Just Like Aliens

After more than 20 years since Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman revived romantic comedy genre in movies, this particular genre gradually devolved into nothing more than some sort of manufactured goods. There are countless of romantic comedy blockbuster movies with similar premise running around our theatres each year. And yet, the seats were always filled with enthusiastic audience who eagerly wait who dates who when the credit title rolling at the end of every title.

It’s no different in television as well. Indonesian private television channels are a heaven for romantic comedy FTV (film televisi or made-for-television movies) with two or three different titles aired each day from Monday to Sunday, mostly at noon and midnight. But with those huge amount of production that has surpassed 100 titles in 2012 alone, it’s sad to see that those FTVs share almost identical ideas, story, problems, and even in gestures and dialogues of the characters.

One of them is Cintaku Tertinggal di Odong-odong (literally means My Love were Left Behind at the Odong-odong Ride) which was aired at RCTI on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, started at 12.30 PM. It tells the story of Faisal (Reuben Elishama-Hadju), a handsome twentysomething who runs a business of an “odong-odong” ride operator for children.

An odong-odong

An odong.odong is basically some kind of mobile theme-park-style ride in the shape of cute animals operated by pedals and chain just like in bicycle. Every unit of odong-odong consist of 5 or 6 rides specifically designed for children age 3 to 5. It is usually a modification of becak (cycle rickshaw), once a basic transportation mode in Indonesia now replaced by much more modern minivans and buses. Odong-odong is very popular both in big cities and rural areas of Indonesia nowadays.

He met beautiful Chika (Soraya Larasati) in a traffic accident that has become a routine in FTVs (I almost sure there’s got to be some sort of a template of traffic accident scene in the screenplay that can be used over and over again!). Faisal’s odong-odong got hit by Chika who ride automatic motorcycle now very popular among girls and women in Indonesia. Following a quarrell about one tiny scratch in Chika’s motorbike, Faisal then must pay compensation money to Chika that has completely drained his revenues that day.

Of course they were attracted to each other right from the very beginning. Chika even imagined Faisal as Prince William during her shock-state after the collision. But to Chika, who works as clerk at C & F Perfumery at some big mall in Jakarta, going on a date with an odong-odong guy just like Faisal doesn’t seem to be a very clever idea. She then dated Bram (Ivan Permana), one rich and handsome boy who were willing to buy three sets of expensive perfumes just to get Chika’s cellphone number.

After a disastrous date in which Bram tried to rape Chika in his car, she fled away in panic and lost stranded in the middle of nowhere. Scared and desperate, Chika then took a vow that has become such a routine too in old fairy tales: anyone who can help her will be her sister if it’s a girl and can become her date if it’s a boy. Then suddenly someone showed up to give a hand, who’s none other than Faisal. He offered a ride with his odong-odong to bring Chika home.

Burden by her vow, Chika reluctantly agreed to date Faisal, only to see that her love life is going from bad to worse. At a supposedly romantic dinner, Faisal forgot to bring with him his wallet, which of course enraged Chika. On another date, he ask her to go to his favorite theme park. There he met Donna, his former love interest to the dismay of Chika. Then Chika’s motorbike get crushed by wild mob on a terrible riot. She forced Faisal to repair the bike or she would never want to meet him again.

But it turned out that the bike’s condition is too severe to be repaired. Faisal gave up, and had to sell his beloved odong-odong ride to be able to buy Chika a new motorbike as a replacement for the broken one.

Anything new? Nope. FTV has been around for about five years now, and they offered almost exactly the same materials each and every single one. It always about love and hate relationships which are based on so many illogical coincidents. Take Chika’s case as an example. She lives in gigantic metropolitan Jakarta with more than 7 million residents, and yet, wherever she goes, even when she get lost and completely stranded, she always meet Faisal and his odong-odong all the time.

Where’s the area of operation of Faisal’s business in a single day anyway? Does it include the entire city of Jakarta complete with all of its suburban areas? How does he manage to do that, considering that an odong-odong ride doesn’t operated by machine whatsoever? Or is it possible that he own GPS navigation to track Chika’s location all day?

And like any other FTVs, somehow we completely missed the details, especially those on the characters. Who is Faisal? With face as good looking as his, why did he pick odong-odong ride as his job instead of enrolled into some modelling agency? And how much does an odong-odong valued these days? Can we really trade it with a fresh new motorcycle that has valuation somewhere around Rp 15 million (approximately US$ 1.500)?

