Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

S for Stereotype

When I moved to Poland I decided to follow a Polish soap opera, as an entertaining way of increasing my colloquial vocab. Two years on, I understand most of what they say, and I'm well and truly hooked.

M jak Miłość
(M for Love, well L for Love then) is a typical soap mix of trauma and tragedy, but it has a good dollop of Polish family fun as well. Recently, a sweet if rather whiney young woman, with husband, two kids and a big Polish family home including grandparents, persuaded her pregnant friend from the big city (pregnant by her evil married boss) not to have an abortion but to keep the baby, because she would regret it otherwise, and being a mother was pure joy that couldn't be diminished by being alone with no money (or something like that... that was the general gist anyway). Another recent event was a pilgrimage to Rome, the Poles' Mecca.

Yesterday evening, a young divorcee (whose husband wanted her back but she refused and now he is going to marry the woman he had an affair with and fathered two children with while married to the first one just out of spite, so that's going to end in tears - got it?) was getting ready to leave Poland for England. She's going with her old flame the doctor (is anyone still reading this? It's a fabulous plot line) who is still in love with her and hopes to swoop in, once she's finally over her cheating ex-husband. Anyway, her amusing aunt, who thinks it's all highly immoral, has come round a bit and was giving her niece some advice.

"Cook good Polish food!" she said. "Don't go eating any of those fish and chips they have. There are Polish shops in England now, make sure you get proper Polish bread. Apparently the stuff they have is awful."

The only thing she was in favour of in England was "five o'clock". She's not the only Pole who is convinced that as soon as soon as it nears 5 pm, English people around the country stop whatever they are doing and rush frantically to put the kettle on so that the water can boil and the cuppa is ready on the hour. I tell them all the fuss about five o'clock is not true. The kettle's always just boiled.

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Blogger Aaron Fowles said...

I totally prefer Polish soaps to Korean ones. The Korean soaps are either about the traumas of unrequited love or they are really over-the-top historical dramas.

I used to watch M jak Milosc in the Konin train station every Thursday night while waiting for my train. I think the funniest part (and I might actually have the wrong soap here, it might have been Na Wspolna) was the bar where the old man hung out to play chess. People neither drank beer nor smoked cigarettes.

12:57 am  
Anonymous Kinuk said...

I fall in and out of M jak Milosc with N. He still watches it more often than I do, but we're not devoted by any means. Months go by when we don't watch it and then he'll see several episodes and fill me in on all the news. It is one of the better ones, I think. But still somehow totally unrealistic. I guess that's the point of soap operas. Glad to hear you're still following it! Does Gosia actually *ever* smile or make the right choice, though?

12:08 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

Oh I've just started being tempted by 'Na Wspólnej' Aaron - reliable sources tell me it's got better storylines. But yeah, M jak Miłość has a bar where nobody smokes. They drink beer, but never more than one.

No Kinuk, I can say that in two years Gosia has never smiled and she has made so many wrong choices I've lost count. Poor thing.

12:18 pm  

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