Monday ∗ 03 Jan 2011

2010’s top TV (and showbiz) distractions / destructions

Now this obviously cuts across networks, so that is its limitation as well: I can’t quite watch two soap operas at the same time, though I will try all the time. There is no list that isn’t biased, and this one for Pinoy TV and showbiz in 2010 is also a measure of my own personal taste for that which is different, and new, and sometimes a  bit inane.

John Lloyd Cruz in a genre all his own. Because he can apparently sell everything from biogesic to fruit juice to crackers, tuna to pancit canton, and just might have singlehandedly brought back Greenwich Pizza in our lives. Of course he has a whole barkada in those commercials, but really now, that’s every other barkada we have. What works in the end is that John Lloyd is so willing and able to make a fool of himself, and to create this image of being the every guy in a co-ed barkada. And even when we hear him admit to girlfriends, and we hear rumors of vaginal locks in his life, in the end all that remains really is John Lloyd as the every boy, like a Juan dela Cruz without the indio or the konyo, and just a whole lot of middle class charm.

middle class john lloyd sells magic

An Aljur seems to be in order. Aljur Abrenica opened the Cosmopolitan Bachelor Bash for 2010, with the confidence that we still rarely see in our men after Richard Gomez decided he could just row his way in an ad and wear briefs in a fashion show. Sam Milby just lost so much luster compared to Aljur, also because the former just seemed so darn uncomfortable the whole time he was on stage; it also didn’t help Sam that the new and improved Christian Bautista came before him, who undoubtedly new to strut his new, uh, assets. Aljur meanwhile, had us asking for more, and we wanted to see him on that stage again. After seeing what seemed like hundreds of topless men, that can only be a measure of Aljur’s presence. He’s playing Machete in a GMA soap for 2011; you know what channel I’ll be on for that timeslot.

more more more aljur!

The Currency of the Kantoboys. If you don’t know who they are, then you are missing something. Composed of Luis Manzano, Vhong Navarro, Billy Crawford (without the Joe), and John Lloyd, and an ASAP XV original, the Kanto Boys go against the grain of on the one hand the now defunct Hunks, and on the other just the standard metrosexual. There are no perfect pretty boys here, instead there is imperfection, one that’s borne of silliness, and these four boys’ willingness to make fools of themselves, with poker faces throughout any performance. It’s an anti-macho creation that just works. That they remain cute — if not become cuter — is well, just their luck.

The Class of Dennis Trillo. Is really borne of a seeming ability to keep the ego from getting bloated, and doing roles regardless of whether they keep him bida or not. In the past year, we saw Dennis recovering quietly from the noise of young fatherhood and messy relationships with equally noisy girls, and the recovery seems to have lent itself way to some really good performances. His supporting role in Mano Po 6 in the 2009 MMFF saw him holding his own in front of Sharon Cuneta and ZsaZsa Padilla; in the recent Rosario, short as his role was, Dennis’ Alberto engaged the audience in the game that he was playing with Rosario, his looks of desire and anger seemingly directed at us, too. You can only imagine what he’s done on TV the past year, without having to sell the bad and the good about his life.

The impossibility of quiet for Kris. To begin with, I don’t believe that if we don’t like Kris Aquino then we should just stop watching her; the truth is, we CAN’T not watch her anymore because she is everywhere in local culture and now in politics as a matter of being presidential sister. And no amount of grand statements from her siblings telling her to shut up has apparently worked, though I think the worst part of this industry of oversharing that Kris has created is that she can’t even keep quiet about the more sordid things in her life. No, not her separation from James, but the fact that she and her kids got foot and mouth disease in 2010. Yes, we didn’t need to know that.