Cintaku Tertinggal di Odong-odong suffers greatly from illogical plot and storyline too. After he failed to bring back Chika’s motorbike to life, the depressed Faisal gone away and left Jakarta to his unknown hometown. He just sent the new motorcycle to Chika through his best friend Dody, a fellow odong-odong guy. But right at the end of the movie, when Chika contemplating her miserable life to her friend Anin (Fairus Ilbet), suddenly Faisal appared graciously accompanied by a brand new odong-odong without any explanation at all.

Where has he been? Where did the new and fancy odong-odong ride come from? Did he inherit it from some billionaire in odong-odong business? Or is it just the screenwriter who got completely lost and confused in the making of the movie?

The Indonesian TV movies and soap operas (better known as sinetron, an acronym of “sinema elektronik” or electronic cinema) seem to possess their own universe that doesn’t reflect any aspect of the normal daily social life of most Indonesians do. Cintaku Tertinggal di Odong-odong is no exception to that rule. It plays with characters and situations nowhere near our ordinary reality. And that makes anyone in the movie does felt like aliens from other planet trying to live as humans for their elementary school science experiment projects.

Do we care about them? No. Do we want them to live happily at the end of the movie? No. It’s hard to watch something where the final outcome is already revealed since the opening title. Of course Chika and Faisal will find their happiness each other. They’re destined to be together in this kind of movies, which makes romantic comedies eventually become more and more predictable everytime.

And I’m getting tired to watch characters notoriously doing weird monologue and thought-speech (complete with echoing soud effects) to reveal important vital information and plot progression to the audience. Don’t they have anything better to do…? (Wiwien Wintarto)

Program Title: Cintaku Tertinggal di Odong-odong

TV Channel: RCTI

Date: Wednesday, 14th November 2012

Time: 12.30 PM

Duration: 100 minutes (30 minutes for commercial breaks)

Studio: MNC Pictures

Directed by: Thaleb Wirachman

Written by: Budi Prasetio and Dina Damar

Produced by: Didi Ardiansyah

Cast: Reuben Elishama-Hadju, Soraya Larasati, Fairus Ilbet, Ivan Permana

Brand List at Commercial Breaks: Kecap Pedas ABC, Komix, Honda Beat, Hemaviton C1000, Maybelline, La Fonte, The Botol Sosro, Garnier, Telkomsel Flash, Malkist Abon, Olay, Frestea, Semen Tiga Roda, Pocky, Canon, Kapal Api, Mirai Ocha, Kementerian ESDM, L’Oreal, Kokl Cool ‘n Go, Suzuki Next, Kraft, Sambal ABC, Cap Lang, Cross, Soyjoy.

Photo credits:




3 responses

  1. Biarpun kemampuan boso Inggrisku amat sangat memprihatinkan, aku bisa nangkep isi tulisanmu kuwi, Paklik. Wuih, salut karo kemampuanmu mengamati tayangan2 di tipi. Hanya satu kata untukmu, Paklik, LANJUTKAN…!!! 🙂

  2. Setujuuu..terutama bagian kalau jalan cerita dan karaktar di FTV gak ada perkembangan dari dulu-dulu. Mungkin ini ada pengaruhnya sama drama-drama Asia (Korea, Jepang, Taiwan, Cina) yang memang marak di Indonesia beberapa tahun belakangan.
    Mungkin mereka para pembuat FTV ingin mengadaptasi resep2 kesuksesan drama asing tersebut, tentunya dengan konteks Indonesia (contohnya syuting di Bali, Jogja, dll).
    Tapi sayangnya mereka lupa kalau drama2 asing tersebut dibuat dengan sangat detail, mulai dari cerita, karakter, sampai setting tempat dan waktu. Bahkan, kalau nonton drama2 Asia sekarang, meskipun ramuannya tetap sama, tapi ada perkembangan karakter tokoh-tokoh dalam cerita. Sekarang bisa dilihat kalau tokoh cewek-cewek manja dan lemah is so yesterday. Haahaha
    Semoga mereka segera bertobat ya.:D

    1. Benar. Kekurangan sinema (dan juga novel) kita sejak dulu rata-rata dalam soal detail, apalagi bila harus disertai riset mendalam. Pasti pada malas.
      Semoga lekas bertobat, hehe…

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