Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES — A while ago, I watched some television at the home of a friend who has a satellite dish. Though I already had some sense of what American television was like, I was surprised by the dizzying and irrational pace of the programming.
In the middle of a TV series, I was bombarded with three commercials: one announcing a new film that was pure eye-candy, another advertising an appliance which one probably didn’t need as much as they said and a spot for Burger King’s latest hamburger (I believe).
The many images changed so rapidly it was bothersome: there was nothing resembling harmony on the screen.
I recalled what a friend told me about the “stupefying” effects that many television shows have on people. Even those who acknowledge the shows are bad can’t stop watching them.
I’ve always been critical of Cuban television, even of the educational programs we had to watch at school, because everything looked false in them – the houses and classrooms you saw there looked like they were from a different country.
Right now, however, I feel kind of relieved our television doesn’t impose that visual pace on us. I even thought having very few channels, as we do, is a good thing, in the sense that we have less options and aren’t trapped by the television screen as much.
Recently, however, I’ve see a number of local shows that make me think our television is also, slowly being filled up with trash.
A few days ago, I saw part of an episode of a television series (from South Korea, I think), in which the teenage characters looked as though they had been taken right out of a Japanese animation. The premise of the series as such didn’t bother me. What got to me was the acting of the young cast, which stroke clichéd and rather exaggerated poses throughout.
More than theatrical, the whole thing was ridiculous. The story also struck me as the worst kind of soap-opera plot.
I’ve had the fortune of having parents who are very selective about the movies they watch and I am accustomed to seeing good films. Whenever we start to watch one that strikes me as bad, I can’t even sit through ten minutes of it.
My mother tells me that, as a child, she saw Russian, Czech, Hungarian and Italian films that were so good she’s never forgotten them and would give anything to see again.
I’m worried that we’re starting to lose the little we had and that young people in Cuba, who don’t even enjoy the economic and political advantages of the countries these series are made in, look up to such characters as the ones in this “stupefying” South Korean series as role models.
I still prefer Cuban television, though I’m scared to think about what it’s becoming.