The value of fashion in the soap. I will not go so far as say that this soap changed the landscape of Pinoy television, because I still haven’t seen success the way Amor Powers and Claudia (Eula Valdes and Jean Garcia) had it in Pangako Sa’yo. That one changed the way people looked, and even what people smoked (because Amor would smoke those thin girly cigarettes that came in different colors). But I will grant the soap Magkaribal this: it was new in its use of fashion as context, and it bravely cut across class lines by showing divisoria and international fashion shows, modistas and couturiers. It also showed us how Enchong Dee and Erich Gonzales can in fact outshine practically everybody in that soap. The storyline of course, is old. But the storytelling? Quick and fabulous. It didn’t even need to star Gretchen Barretto, though I imagine that would mean less fab clothes on the show.

one soap on fashion, and with a whole lot of it, too.

Speaking of clothes and production values, the Filipinized version of the Koreanovela Endless Love had the best of it, too. As original a retelling as it could be (much like the Filipinized Kim Sam Soon), with an interweaving of Pinoy values and the original Korean, the sad and melancholy narrative was given justice by what was fantastic production design that created images of space and characters that were familiar, yet quieter and different from the usual. It also allowed for very calm and controlled performances from its actors, which is rare in these shore where good acting still means kicking and screaming.

this image of calm and quiet and color. via the Endless Love forum:

Singing in soaps. Yey! for Diva the rags to riches, ugly to pretty, anonymity to fame story that starred Regine Velasquez and put Mitch Valdez back and acting on TV! That show didn’t just have some good singing, it had an honest storyline that was only possible because Regine was willing to play ugly and vulnerable to the hilt.

rags to riches, ugly to pretty, the daring of regine

Singing soap number two this year was Sarah Geronimo’s IDOL, a wonderful show that successfully played around with old songs and made them new. It also made Coco Martin sing, *fawn*, forced us all to contend with Jovit Baldivino’s talent, and reminded us that Sam Milby is in fact a singer who’s better than many of his time.That IDOL ended too soon was just sad for an audience that would’ve been at least entertained differently from watching another Koreanovela or fantaserye.

Sexy soaps so early? O uso na ba ulit ang kamison? Mother Lily must be so happy she inspired it all. And though I understood the sexiness in Ruby before, as well as in Kristine now, those shows were on primetime. Something feels wrong about Alyna and Sabel being in the early evening timeslots. Are we presuming that kids are taking their siestas and therefore not watching this? This change in afternoon programming on ABS-CBN is actually baffling, especially since GMA has kept at family dramas for pre-primetime slots. My only question really, is: medyo maaga — literally — for the suggestion of sex, donchathink?

too early for the magic kamison on tv eh?

and always, a kamison in the field for more innocence.

No time like noontime. To be arguably highly contested and to be changing as we go from one week, one month, to another. And I don’t even mean the failure of Pilipinas Win na Win regardless of its hosts; I mean Showtime still being the entertaining show that it is, on this full year it had on TV, and given the same set of core people within it. I mean it’s not just about comedy for Vice Ganda, it is also about talent and creativity, and I can only continue to be fascinated at the things that Teddy and Jugs are able to do within the show without losing their rakenrol, and Ryan Bang is just funny the more serious he is about being an effective judge.

ryan bang is funny and sincere and one korean who just might last on tv. photo via:

Now Eat Bulaga is Eat Bulaga, and it has kept us tuned in not just by creating what is now a nationally known game that is Pinoy Henyo, but also by discovering a bunch of people who work as an ensemble hosting the show. In their segment All For Juan, Juan For All, it is Jose, Wally and Paolo who go around a barangay and do the giveaways and the easy pa-contests, while Vic and the rest of the hosts watch and coordinate from the stage of the live show. That this set-up can even elicit laughter is a measure not just of Vic’s and Joey’s ability at keeping things going, but a measure of all of them hosts, especially those sweating it out in mass households, and finding the ability to do witty repartee. In the past year, the Eat Bulaga discovery who rocked it was Ryan Agoncillo, doing his bit with the comedy, willing to get slushed when needed, ready to be silly. In the end, this is really a non-match between Showtime and Eat Bulaga, which is to say that they’ve got me perpetually switching channels at noontime.

Will the move of Willing Willie from primetime to noontime on TV 5 change anything? Maybe only in so far as sponsors are concerned: if there’s anything that Willie proved with his network move, it’s that he can bring his sponsors with him and these can be enough.

