the 1990s were awesome! In times when internet had yet to reach remote villages like the one I was growing up in, television was undoubtedly became the sole window to the outside world. Not only it served as a media to channel our appetite for information but also it brought entertainment, which luckily I was an innocent kid at the moment, I digested the programs on the surface. I could not imagine if I watched the programs when I were a teenager or adult.
Anyway… to recall memories on why I was so much in love with the 1990’s television era, here are the lists:
1. Hero and heroine
Satria Baja Hitam
Best moment in my childhood happened when I gathered with my peers in one of our neighbour house just to watch Satria Baja Hitam. I fell for Kotaro Minami so much. The Japanese serial claimed a success in Indonesia until I do not remember how many season it was ran in the television. I like Belalang Tempur, the vehicle which was always on a standby mode each time the hero was in trouble.
Famous for its slogan “Go Go Power Rangers”, the US kid show mesmerized me and my friends every afternoon. Like Satria Baja Hitam, we usually watched the serial in a crowd. My favorite character was the Pink Ranger because she was pretty, smart, and definitely powerful.
2. Mandarin mania
In the evening, my family and other neighbors usually gathered to watch Return of the Condor Heroes, the first ever Mandarin kung fu serial that kept my family for hours only to see how marvelous the kung fu movements were. And of course, a long-lasting beautiful love tale between beautiful teacher and handsome student. I loved Andy Lau. Since then, I watched more Asian movies before I set my heart forever for Jackie Chan.
3. Cinderella stories a la Latin America
Her name is Thalia, a Mexican actress who put so many Indonesians, especially women, under her spells through her characters in three Marias- Maria Mercedes, Maria Cinta yang Hilang, and Mari Mar. She also acted wonderfully in Rosalinda. Other famous name is Gabriela Spanic whose name rose so high thanks to her role as a twin in Paulina. The telenovela was so famous that TPI (now MNCTV) brought her to Jakarta to meet curious fans here. But two Latin actresses who really won my heart because of their beauty and sexiness are Venezuelans Coraima Torres and Astrid Carolina Herrera. Coraima Torres played oustandingly in Kassandra though my most favorite show was Maria Emilia simply because I think her partner is the latter is more good-looking compared to that in Kassandra. Meanwhile, Astrid Caroline Herrera was crowned as the Miss World in 1984. I had been searching for her first telenovela aired in SCTV then found the title is Morena Clara or Maria Si Cantik Clara. She is like a goddess.
Other soap operas which may be not as famous as Maria Mercedes but put housewives hours in front of television areVictoria, Marisol, Amigos, Carita de Angel, Paquita, Soledad, Wild Angels, Esperanza, Esmeralda, etc, etc, etc. The red line of all the soap operas is about rich boys who meet poor but beautiful girls. They fall in love. But the boys’s mothers do not want to accept his lovers because of her low social class status. Worse, the mothers already pick up girlfriends for the boys, whom they dislike but sometimes have crushes on the women, too. But the endings are always joyful. Easy-to-guess story plots and good-looking characters… not so much different with those produced by Indian drama makers in Indonesia. But at least, those soap operas did not last until six or seven seasons to complete. Also, I love watching scenery in the American Latin countries — the streets, the houses (for the poor and the rich), the rural areas, many more. But the most dazzling fact is the sexy and pretty ladies in the soap operas. No wonder many crowns for Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss everything go for South American nominees.
4. Western family and teenager dramas
Party of Five
I remember watching this family drama in my cousin’s house because I wanted to enjoy the serial in colored television. This program wowed me. The story plot (although I hardly could remember), the casts, were great. It revolves around a story of a family who consists of five people who need to face lives despite their parents deaths. Their kinship binds them all with the oldest brother who takes the wheel. I got to know Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Scott Wolf from the show.
I jokingly borrowed McBeal to become my last. Lol. My college pal was a bit annoyed with that. That was just to show how high I put Ally McBeal as my idol. I love her character but not really on the program. Personally, I love Ally McBeal because she was the kind of person I would like to be in the future. A passionate, funny, independent, powerful, but sensitive and not-to-forget stubborn person. What made me a bit unhappy about the program was that the man whom she loved the most finally married her co-worker. He eventually died. I did not follow the drama until the end because RCTI I believe did not air it as the seasons drew to a finale. Anyway…I admire Ally McBeal until now. What about Calista Flockhart who play the character? I used to like her until she dated Harrison Ford, who is a way older than she is. Hufttttt….
Long before Glee hits the world of teenage drama, Dawson’s Creek already captures so many hearts including those in Indonesia. Even in a such small town like Karanganyar, I and my classmates never stopped talking about last episodes we watched. Some of us loved Pacey while others preferred to see Dawson. What about me? I could not stop wishing Dawson to get together with Joey despite the fact Pacey was more loveable than Dawson. This drama was so amazing. I love the view, the creek, the houses, the schools. Still clearly remember how Dawson and Joey ran to their houses in the middle of the rain while laughing and smiling at each other. How romantic! And so many boats. Although it was called as teenage drama, Dawson’s Creek was not all about having fun. In one of the episodes, I was amazed to watch when Joey climbed up to Dawson’s room then took all pictures down, leaving one big poster with the word “IMAGINE”. That was an episode when Dawson was in a process of switch identity from a teenager to a growing up man. Like two previous dramas, I failed to watch the endings.
Sometimes I always wanted to borrow a time machine so that I could go back to the past when all I did was watching those wonderful programs while learning so many things without my understandings. But of course that is impossible. May be collecting all missing episodes will be more than enough. But again, that requires time and money.
All I can do is that rewinding those moments as best as I could by talking to friends, googling the stories, or perhaps buying DVDs. I’d like to deeply express my gratitute to the creators for all those shows who not entertain me but also provide rooms for learning about culture, language, and most importantly, dreams. Thanks to them, I was growing up to dream on visiting those places, meet those people. And those wishes, hopefully, are not mindless dreams.
So, what about television programs in today’s era? Well, I stay away from television as long as I can. You know why…