Thursday, Mar. 11, 2010

Russia: Zhdi Menya ("Wait for Me")

There is nothing more beloved by Russians than a long, sad story (think Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky), and this show, now entering its seventh year on the air, delivers it in powerful bursts with each and every episode. Structured like a television newsmagazine, Zhdi Menya relates the story of a family or friends who have been separated by a tragic event — quite frequently, something that took place during during the oppressive Stalin years or World War II — then tells the story of their reunification. The stories typically include long descriptions of the tragedy that caused the separation, followed by details of how the producers tracked down the missing person, and end with tearful hugs, accompanied, of course, by shots of the studio audience, almost all of whom are weeping.