Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Problem of Filipino Telenovelas

The passing of my Kuya Buddy left a big void in my daily life. Well, now I spend most of my time (other than working) reading books,  debating my own ideas, talking to the dogs, staring at the aquarium,  thinking a lot of things... Yeah, but experts says over thinking is bad.

So I have no choice but to watch TV. Getting cable is a bad idea, I am not in the position to have an additional monthly expense bill. The same of having my own Internet. It would be fun to watch YouTube daily but… I also don't have a cellphone, or  anything that will give me access to the society outside  this box where I live.

OK, so the only entertainment other than radio is the Idiot Box. And what kind of shows you'll see in TV today? Other than news about bad news, there are some English movies that were given a very nauseating Tagalog dubbing, there are also the Korean dramas that treated women like pieces of Asian shit, and there are these Filipino telenovelas.

I am not new with these telenovela things. Back in the 70's there were shows like Flordeluna (with the very young Janice De Belen) and Ana Liza (the show that made the late Julie Vega a house hold name). There was also this show called "Gulong Ng Palad." (Who would forget Luisa and Karding?)

I also watched Tagalog shows back then (hindi naman ako elitist no.) There were good shows like "Pintig" (with the late Vic Vargas) and the drama anthology "Balintataw." Ok, enough of the memory lane.

One thing I've noticed with todays telenovelas. Filipinos always love a weak hero. Yung bang laging naaapi. The heroes are so weak in these telenovelas to the point that the show becomes so disgusting. Yung tipong araw-araw na lang eh wala na atang magandang kapalaran yung bida. He/She always makes a wrong move and the villain is always ahead of him/her. In addition, the hero (or heroine) is surrounded by nincompoops. So, in order to see how the protagonist win, you have to watched the whole damn show till the end of the series.

Not that I am saying that the lead should be stronger than the antagonist. According to Lajos Egri (If you're into dramatic writing, you know who's this guy) villains should be stronger, brighter, wealthier compare to the hero - the reason is to make the Hero's Journey (Joseph Campbel eh?) interesting. Para naman may challenge. But then, there must be a transition. Putcha naman! Ang tagal-tagal na ng show na The Step Daughters, haggang ngayon hindi pa rin nagkaroon ng transition si Mayumi? 

As Lajos Egri said, "any character which does not undergo a basic change is a badly drawn character."  Growth ( of the character) is a character's reaction to a conflict to which he is involved. A character can grow through making the correct move, as well as the incorrect one-but he must grow, if he's a real character. Example, in the show The Step Daughters, ang tagal ng api-api yung character na "Mayumi" (played by Megan Young)  we should have seen her character to change (as the show progress) especially when she had the opportunity na magkaroon ng sariling bussiness, we should have seen her changed from the  self-effacing, witless girl to a more mature woman that is stronger and wiser.

Another issue is the strength of will of the character. A weak character (the usual protagonist of a Filipino telenovelas) cannot carry the burden of protacted conflict of a play ( or a TV show) What we need are characters who have the strength, the stamina, to carry the conflict of the show. Speaking of which, because of these kind of weak heroes, we Filipinos tend to make vulnerability a virtue. This is bad. Filipino telenovelas teaches us to become meek and weak. That being inferior is a good thing.

Eh melodrama naman kasi yan eh. 

Melodramas have faulty transitions yet the characters move with lightning speed. Mabilis ang phase ng characters and situations. Yet, melodramas are so phony! Their situations are not applicable with the real world. Good examples of these are those Mexican Telenovelas like Marimar - but, Filipino dramas lack the character speed. Faulty na nga ang transition, mabagal pa. Ewww.

Filipino telenovelas also have a lot of subplots! Phew! To the point that it makes the whole fucking story like a ride on a defective Roller Coaster. Hindi mo na malaman kung saan papunta ang story. Ano ba talaga ang issue, yung pagnakaw ng ticket? Yung pag yaman? Yung mother na nabaliw? Yung kidnapping? Yung ligawan? Yung agawan ng lalaki? Ano ba talaga? 

Minsan bigla pang magkakaroon ng additional stories ang ibang mga telenovelas para lang mag-give way ang show sa walang kakwenta-kwentang tambalan ng mga young stars na walang paglagyan because of total absence of talents. And speaking of walang talents, since hindi kasi marunong umarte yung lead male actor, maghuhubad na lang yan para mapakita yung muscle abs nya to compensate on his inability to act. An obvious take on GMA's new teledrama - I think the letchon is a better actor. Geeezzz!

Well, ganyan daw kasi ang mga stories na kumikita at bumibenta sa masa eh. Basta panoorin nyo na lang. 

Oo nga naman. Dross is cheap so let's just keep feeding the masses with cheap stories, faulty plots and weak characters.   Kung yan lang naman ang motivation para maging script  writer matapos  maka-graduate ng Mass Communication, eh  sana nagtayo na lang ng PisoNet tutal, barya lang naman ang hinahabol hindi yung creativity at yung pagiging outstanding na writer.

Shows are more than just cheap entertainment. They teach us, they mold us. Weak characters, weak plots, weak stories produces weak  audience. Compare to dacades long ago, we now have a society where our youths are becoming half-baked degenerates and it is sad to  think that the medium that should be use for the advancement  of the Filipino mind is now a receptacle that propmotes mediocrity -  thanks to these telenovelas.

*****
Friday (May 18)

That's the last draw. The show is really so stupid I have to turn the TV off. I hope that someday, Filipino script writers will have the ability to create better programs. 

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