Personal showbiz lives online. And if you’re there and following the right people, you realize that there is now an amount of transparency maybe? Or truthfulness? for showbiz stars who can handle it. Which means that they won’t deny photos they post online, or the people they’re seen with in those photos. In the past year I thought it was wonderful that #thevamps made up of Angel Locsin, the Magalona sisters, the Paraiso siblings, Chito Miranda among a bigger barkada came out as friends on Twitter, with photos and stories to boot. Right there you realize that the celebrities who have nothing to hide  will not be afraid to use, and be present in, social networking. Definitely a high point, if not the best example for any person, celebrity and otherwise, who’s online: your self here is but a version of your real self, the ill-bred in person in real life, can also only prove ill-bred online. Decency cuts across the real and virtual worlds, just in case you didn’t know.

Sincere Sisterhood. That also cuts across three generations, why not. Sharon Cuneta’s and Judy Ann Santos’ friendship began with the movie Magkapatid, and has since been proven stable and special. In the past year the Judai-Sarah Geronimo movie Hating Kapatid meant a repetition of that kind of friendship, which has since included Sharon. Now that’s three generations of a sisterhood that seems to be grounded in common values and a very clear sense of class. We can only be thankful for the classy given the default of shamelessness in showbiz.

classy sisterhoods.

Magalona-mania. And I don’t just mean just Maxene anymore who’s just super model material and who we saw grow up on TV. Instead: Elmo who’s been spreading his wings via Party Pilipinas, probably the one reason I even switch back to that show on Sunday noons. Within the Julie Anne-Elmo tandem, there isn’t just a whole lot of talent, but also a confidence between the two of them that can only be about the fact that they know what they’re doing in the midst of so many other more experienced performers. By himself, one never catches Elmo uncertain about what he’s doing, and there is are no pretensions in his performances, just a whole lot of his father’s blood, who he can only be doing proud.

elmo rocks his innocence. photo via:

Another Magalona who I thought consistently rocked it? Blogger Saab, whose notion(s) of the world are always spot on, including when she speaks about blogging and social networking, about young stars turning bad, or just the images and lives that fill our every days.

saab speaks. photo via

TV 5! If you haven’t tried TV 5 yet, then you are, at the very least, missing out on an alternative. At this point in time, it’s still hit or miss, but there are some pretty stable entities on TV 5, such as Talentadong Pinoy which has Lucy Torres-Gomez, Richard Gomez and Ruffa Guttierez as regular judges, all with disparate things to say that are sometimes funny, usually always entertaining. There’s Paparazzi, which is just as inane and absurd as the two other Sunday showbiz talkshows, but at least it’s got a little more, uh, chutzpah given Mo Twister and Cristy Fermin. And my personal favorite Sapul sa 5 in the mornings.

sumasapul every morning.

The latter of course is part of the bigger project of TV 5’s News and Public Affairs to be different, though I think they just did it most successfully for Sapul. Why? Because unlike the two networks, here is a morning show that still dares — and has the time — for real conversation among its hosts, be it about the issues of the day, or about love, almost always with a sense of humor, and an off-tangent creative perspective courtesy of either Lourd de Veyra or Erwin Tulfo, and recently pinch hitting Amy Perez (who they should really keep in the show). If you haven’t switched to this show yet, you really should. If you haven’t even thought about TV 5 in the course of the past six months, then it might be about time you do. Give Shalani Soledad’s hosting a try, you’d be surprised at the amount of calm and collectedness she emanates, and seems to  require of you. She’s also become more relaxed and can now elicit an amount of laughter given Willie and funny guests.


That’s 13, which is a good number to stop at, I think. Here’s to a 2011 that’s filled with network wars that mean more creative shows!

And hopefully: less Kris and Boy, less Korina and Noli, more decency and sincerity from TV and the business of show. Because it is possible, as some of 2010 has proved to have more class and breeding, less narcissism and more sincerity. Come on 2011, for the win!

Posted in: entablado, iconography, internet, kalalakihan, kapitalista, kawomenan, kultura, pelikula, star creation, tugtugan, TV

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