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Mindless Melodrama

Vasu Reddy from Chicago


My impressions of watching television are undergoing a lot of changes from the time I have had the pleasure of Indian channels added to the cable listings. While in the USA or visiting India television has become a part of every room where people sit or eat or sleep or just chat. No stopping the constant chatter by the stations on what is wrong with everything in the state and country and sometimes the world.


New channels are modeled like CNN Headline News or CNN World, and the reports have absolutely no training on when not to show gruesome details of mutilated bodies. For some reason the guys seem to show just grossest things on TV. One TV channel does a daily evening news special on some person who is facing the gravest dangers that have no help from the government. All ills are the responsibility of the government. From no water available to no electricity to bad roads to all illness, it’s the governments fault. Everyday naxals are killed or someone is shown brutally killed and the bodies shown without respect to the dead or to the fears of the people watching. In our homes children are watching these channels along with the adults who are seemingly indifferent to asking the children to leave when watching TV that is not meant for children. There is no television rating system or discipline of censorship.


Mindless stuff and mindless comments or editorial is presented on the view of the person reporting or showing stuff to people on live TV. All most all the times these so called special segment end with comments “wondering what the government is doing?” What do they expect a democratically elected government to do about every ill captured on television?


I am sure there is no accountability on the information that is being reported by these so called investigative reports. Here is something I suggest everyday with each special segment.


  1. Find a good deed done by one of our citizens and report this and glorify the doing good aspect and avoid showing us misery. We have plenty of misery that is obvious to all people in the world, and TV doesn’t have to show how bad things are as special segments. TV can glorify the goodness of people. I believe that if we glorify that’s doing good is reported, people might start doing more good. Publicity is good even to do good things.

  2. Don’t show dead people on TV without warning of the graphic content, and inform the adults that the segment is not good for children.

  3. Rate the shows so people can start using the guidelines for watching television with children.


One of the most fascinating things in television history is the soap operas that go on for years together and keep people glued to the television at a specific time during the day or primetime watching in the evenings. These shows run for many years and people start associating themselves with the shows, and emotionally getting involved in the characters being shown day in and day out, and many times imagining what will happen next. We can praise the makers of such shows, or the director of such long running shows for their ability to capture a great number of people’s imagination. It’s a great marketing platform if same people are watching the show at the same time everyday. It is an advertiser’s dream space, with captive and attentive audience who are emotionally involved in the television without fail. There is a great number of day time and night time soaps in the American Television history such as Dallas and Dynasty. No amount of praise can be heaped o the makers of these shows (and similar shows) for creative and prolonged ability to capture the audiences. In recent times Telugu television also have been making inroads into such melodrama and capturing audiences. Some shows are fantasy and are shown depicting the supernatural and bring to life the many books we have in the language that we may have read as children. Some shows are pure fiction, and depict unusual life styles and unusual friendships of no real nature into to daily soaps. People seem to be glued on to the irrespective of the time they come on the air.


Children invariably are watching these shows with their mother’s or babysitters and probably are exposed to them everyday. As they come during primetime (some shows are shifted to primetime once they become popular) the children can’t escape the onslaught of melodrama everyday, nor complain to parents (adults) that they would prefer to watch a cartoon or some other show that is of interest to them. There is no escape for the children from the unrealistic and emotional presentations made by these shows. Parents won’t listen to them, not they can escape the onslaught of these shows. They also can’t escape the emotional turmoil adults invariably go through with each episode of these shows, and perhaps are the victims of both the mindless shows and also the mindless emotional trauma that is bestowed on the adults, who in turn reflect it in their actions at home. The poor young ones suffer either the atrocious depiction of unnatural life on television or suffer the emotional crap from the adults. Either way the shows long running influence is the suffering on the young ones at home.


I offer no editorial except my observations on these mindless melodramas everyday. Perhaps, adults can do some things such as:


  1. Buy a television that is for kids use so the children can watch shows that are of interest to them.

  2. Allow children to watch programs when hey get primetime children shows and let the kids enjoy their television time.

  3. Perhaps a more meaningful solution is simply asking the children to be away from these shows if the adults can’t stop watching them.


I am sure the television viewers are continuing to grow everyday and the television tubes are in great demand. In a recent visit to a Sony showroom in Hyderabad I found that the largest dealer of Sony televisions in the city did not have stock to send home, and was waiting. I heard that the same model has been sold to seven homes and they were all waiting for this particular model of television to be delivered to their homes. There is expanded viewer base everyday and expanded demand for quality programming. Soap operas are not going to go away, so there is no point in even asking the audience to not to watch them. Watching unrealistic stuff is a part of living that is real, and perhaps provides some relief to the imagination of the viewing population. But there is a way to stop exposing children to this mindless melodrama.


Tags:Mindless, Melodrama, Political, Entertainment, Telugu, English

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