The Controversial of Indonesian 'Melodramatic' Soap Opera

Indonesia Mooië 🇮🇩

Soap operas are very popular in television shows. Almost we could find Soap opera TV Show in Indonesia. Soap opera popular as sinetron in Indonesia, and it is continuity, and there is sinetron have exiting broadcasted.

It showed about 6 years, that sinetron was “Tersanjung”. Confusedly, our people never feel bored, they like it so much; I think it sold violence, cruelty, triangle love, etc. There is no education substance on it.


To me, Indonesian soap operas are incredibly low in quality. If you’ve been watching Indonesian soap operas, then you know for a fact that a recipe for a successful sinetron is as follows.

  1. Untalented actors: seemingly unable to show realistic facial expressions.
  2. Unrealistic characters: the way characters react to things is definitely not the way a normal person would act.
  3. Poorly written story: they just keep inventing petty drama to milk the show for profit. The conflicts are terribly petty, but never seem to get solved. It has something to do with the unrealistic characters as well.
  4. Jakarta-centric: I understand that most soap operas come from Jakarta, but I have never seen one soap opera not using Jakarta “Lo-Gue” dialect or takes place somewhere that doesn’t look like Jakarta.
  5. Overly religious people.
  6. A whiny transvestite.
  7. Stereotypical characters: below are some examples
    • Extremely poor people befriending extremely rich people.
    • And then they fall in love but their families are totally against it.
    • Kids with super strength.
    • Most characters have white skin. “Low” characters such as the “pembantu” and “satpam” is more likely to be dark skinned.
    • Every character of a type will have the same personality: most “satpam” in all soap operas will act the same way, most bitchy girls in all soap operas will use the same bullying techniques, etc.
    • The bitchy girl: always uses exaggerated facial contortions showing disgust to everything.
    • The “satpam”: always speaks in heavy Javanese accent, always very timid.
    • The “pembantu”: almost same as satpam, but loves gossip.
    • Stereotypical Betawi people who are always, always obnoxiously loud and insult people for fun.
    • People with speech impediment. Most of the time they are the only source of comedy.
    • Muscular people who are stupid beyond imagination. Another source of comedy, the bigger the dumber the better.
    • Super cute poor boys and girls who work shitty job for living. E.g. bajaj/angkot driver, tukang angon kebo, or nasi goreng seller.
    • The nerd: as if it’s impossible for a smart girl to have a social life.
    • The guy: every guy, especially the love interest of the main character, kinda have the same personality. They also seem to be very overprotective.
    • The comic relief auntie: a very stupid auntie used for comic relief.
    • The business dad: wears a suit, probably has a mustache, has a metal watch, brings a suitcase, usually detached from his children.
  8. Stereotypical scenes & Very poor effects::
    • Internal monologues: the character walks from point A to B while showing facial expressions without talking while their slightly “echoing” voice speaks, showing the character’s thoughts.
    • Surprised or offended character says “APA?” with mouth open wide and camera goes close up to the face.
    • Mythical creatures such as werewolves and vampires (even though they aren’t native Indonesian creatures).
    • Big animals with kids riding them. E.g. dragons and komodos.
    • Flying character will stand, levitate about 50 cm straight up vertically, stop in mid air, rotate 90 degrees to a horizontal position, then move horizontally.
    • People losing memories by bumping their head somewhere.
    • People gaining lost memories by bumping their head somewhere. Again.
    • People coming out of plastic surgeries looking nothing like they used to. Sometimes even the whole body features change.
    • People waking up with perfect hair and make up.
    • Cars that are easily sabotaged, typically their brake will fail.
    • People staring at other people or at nothing.
    • While thinking out loud.
    • While making weird facial expression.
    • Zoom in and out of the above scene, viewers love it.
    • Incompetent nurses who let babies get swapped.
    • “Borrow” superheroes. Surely Hollywood wouldn’t mind.

But srsly.


It is very dumbing, to be honest. I can almost feel my intelligence drop by watching it. Luckily, Indonesia’s recent movies are quite good, unlike the soap operas.

Soap opera on Indonesia televisions are profitable, because it broadcasted in prime time (6 pm until 9 pm) resulting advertising revenue. Many companies used main time to promote their products to customer, and they think that people in Indonesia would be attracted to buy their product. People, especially mothers in Indonesia, teenagers until children liked “sinetron” so much, I think it is not good for children. Almost sinetron and soap opera in television showed violence and evil. I found it that protagonist treated so badly, they are figured like garbage, useless and weak. Antagonist are figured so strong, powerful, unbeaten and always make trouble and pass from law, it show that evil would never be lost.

I think sinetron in Indonesia have negatives effect more than positive effects. Positive effect, because it gives a lot of money for television broadcaster. They got advertising income, actually, if their sinetron has high rating and people loved it. Entertainment is not main purpose again, and slowly, it decreased that television is only for profit, they did not care about education, affections and morality, they didn’t think about children, how about violence and cruelty showed by sinetron?

The negatives effects are more than positives effects, they are:

  • The children may copy the characters in sinetron, bad characters may be adopted by them because they didn’t have good backup when they see television.
  • There is no education substance, and sold non sense dreams like prosperity, love, moneys, and it showed that moneys and prosperity is everything.
  • Make decreasing of morality for teenagers, our sinetron show cruelty and bad behavior to their parents, they show that money get so easy, and it make our people lazy and cruel.

Finally, I think we have to be rethinking about morality and behaviors, especially for our children. The government should arrange about time permit to broadcast sinetron, special for sinetron showed cruelty, violence and evil. Our people are difficult to realize that sinetron has bad effects for their children. Let’s we start from our selves, to minus watching sinetron. We start from our family and always backup our child watching television.

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