In-Laws

In-Laws (Сваты in Russian; Свати in Ukrainian) is a Ukrainian, Russian-language, sitcom that was on the air from 2008 to 2013. There are six seasons, a film (actually, a musical!), and a few special episodes and spin-offs. Supposedly a seventh season is in the works, but it’s not clear when, if ever, it will be released.

The series is about young married couple Masha and Maksim, and their daughter, Zhenya. In the first season, the parents decide to take a vacation to Italy and leave their daughter with her grandparents; because of a mix-up, both sets of grandparents come to take care of her. Masha’s parents are simple villagers, Maksim’s are urban intelligentsia; they can’t stand each other. Eventually, of course, after a full season of mix-ups and japes, they reconcile. In later seasons, Zhenya continues to solve various family-related problems, often with the help of the ever-present sets of grandparents.

An interesting note about the series is that it’s not clear whether it takes place in Russia or Ukraine—the village they live in is named Kuchugury (Кучугуры), and there are actual villages of that name in both countries. License plates, signs in stores, and money all seem to switch back and forth between Russian and Ukrainian equivalents.

The series has won many awards from Teletriumph (Телетриумф) and Telezvezda (Телезвезда), ranging from “favorite actor” and “favorite actress” to awards for screenwriting and direction. The show has high ratings from Russian and Ukrainian viewers and has often been named the most popular show of the year.

 

Directors: Yuriy Morozov (Юрий Морозов), Andrey Yakovlev (Андрей Яковлев), Edward Radzyukevich (Эдуард Радзюкевич)
Stars: Fyodor Dobronravov (Фёдор Добронравов), Tatyana Kravchenko (Татьяна Кравченко), Lyudmila Artemeva (Людмила Артемьева), Anatoliy Vasilyev (Анатолий Васильев), Nikolay Dobrynin (Николай Добрынин), Olesya Zheleznyak (Олеся Железняк)
Production company: Студия Квартал-95
TV channel: 1+1 (Ukraine)

 

The first episode of the show:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.