With the great premise of going off into the universe and documenting the experiences of how we all move through our own world, OWN’s special Culture Shock took us into three different cultures and gave us different perspectives on how each looked at love and marriage and the world. Through the eyes of a camera and some insightful interviews, Culture Shock brings us inside the lives of a few people around the world, highlighting that while we may not be geographically aligned, our hopes and dreams are very much the same.
Traveling through Russia to an extravagant marriage, producer and correspondent Lauren Terp brings us a piece of understanding that looks very closely like many you might see today in your own world. A young couple, excited for marriage and even going through similar steps of learning dance moves to wow the wedding audience. While the story of love looks similar, the producers manage to take us on a social journey of the history of the culture and what has evolved from a closed, communist land to a growing social environment. As the world changes, so do the people and this look gave us the inside story of an enchanting couple, Mischa and Adele, very much in love and moving through the motions of getting married. This love story binds the hour, but the stories intertwined from the different regions, show a different view of love and relationships through the world.
While stopping in India with producer and correspondent Rawan Jabaji, we spend some focused time with Farooqi, a matchmaker who finds love and brings it to you. In a country rich in tradition of arranged marriages, his job is to match those who are looking to get married with each other. Like a job resume, each person fills out a marriage resume and his “head hunter” mindset tries to find the best match for each person. While his office is the streets and families homes of the people he’s working for, the show also gives us a little perspective of his own married life. In a progressive society that is deeply rooted in tradition where open dating doesn’t happen and spending time with someone of the opposite sex is often family arranged, it’s difficult for his wife to accept him spending time with his female clients. Traditions might be regionally rooted but understanding emotions crosses all boundaries.
Finally, the Culture Shock team with producer and correspondent Lindsay Wile takes us into the lives of two young women who are kept mistresses in China. While we watch the young 21-year-old, Yuki, who talks of her small village and of how these choices of living with her boyfriend are something that is great in her life, it’s still a little heartbreaking. Seeing someone so young…but then again, it’s a culture and while shocking, this happens many places. Then, the team takes us to someone just a few years older, Gigi, who has had a son with her married boyfriend and has become the ”second family” for him. She lives what appears to be a nice life, well taken care of and for the most part, on her own without having to worry about her boyfriend too much. While she sets up the illusion of independence, she does let Lindsay know that her boyfriend doesn’t know that she is taking part in this show and then, the film crew is quickly rushed out of the apartment to hide in a nearby hallway when we think the boyfriend is coming over. Social practices that may have some cultural history is a place that is called “Mistress Village” in China, but understanding emotions that cross all time zones and languages.
So while Culture Shock is giving us look at love and marriage in different worlds and all those with open hearts looking to change their lives through marriage and relationships and the practices that are common in their societies, these stories highlight that even though thousands of miles and centuries of rooted history and tradition often point to our differences, it is really the human experience and our journey through life that shows us just how similar we all are. We hope that OWN and Culture Shock return with more specials to show us just how connected we all are.