Marry Me at Esra Erol

Marry me at Esra Erol is a very famous reality dating show that broadcasts in ATV, one of the major channels in Turkish media. Basically, the participants who are looking for love and relationship talk about their likes, dislikes, financial status and Zodiac sign. People who are interested in the participants generally join the show by calling. Both parties ask questions they wonder about each other’s personal preferences and status (mostly about financial status). The Zodiac council, the program host  and the audience give their opinion about this potential couple. If they agree, the folding screen between them is removed and they face off each other. Normally the concept of the program is well-established in context of communication. The main issue that makes this reality show controversial among Turkish society is the profile of the participants and the awkward questions they ask each other. Although there are some exceptions, the participant profile mostly includes the uneducated working class men  and women who occupy more than 30% of Turkey’s population. Actually the show can be thought as a dating website for adults who are not familiar with the technological advancements in the “dating science”.In the show women are generally interested in men who have reliable social security, certain amount of money and accommodates. If the candidate has an apartment or a car, the first thing woman ask is if they can transfer the ownership of the property to themselves as a sign of their interest and seriousness. Also participants sometimes give absurd answer to questions. Esra Erol, the host of the show, asks a man if he drinks alcohol since Turkey’s Muslim community forbids the drinking. The man replies: “I am a passive drinker.”  Such conversations make me wonder about the type of community we live in and the notions they believe in. If a foreigner would evaluate Turkey based on this program, he/she might accidentally think that Turkey is the most capitalist country in the world and a value of a person is measured by the amount of money he/she has in the bank. Additionally the Zodiac advisor is another indication of the low education level of Turkish people as they believe the positions of Sun, Moon and other intergalactic elements can determine how their love life is gonna be shaped. Unfortunately  the participant and audience profile of this show can be true for the large portion of the population in Turkey who are mostly uneducated and who live in the rural areas. The show is mostly criticized for the content because it airs in the morning period and the kids who are watching these types of shows can have mislead notions about the community they live in and the values they have.

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