The Jakarta Post
These sinetron offered wide-ranging entertainment, triggering laughter, tears and more. (-/-)
In the 1990s, before sinetron (local soap opera) like "Anak Jalanan", "Tukang Bubur Naik Haji" and "Ganteng-ganteng Serigala" grabbed the attention of teenagers and mothers during prime-time hours, there were other sinetron TV series that pioneered provoking the audience’s emotions.
Here are some of those sinetron that offered wide-ranging entertainment, triggering laughter, tears and more.
"Harta yang paling berharga adalah keluarga" (the most precious treasure is family), says this TV series' opening song. The quote also explains the theme of the show, which was aired in 1996 on RCTI and ended in 2005 on TV7 (now Trans7).
"Keluarga Cemara" showcases Indonesian family values such as sincerity, simplicity and togetherness. The story starts with the entrepreneur father, Abah (Adi Kurdi), going bankrupt and soon finding himself working as a becak (three-wheeled pedicab) driver after moving the entire family from Jakarta to the countryside. Abah’s wife Emak (Novia Kolopaking and later Anneke Puteri) finds work as an opak (Sundanese corn-flour chips) maker and seller.
While Abah is portrayed as a patient and hard-working father, Emak is described as a loyal wife. They have three daughters: Euis (Ceria Hade), Ara (Anisa Fujianti) and Agil (Pudji Lestari), who all helped Emak selling opak.
Based on books written by noted writer Arswendo Atmowiloto, who was also the series' scriptwriter, production designer and producer, "Keluarga Cemara" offers strong characters and humble daily life that Indonesian viewers can easily relate to.
When the show aired on TV7 in 2004, the TV station changed its title to "Keluarga Cemara: Kembali ke Asal" (Cemara Family: Back to the Beginning) and featured Lia Waroka as Emak. The later installments follow the family after they move back to Jakarta, as they cope with Agil becoming sick and only having a few years to live.
Released in three seasons, "Keluarga Cemara" received many awards including the Praiseworthy Sinetron award from Bandung Film Festival and two Panasonic awards.
Si Doel Anak Sekolahan
Those curious about the daily life of a Betawi family will enjoy watching this TV series. Due to its popularity, "Si Doel Anak Sekolahan" was aired on RCTI from 1994 to 2006, spanning 7 seasons and more than 100 episodes.
This comedy/drama sinetron portrays the life of a lower-class Indonesian and many realistic problems faced, but packed with entertaining comedy, particularly thanks to characters Mandra (Mandra) and Karyo (Basuki).
Although the title focuses on Doel (Rano Karno), the show basically tells the story of an extended Betawi family, the Sabeni family, headed by Babe (Benyamin S.) who sends his eldest son Doel to university to become a successful person.
The family also includes Enyak, or Mpok Lela (Aminah), who sells food at her warung. Enyak, her younger brother Mandra, Doel and her sister Atun (Suti Karno) all live under the same roof in a Betawi-style house. Doel and Mandra also drive the family's oplet (1970s public transit van) from time to time to make money.
Aside from family drama, "Si Doel Anak Sekolahan" also follows Doel’s love life and his dilemma in choosing between two beautiful yet very different women, Zaenab (Maudy Koesnaedi) and Sarah (Cornelia Agatha). The show became even richer when some legendary Indonesian actors joined the cast for cameos and as new characters. They included actors Pak Bendot, Nunung, Tino Karno, Basuki and Jaja Mihardja.
Adapted from a novel "Si Doel Anak Betawi" by Aman Datuk Majoindo, and from a movie of a similar title directed by Sjumandjaja, "Si Doel Anak Sekolahan" undoubtedly delivered Rano Karno his stardom as well as other members of the Sabeni family. Among its many awards were the Panasonic Gobel award for Favorite Actor and Best Drama Director.
As the country's longest-running sinetron, this TV series has arguably earned its place on this list.
Produced by Multivision Plus, the show was aired from 1998 to 2005 spanning 7 seasons and more than 300 episodes.
"Tersanjung" tells the story of an orphan named Indah (Lulu Tobing) who lives with her uncle, Kadir (Anwar Fuadi). Indah falls in love with Bobby (Reynold Subakti) and gets pregnant with his child. Upon hearing this, Kadir’s wife Retno (Yati Octavia) kicks Indah out of their house. Bobby's parents, meanwhile, have apparently arranged for him to marry another woman. Indah gives birth and meets another man but thinks about Bobby all along.
This never-ending drama played with viewers' emotions, especially when the antagonists, played by Yati Octavia and Leily Sagita, show up with their famous evil stares. Other famous cast members in this show included Ari Wibowo, Febi Febiola, Cut Tari and Jihan Fahira.
Noktah Merah Perkawinan
"Tampar lagi, Mas! Tampar!" (slap me again, Mas! Slap me!), says Ambar to her husband in what, for 1990s viewers, was probably the most memorable scene from this sinetron.
Aired for the first time in 1996 on Indosiar from Monday to Friday, the series was quickly followed by "Noktah Merah Perkawinan 2" and a third edition. With drama as its main genre, it portrays a family's struggles to survive amid divorce and infidelity issues.
The marriage between Ambar (Ayu Azhari) and Priambodo or Mas Pram (Cok Simbara), runs into trouble as Mas Pram’s company nears bankruptcy. After their divorce, Mas Pram marries Yulinar (Berliana Febrianti) though he is still in love with Ambar.
In addition to the aforementioned conflict between Ambar and Mas Pram, "Noktah Merah Perkawinan" also features an unforgettable scene where Yulinar sets a curtain on fire out of jealousy. In short, the show is full of tears and conflict that draws viewers in completely.
Produced by Rapi Films, this sinetron series also has a memorable theme song, composed by notable musician and composer Purwacaraka.
First aired in 2002 on TransTV, this sitcom follows the daily life of a Betawi family made up of Bajuri (Mat Solar) and his wife Oneng (Rieke Diah Pitaloka). As a bajaj (three-wheeled taxi) driver, Bajuri has an unstable income and Oneng helps out by opening a salon in their living room.
Conflict often happens when Oneng’s mother Emak (Nani Wijaya) moves in with them. Other supporting characters that are also hilarious include Ucup (Fanny Fadillah), who always wears a sports jersey, the flirtatious Mpok Hindun (Tuti Hestuti) and the always-saying-sorry Mpok Minah (Leslie Sulistiowati).
Created and written by Aris Nugraha, "Bajaj Bajuri" was later separated into two series in 2005: "Bajaj Baru Bajuri" and "Salon Oneng", which both still followed the lives of Bajuri and Oneng but in different situations.
In 2014, the big screen version "Bajaj Bajuri the Movie" was released, but without the series' original cast. (kes)
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