A long distance admirer's view on Si Doel Anak Sekolahan
Si Doel anak sekolahan (SDAS for short) is an outstanding portray of the world of the Indonesian lower class. Peppered with realistic problems, light humour and excellent combinations of casts, SDAS brings you a view of how the poors really live and yet they seem to enjoy lifes even more.
Rano Karno stars as Doel, a young and talented undergraduate working his way to become an engineer where the only problem is that he is too poor. As a hardworking young Betawi man, he divides his time between university and driving the family Bemo (an ancient form of mass transportation, which simply is a modified old wagon). His parents can see that Doel has what it needs to get out of their current living conditions thus, more than eager to make sure that he will experience a happy, prosperous life.
The story goes on, Doel completes his degree, finds the love of his life, gets caught in a love triangle (yes, it happens here too, but it wont be like The Bold And The Beautiful), finds no job (thanks to the Indonesian way of treating the qualified people) and it continues. The story, although appearing light on the surface, is a representation of how these people have to live in a world where everything is set unjust even before they were born. They are caught forever in poverty and simplicity and these are the things that the the series try to show.
The actings are beyond standard. The late legend Benyamin Sueb stars as Doel's father who has a seemingly forever dispute with Doel's uncle, Mandra (as himself). Through Mandra is where the comedy comes. With his slapstick and short-tempered manner, he brings laughs easily to the viewers.
Sadly, none of the current Indonesian soaps ever tries to copy the greatness of SDAS. They are heavily influenced by the Indian and South American soaps with the remarkably unbelievable story lines. Here, the world exists with beautiful people living their beautiful rich lifes with fancy cars and big houses without a problem in their life (except maybe from the envious ex boy/girlfriends). And fortunately none of these soaps have ever stood at the same level with SDAS in terms of the awards won, and international popularity.
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