Ask-ı Memnu

In the article “Social Class and Family on Screen: Do Prime Time Television Series Create Images of Family in Turkey”, Zeynep Guven argues that Turkish TV series create us a stereotypical portrayal of family. She mentions that these portrayals are directly related to social classes in which the family belongs. Her claim is that upper-class families that are shown in TV series are deemed to be irrelevant with “real life”. According to her, TV series creates us an “evil” image of these upper-class families because people from these families are arrogant, spoilt, passionate, self-centered and vengeful.  Controversially, working-class families’ are figured to be “the appreciated model” for Turkish people. People from these families are respectful to their families, they don’t embody malice feelings towards the others and at the end of the day, they are the ones to be happy despite all the economic and sociocultural disadvantages they have. To reinforce the ideas of Zeynep Guven, we will investigate one of the well-known TV series in Turkey.

Aşk-ı Memnu is a TV series which was released in 2008 and finalized in 2010. In this series, the impermissible love between Bihter and Behlül (Bihter’s husband’s nephew) comes up into the picture. In this TV show, we get into the lives of a very rich family and their servants. Behlül and Bihter both belong to rich families and they don’t have worries about making a living. All they care about is their love, no matter how unethical is.

In this series, people from the upper-class are shown to be exactly the same way as defined in the introduction. To illustrate, Bihter’s mother is a woman who caused her husband’s death by cheating on him and she has no regrets about it. Her fear is to lose her money and statue, so by making her daughter marry Adnan she guarantees that she will not lose her statue and money. When she realizes the passion between Bihter and Behlül, she tries to prevent this relationship by contrivances. Bihter, who marries Adnan just because she knows that her mother have feelings over Adnan, shows no respect to her family. She risks everything just because she has feelings over Behlül.

At the end of the series, there is no happy ending: the family is destroyed. As the attitudes of the characters, the final also reinforces the theory of Zeynep Güven. The upper-class families are deemed to be destroyed and to have bad fate. Because they are the evil ones, they are the ones that lose.

P.S: A part from the final scene can give you an idea about how dramatic this family ends up.



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