Apologies in advance to all fans of Filipino telenovelas, but I personally cannot stand many of them >.> Whenever I happen to surf by one of them playing in our local channels, the urge to pitch the remote at the TV is dire and great.
As a result, I am reduced to viewing DVD boxed sets of Korean historical soaps and cable TV broadcasts of Japanese dramas. But in my defence, this irascible dislike of Pinoy soaps is not completely illogical: here are my five very concrete reasons for being massively disappointed with local drama shows.
Lack of Originality
Okay — I’d be the first to admit that J-drama isn’t all that original either, with many of them being adaptations of manga and anime shows. However, these anime and manga are original works by their authors, so that’s a point in their favor. This is not the case with many Filipino soaps, which are either rehashes of older Pinoy soaps, local adaptations of American and Mexican shows — and more recently of Japanese and Korean shows, or mash-ups of popular childrens books, novels, and comics.
Local soaps take too damn long to finish >.> Who can forget the excruciating seven years that it took to finally locate the diary revealing Mara Clara’s secrets?! I certainly can’t — I’ve been subjected to that drivel by various members of our household. A good story needs just ten to fifteen episodes to play out its entire plot. Some of my favorite J-drama spanned a single season (Kimi wa Petto, Strawberry on a Shortcake, and Kamisama Mou Sukoshi Dake), and they held my attention far longer than — say, overwrought “epics” like Darna, Kamandag, or Zaido.
Low Production Values
It is not like we cannot do it — look at the products of the Renaissance of Philippine drama: Mulawin, Encantadia, and Encantadia 2; they had gorgeous costumes, pretty decent set pieces and scenery work, and CG animation that wasn’t half-bad. The effort put into creating the show was good enough to get me to watch, and stick around until the very end — the same way that slicker Japanese productions do.
However, the recent slew of half-assed shows — like my current pet peeve The Last Prince, is making me doubt my initial sentiment that Philippine TV has risen to a new heights. Am I supposed to believe that bad prosthetic work, a clear disregard for details (since when were poor barrio girls traipsing around with false lashes and french-tipped manicures?!), and that stupid stupid stupid plot is an obra maestra of local television?! I don’t think so.
Hana Yori Dango was a teenage romance drama, Nurse no Oshigoto was an afternoon work-centric daily for older women, and Yoshitsune was an evening weekly for history buffs and Taiga drama fans. All these shows are exactly as described on the weekly television guides. But that is clearly not that case for our local soaps — many of the prime-time dramas are described as “family entertainment” by the networks who produce them, yet they feature partial nudity, physical and verbal abuse, and other visuals that are clearly not meant for the audience they are targeting :/
Too Many Advertisements
Have you ever noticed that it is only in the Philippines that you get an hour-long show with only thirty minutes of actual airtime, and the rest being eaten up by commercials? This is clearly not the case with Japanese and Korean shows, since they have ever so politely included an eye-catch before and after every commercial break. Philippine soaps on the other hand air four or five minutes of the show, and then cut directly to a fifteen-minute stretch of insipid shampoo commercials, annoying political ads, and unrealistic face cream “testimonies”. Gawd >.>
Okay, I am done. Thanks to my flatmate Rael and her sister Heidi for humouring me for this post. Now I need a glass of water and a place to lie down. All this ranting cannot be good for my health.