I know I call a lot of things (sarcasm intended), but woopdeedooda, I called it again. With a very controversial slogan “Den truong…khong chi de hoc/Going to school…is not just for studying” clearly printed on the movie’s main posters, it was bound to happen sooner or later.
In this new teen series where relationships, fun and friendship at school are viewed as more important than education, parents are concerned that their children will imitate the characters in the series since there is almost no mention of studying.
Thanh Loan, mother of a 15-year old daughter said, “It seems like the series is made just for rich people. But the wealthy are just a minority compared to the middle-class and poor majority. Our children are not in this show.”
In reply to such complaints, twenty-seven-year-old director Hoang Diep said “Those who want shows about poor students working hard for their success can watch many other programs. We might not have made a show that represents these people, but instead a show about what everyone dreams about and wishes for. Just because her characters looked a certain way didn’t mean they were spoiled or shallow. The clothes our characters wear and the way they do their make-up do not reveal their souls and thoughts. We want to make the teenagers’ lives more colorful and full of dreams and aspirations.” (Thanh Nien)
Honestly, after being overshadowed by the aftermath of war what with countless depressing war-themed movies and the like, it’s only understandable that our younger generation would want something more .. fantasy-like. Something pretty, happy, simple, and even unrealistic. And I don’t blame them. What I don’t understand is why this 8 minute per day light comedy series is even causing this much controversy. If people were seriously looking for something with substance, then of course an 8 minute a day children’s sitcom is not going to fulfill this request. Instead of being bitter with the show’s portrayals of unrealistic life, one could just move on and go watch “Bong Dung Muon Khoc” again or something, why bother to attack our own entertainment industry just for introducing something new & different to viewers. And might I even raise the total hypocrisy in the argument that parents are “concerned that their children will emulate the characters…” when we all know how much VietNam loves Kiem Hiep movies where people are stabbed, butchered, & beheaded on a regular basis. And they aren’t afraid of our children imitating that?
Also, whether or not this series initially sparked VietNam’s recent law banning schoolgirls from wearing skirts above the knee length is also in question. If so, that’s certainly a laugh.
As a developing nation, I love the fact that we’re both modern and traditional. But the downside of that is many people are still so used to the traditional VietNam that when it comes to catching up with the rest of the world, most are still skeptical claiming that we are being “unoriginal” whether it be music, movies, or fashion. That’s definitely another laugh. Nothing related to the entertainment industry is original anymore. We just need to accept this sad fact and make the best of it instead of bringing down our own. Just because something looks good or sounds good does not mean VietNam is incapable of producing it. If one was to raise an issue by fairly criticizing it….like how that Phan Linh girl sings bad (cause she does..), without bringing up the subject of “he/she/it is a insert a random country here wannabe”, then I’m all ears. But it’s annoying, for me personally, to see our own people harshly criticize this series’ unrealistic depiction of VietNam life when these are the same people flocking to other foreign dramas/movies that are just as unrealistic.
Furthermore, I don’t think people realize that this sitcom is aimed to be much like that of a Disney Channel show since the Xi-Tin market is apparently now a gold mine. Yes, VietNam does have a Disney Channel and yes, that Hannah Montana girl is also everywhere. Does it make any sense that a show as unrealistic as “Hannah Montana” or “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” or “Wizards of Waverly Place” is more widely accepted in VietNam than a mere 8 minute show where a bunch of teens are just breaking a few stereotypes of going school?
Anyway, It’s hard to imagine what the talks of “Nhung Thien Ao Trang/White Shirted Angels” will be like with the way “Bo Tu 10a8” is being recieved.