Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Soap Dud?

(Cue music) “You don’t know how much I tried, I really tried.” (then fade out)

I gave you a chance. Several chances even. And I have to admit, you were interesting at the start. But oh how fast you quickly sank into clichés and sloppy execution. Yes, you. I am talking to you, My Husband’s Lover.

I mean, seriously? There’s dialogue masked—not ingeniously, if I may add—as a Guide To Straight-Acting Gays 101. There’s the classic “domineering mom and distant dad (who may actually be closeted himself)” family background. Kuh Ledesma’s character is a one-note complaining cardboard.

Speaking of notes, every time I hear the opening bars of the theme song “One More Try,” I feel like throwing a pillow at the screen. What’s with playing Kuh’s song after a couple of scenes? Did they pay an arm and a leg for the license fees? Don’t they know the concept of overkill?

Speaking of overkill, Carla Abellana’s VO is grating in its repetition, as if her character needs to underline again and again and again and again and again and again that She. Loves. Her. Husband.

The pace is slowly grinding to a numb-inducing crawl, replete with repeating scenes and extended “moody looks” shots so typical in TV soaps. So what’s wrong with sticking to TV soap conventions? Wouldn’t that make this gay soap more acceptable to regular viewers?

Yes, we’ve never had straight-acting gay guys as lead characters in a prime-time soap. That itself is cause for celebration. And there are worthwhile elements in the soap. But why stop there? If you’re going to make a soap that breaks boundaries with its subject matter, might as well break boundaries with the execution as well. There’s still time.

Demanding much, you say? Hey, you raised the bar first. Now raise it well.

5 comments:

96b25c64-3a3e-11e0-934e-000bcdcb5194 said...

Do you agree with the statement that watching Pinoy dramas makes its viewers dumb and stupid? I've heard it before from my mom even before Carlos Celdran posted it on his FB page.

joelmcvie said...

@96...etc: I think the statement "Watching Pinoy dramas makes its viewers dumb and stupid" is too broad; it has to be qualified. If you watch other movies and TV shows from other countries, they too have some very formulaic ones that, when watched, make you feel like you've lost a few hundred brain cells. But then there are the exceptional ones; we should be thankful that these make it on air.

Sadly, I find most of our local soaps a little careless in their executions. I'm being kind with using the term "careless." And the usual reason for this carelessness is often economic ("masyadong mahal kung ganito o ganyan"). I long for the day when a local network producer risks his/her pesos to make well-executed material.

(Of course, this is an oversimplification of the industry's numerous problems. But if other movie & TV industries can manage to produce excellent material once in a while, why can't we?)

Nhil said...

I don't think I'll ever stop dreaming of becoming a playwright or a script writer. I believe there are lots of talented Filipinos who can help me bring my works to life. But whenever I try to watch these Pinoy dramas, I get too depressed. I know we can do better. I'm just not sure why they make a crappy result from such an interesting idea. I sincerely hope that some well-known Filipino director could answer that for me.

joelmcvie said...

@NHIL: The director will say, it's really up to the producer. The producer is the one who holds the purse. Even if a director wants a third or fourth take to "get it right," the producer ultimately has the last say on how much time, effort, and money can be invested in making the movie. (Again, my example's a little simplified, just to make a point.) :)

Adz said...

Hi McVie! I would just like to share this with you.

I know this is off topic, but have you already seen the movie 'You Should Meet My Son!'?

It's a great gay comedy movie about a mother's love for his homosexual son.

You can check out the trailer here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=once8DOo71A