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Love Me As I Am
by Betty Jo Tucker

As Iíve mentioned before, my husband and I are addicted to Turkish TV. We just finished binge watching Love Me As I Am (Beni Boyle Sev), a Turkish series with 89 episodes on Netflix. We felt trapped in Istanbul yet didnít want to get out. This three-season series is the closest to a Turkish romantic comedy we have seen yet Ė and we loved it. Granted, we almost took a vacation at the start of Season Three, which takes place five years after the Second Season ends. We were disappointed when so many favorite characters were absent and new ones introduced. But we decided to remain loyal to the fascinating characters who remained. Happily, we made the right decision.

The plot focuses on the ups and downs of true love. Itís about Aysem (Zeynep Camci) and Omer (Alper Saldiran), two university students who fall in love quickly after meeting each other and want to get married. Twenty-year-old Aysem is from a small village and was raised by her caring father (Guven Kirac), who makes delicious meatballs. Twenty-two-year old Omer comes from a wealthy urban family. None of the parents want their offspring to marry each other. In fact, Omerís father ((Altan Gordum) is one of the most evil -- though incompetent -- bullies ever seen on T.V. He creates all kinds of devious plans to keep the couple apart, even after they get married.

As the story unfolds, we meet Aysem and Omerís friends who help them with their many problems. We also meet their enemies who work hard to separate them. And we enjoy watching the lovebirds deal with everything that comes along regardless of how ridiculous or dangerous each situation becomes. However, sometimes Aysem and Omer are their own worst enemies. Aysem even admits sheís overly stubborn and Omer tries too hard to please his parents.

Emphasis on friendship is one of the most charming elements of this wonderful series. In many episodes, various friends take a front seat. For example, thereís Haluk (Erdem Akakce), a middle-aged man who comes back to the university to finish his degree. His bulky, hairy appearance seems frightening at first and his conversation doesnít make much sense, but he grows on you. And thereís Fahriye (Bala Atabek) with her blog thatís supposed to help people but backfires on her. Also, her ditzy roommate Reyhan (Burcu Altin), who stages a fake marriage ceremony to win back her ex. Plus, thereís Mayzar (Umut Kurt), a very handsome man muddled about marriage proposals. There are too many more to mention -- and I fell in love with them all.

Watchable acting, crisp cinematography, glorious long emotional close-ups, and excellent background music add to the pleasure of viewing Love Me As I Am.                         

Can true love last through ups and downs,

with kisses, hugs and even frowns?


Aysem and Omer make this work

with help from friends who never shirk.


But they give back to everyone

their loyal hearts and sense of fun.


ďLove Me As I AmĒ rings so true.

Itís a series to delight you.

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