by mh musings
If you enjoy romcoms and enjoy nuanced communication between the lead pair, then look no further than this Turkish romcom, the hit show of the summer of 2019.
- Genre: Romance, Comedy
- Length: 23 Episodes
- Lead Actors: Furkan Andic, Aybuke Pusat
- Rating: 9/10
Recently, The Guardian published a list of 52 perfect romcoms for Valentine’s day in lockdown and one Turkish dizi proudly makes the list. It is the hit summer series of 2019, Her Yerde Sen, starring Furkan Andic and Aybuke Pusat. It narrates the story of architect Demir Erendil, who returns to Istanbul to discover that half his childhood home is owned by a woman, Selin Sever, and to make matters more complicated, he is now her new boss at a local architectural design and construction firm.
The anonymous entrant from The Netherlands who submitted the entry for the list writes, “The show is a breath of fresh air when it comes to romcoms, depicting one of the most balanced and communicative relationships I have ever seen on screen.” At the time of airing, it was the first show I got to experience with the active Twitter fandom for Turkish dizis, and the fans cannot agree more on the selection.
Here are five reasons why Her Yerde Sen is an excellent, empowering and contained narrative, especially as a product out of the dizi world where many shows meander meaninglessly until they are forced to cancel.
Despite a macho and reserved exterior, master chef, zen-loving, domesticated Demir is a feminist at heart, who is sensitive about treating a woman with the respect she deserves. Due to a history of personal baggage, he forbids any office romance and tries his best to evict Selin from the home, but he does not use brute force or his masculinity as an excuse for any of his choices.
Commensurately, Selin is a liberated, intelligent, self-reliant professional woman working in Istanbul, and has no problems expressing herself in assertive ways. From the beginning, their interactions appear to be between two peers, without a stark financial or educational disparity. At one point in the story, when Demir seems to be on the brink of bankruptcy, Selin assures him that she will take care of him, which is a beautiful, positive exchange between two people in love.
From the beginning, we are shown Demir and Selin confronting their problems with each other, neither shy about articulating themselves. There comes a time when Demir and Selin reach an impasse in their relationship, where Demir cannot trust the foundation of their love and relationship. As a funny interjection, we have a fake therapist who gives them nightly exercises that serve as communication tools between them. It is a refreshingly meaningful take on creating healthy relationship goals between a couple as they learn to grow as a couple.
While they go through the various tasks assigned to them, hidden details from the past come to the fore, in raw and honest ways, and there is a mature sensitivity to how each are shown to embrace the information about the other. They both deepen their understanding about their partner, and slowly their insecurities melt away as they learn more. This strain of healthy communication persists throughout the story.
Subtly and overtly, several social and gender stereotypes are presented in liberated ways. As an example, one of the elderly couples who fall in love is a rich spinster and a gentlemanly widower who is a handyman. This is an unusual pairing both from a social status, station in life and an economic point of view. The same gentleman is often shown as the protector for the girls and takes a man to task after his inappropriate behavior towards Selin.
We get some examples of workplace harassment and are shown healthy, positive ways of dealing with them. One, in particular, is very well done where Selin doesn’t appreciate male intervention in dealing with the scenario and she gives an empowering message of how she is taking a deliberate approach such that the fundamental misogynistic mentality would change.
Within several such appreciable themes, one that stands out to me is how positively the male camaraderie is shown, through soulful and meaningful discussions among the characters. Vedat, the voice of calm reason of the male gang, shows an artiste at heart who finds his logic among plants. We do not usually see men being the owners of greenhouses or flower shops; those are traditionally typecast as feminine positions. Vedat owns his role as a landscape designer and proves to be the plot mechanism through whom the script illustrates how the men grow in their characters by learning dynamically through their peer interactions in a progressive world, as opposed to continuing to perpetuate archaic thinking about how men must react to given situations or how they should communicate with women.
Many Turkish dizis incorporate slapstick comedy with caricature characters designed to tickle one into laughter. The comedy in Her Yerde Sen is done in an understated manner, through everyday characters who encounter believable scenarios. Among others, we see a clueless boyfriend make rookie mistakes, or witness the consequences of misplaced senses of stubbornness and pride; and also some great comic skits through well-meaning but meddling mother figures.
This is one show where I found it interesting to watch the side plots as much as I enjoyed the main pair. All the characters have a back story that shape their choices and the subtle comedy fits their personalities like a glove. It is a smart cast of actors who brought their characters to life with finesse.
Selin, in her child-like innocence, always dreams of Peter Pan and Wendy. The way the strain of such a magical element is woven into the story is endearing. Even though Selin and Demir face challenges as skeletons in the closet threaten their budding relationship, they fight for their love and come to understand how to overcome the obstacles, without interference from third parties. Through it all, they do not forget how Peter Pan and Wendy want to hold hands and travel across the world. Their ability to keep dreaming together and learning to be stronger together is beautifully done.
On the surface, Her Yerde Sen is a cute romantic story with decent chemistry between the leads while the narrative moves at a interesting pace. With only 23 episodes, it does not get trying and the characters are well sketched out. It is an enjoyable watch, which is adapted from a Taiwanese original called Only You.
If the concept of equitable relationships is appealing to you then you will love digging into this dizi. There are many script choices made by the female writing duo of Deniz Yesilgun and Esra Cetek Yilmazer, that show empowered women who make their way in the world through positive, assertive choices, and just as many choices that show how men can meet them half way. There is no toxicity in the primary relationships, and this is well-captured in the numerous conversations Demir and Selin share, both at their home and at work.
The cinematography by the director Ender Mihlar is fantastic, and the shared home becomes a character of its own, with its expansive, lush yard, and the well designed, colorful interiors. I had written a number of analytical pieces on my blog when it was airing live, which captures many more details and nuances of why Her Yerde Sen is a masterful romantic comedy and why it appealed so greatly to its engaged audience. Links are provided in the footer for those of you interested to know more.
The show could not garner high enough local ratings when the fall season came back on air, and the two-weeks cancellation notice was announced the morning after the show received the Golden Lens Award for Best Romantic Comedy. Without too much angst-filled drama, the writers did a wonderful job of tying up all loose ends by the finale, giving us a binge-worthy, tight script for a Turkish Romantic Comedy.
Article copyright (c) North America TEN & mh-musings
For deeper analysis and a few episode reviews of Her Yerde Sen, you can go here: https://www.mh-musings.com/home/categories/hys
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