Jan 14, 2018

Paramparça - my dramatic dinner company

The 85th episode of the second season chocked me. Well, not a real chock but a TV-series chock. No, it’s not possible, how can the story even go on with one of the main characters dead?! Heads up, spoiler alert, if you are following the series and haven’t watched season 2, stop reading here!

During the extremely sad summer 2017 weather wise, I bumped into the Turkish soap opera Paramparça. The Swedish names is The exchange (obviously not, that’s English, but you know what I mean. In Swedish Förväxlingen), and it’s the story about two girls born at the same time at the same hospital and with very similar family names. They get exchanged at the hospital, grow up in the wrong family, and the mix up doesn’t get revealed until the girls are in their teens. !

The plot is very simple. One family is obscenely rich and live in a luxury home at Bosporen. The other one poor and their home is a moldy rental in what’s in the story is called the slum. So, the poor girl Hazal should have had her life in the wealth at Bosporen and the rich Cansu should have grown up in the Istanbul slum.

The characters in the story are extremely easy to read, kind of like caricatures of themselves. To a western eye they are way over dramatized, but my Middle Eastern friends tell me that’s the way it is. Up until episode 90 of 100 in the first season the characters also stays true to how they are first presented.

So, this is the cast:

The rich family: mother Dilara who is evil, going crazy all the time. Father Cihan, the good, wise, always balanced head of the family who only occasionally in the heat of the moment knocks someone down. Brother Ozan, a light soul in his late teens most often frustrated and mad about what’s going on in his family. Then of course Cansu, the sweetest teenage girl with a golden heart always open for everyone. 

The poor family: father Özkan who took of to Germany when his daughter was only little, leaving his wife with his debts, he is in German prison when the story starts. Gülseren, the mother with a heart and soul like an angel but also a will power and fighting spirit that can make mountains move. The daughter Hazal is hard to like. She is ungrateful, manipulating and plainly mean. 

These two families of course get entangled when it turns out they have raised the wrong daughters. There is nothing but drama here and in the center of it the good father Cihan and the good mother Gülseren who fall in love with each other. 

I have spent most dinners together with these families for about half a year now. The episodes are only half an hour here in Sweden so they are easy to fit in. Pretty often I watch two though. Three, no, when I do I feel like I have eaten too much candy or something.

It’s interesting watching a story which is differently shaped than the western template I am used to and fed up on. The dramaturgy is pretty much the same, but so much more of everything. It’s constantly over the top and most of the time totally predictable. Once I accepted that, it stopped being annoying and these people became my dinner friends.

I also find it fascinating watching something in a language which is absolutely foreign to me. No words related to anything I am familiar with. Not quite true, they often say bye bye, surprise is the same word pronounced in French, euro of course and taxi, taksi. Other than that it’s just sounds. I love it! And I now even have a few turkish words in my vocabulary.

The story this far has moved over a few years. Cihan and Gülseren’s love is of course inconvenient, to Gülseren even impossible. Cihan is persistent though. His marriage to Dilara is unhappy and unfriendly, although Dilara for the longest time wants to keep it for the status and the honor. Aside of this the dramas within and between the families just keeps coming. Now and then someone is in the hospital in life threatening conditions after severe accidents or shootings. They always survive miraculously and without complications though.

For the longest time you can’t tell if the actors are talented or not, as they keep acting the stereotype of the character, always being the same. But at around episode 90 of the first season something is happening. 

The dad Özkan, who has been mean and pretty much stupid, is showing a vulnerable, exposed and very sad part of himself. You feel sorry for him and even start liking him. Dilara’s character is developing as well. She starts questioning herself, becomes softer, and realizes she is a very lonely woman. 

There is especially one part of this story that really touches me. At Cihan and Dilara’s divorce they are thanking each other for the 20 years they had together, for better and for worse. And for being good parents to their children. Cihan, who is the one moving on, expresses time and time again how he will always be there for Dilara should she need it. And how crucial it is for him knowing what’s going on in her life, because that is what’s going on in his children’s life. In their children’s life. “Dilara, we will always be parents together”. He shows unusual responsibility and awareness about what it is being a parent.

Now, back to episode 85 season 2. I watch it the day before Christmas. Just one more before the Holidays. This is the episode where Cihan and Gülseren after years of back and fourth is finally marrying. The daughters are excited and Dilara has accepted the situation. Özkan is drinking heavily crying, as he wants his ex-wife back.

In the middle of the after-ceremony reception joy the usual drama continues and someone steps in with a gun. The room is filled with guests, but the bullet which is planned for Cihan’s son Ozan, hits Gülsüren as she in her goodness covers the son and gets shot in the stomach. 

We didn’t see this one coming, but why not, this is Paramparça after all. Thinking their marriage will start with some month at the hospital. But that’s not what happens.

Gülseren dies. She dies. Just like that. She really dies. I can’t believe it. You can’t let the main female character get shot and die without planting it in some way, that’s not right!

The day before Christmas Gülseren dies, I don’t have any hot water and Christmas Eve morning my house is cold. And I can’t even see how the story is going to go on with Gülseren dead, that’s not even possible!

But as season 2 is120 episodes, the story continues. After the Holidays I took a deep breath and started watching again. Yes, it continues.

I have grown very fond of my dinner friends. And also the actors who I now can tell has depth and skills. But I will miss Gülseren. The warm angel with the good soul and the big heart. I will miss her dearly.

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