Sunday ∗ 26 Jun 2011

too much Torre 1: on Amaya

i’ve begun to call the saturday inquirer Nestor Torre Day: open it on any given Saturday, and there he is dishing it out about local TV and celebrities. now this would be fine, though a bit shameless (isn’t it, to have your name appear so many times in one section of the paper, on any given day?), were he obviously keeping in touch with popular TV and contemporary culture. but this, as he himself reveals, he doesn’t do.

recently Torre raised two things in separate articles (of course) about the epic serye Amaya: (1) Marian Rivera’s acting and whether or not she deserves the title “queen of teleseryes” and (2) Amaya‘s storytelling as predictable over and above a setting that’s nothing but exotic. on the latter, Torre says:

<…> after some weeks in play, the series’ plot line is turning out to be a mere variation on teleseryes’ generic penchant for love, perceived betrayal, revenge, and all sorts of strife and convoluted conflicts.

really now. Torre obviously missed a chunk of this show if this is his assessment of it. he seems to have missed that wonderful father-daughter relationship between Datu Bugna and Amaya, one that was anything but simple, one that was informed by the complexities of honor and trust, of woman power and oppression. and what of Amaya’s refusal to be tied to her hut as binukot, her insistence on being brought out into the night by her uripon, and knowing enough to take responsibility for it when they got caught?



and where is romantic love here, really? Torre makes it seem like this is nothing but a love story, when in fact Amaya hasn’t been shown to care much for Bagani’s fascination with her. in fact, the kind of focus Amaya keeps on her struggle for liberation after her father’s murder is what resonates here: love isn’t on the table, and her heart is not a topic of conversation.

and yet Torre’s saying this is nothing but cliche, and is completely unhappy with this story, which makes one wonder: how much of it has he seen? this tells us how much:

To be fair to Marian, she works really hard to make her latest TV starrer a success—to the extent of “going backless” in some scenes to show how cruelly her character has been punished and degraded. She also shouts and expresses anger with greater unction than ever.

Unfortunately, she looks too fair and soft to be believable as a “warrior princess” in the making. Her crying scenes are still too “hagulgol” to be truly touching. And, her training scenes as a warrior are patently nominal and phlegmatic.

first of all, ser, the bare back is culturally grounded in the epic’s pre-colonial setting: a sign of Amaya turning from binukot to uripong. she is not the first or only one who’s backless in this show, which should tell us all that it’s symbolic for something bigger than just, uh, going backless. second of all, and more important, ser, fairness is a trait of the binukot, a product of her being kept inside her hut, her feet never touching the ground, her face unseen.

as for Marian’s acting, i do wonder what the peg is for good acting as far as Torre is concerned. because i’d like to think that i’d scream too were my father being murdered in front of me; i’d scream too were i being lashed with a stick; i’d cry and scream in defiance when my servants-turned-friends are being lashed as well. were Torre watching this show, he might have a sense of how this louder voice Amaya’s now using is but logical in light of her voice as daughter: playful and loving in equal turns, too intelligent for her own good, smarter and kinder than her half-sisters, hidden as she was. were Torre watching, he would’ve seen this as an evolution of the lead character versus just the one truth about her character.

as for whether or not Marian is the “queen” of teleseryes, it seems but logical doesn’t it, that we look at the terrain of soaps in recent times: lead female characters are few and far between, as the male leads have begun to take on equal if not the more central roles in soaps and seryes across both networks (Coco Martin in Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin, Robin Padilla in Guns and Roses, Richard Guttierez in Captain Barbell, for example). in this sense it’s easy to see that Marian as queen is premised on the fact not just of a network investing in such a huge project for her, but that she’s in this title role at a time when there’s no other show like it.

but too, what Torre fails to consider is Amaya as a show, period. he fails to see how this show’s pre-colonial reality actually works and is difficult to dismiss, which of course would only be apparent if you’re actually watching the show. this is a show that had obviously prepared to take itself seriously, at the same time that it was careful in dealing with its fictionalization of history. and of making sure to create a story of one binukot that can only be powerful as it highlights the possibility of a powerful woman being part of our roots, if not as historically viable ideological truth.

now if all that a reviewer can see in Amaya is simplicity and cliché, then that barely seems like the show’s problem.

Posted in: arts and culture, kawomenan, kultura, TV

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17 Comments/Pingbacks

  1. Midnight Orgasm
    June 27, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Very well said. I read this from the first sentence to last. It is a shame for such a BROADSHEET WRITER like him to simply write without thinking first of what he writes. It is a shame for such a BROADSHEET WRITER to keep on being talkative to the extent of being nonsense and illogical. He really should have started watching the show since its primer before making foul accusations and misleading comments about the show. Watching the show makes one realize that this is not an ordinary program. It is not an ordinary story. The soap opera elements may be present but that does not mean that the show itself is a cliche. True enough, it is never about simplicity. If only he saw the real intention of the show, he would not be as brave as he is now to badmouth a huge project and a long list of people who work hard to make Amaya a possibility. Long live Amaya! Long live the Philippine TV! No to negative vibes.

  2. Dexie
    June 27, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Nestor Torre’s 2nd review proved once again that he doesn’t really watch the show nor does he understand it.

    He failed to see the correlation and significance of a “soft” Amaya turning into a warrior. Amaya was a pampered Binukot, served hand and foot not only by the Hayohay and Uripon, but including her Father. A Datu no less. All of that are gone now, then you add the maltreatment and abuse from Dian Lamitan, Rajah Mangubat, plus Songil and Atubang, Amaya going medieval on all of them would be justifiable at this point.

    From a pampered, spoiled and much loved princess to a beaten slave to the greatest warrior of all time. That’s one effin’ transformation in the making. One for the books.

    As for Marian’s acting, she has poured everything in Amaya and ANYONE who watches every night could see that. There might have been minor things in the beginning but Marian had been proving everyone that she OWNS the title character and the PRIMETIME QUEEN crown. The high ratings would agree as well.

    Warrior Training? Was Nestor referring to the EXERCISES that Datu Bugna taught Amaya when he was still alive? Amaya’s warrior training hasn’t even begun so it’s premature for Nestor to call it phlegmatic. If he’s watching the show then he’ll know that Amaya is in the middle of her Uripon stage.

    In regards to the formulaic teleserye plots of betrayal, love, strifes and convoluted conflicts, Nestor Torre failed again to understand that these actually makes sense in that era(1500’s) when the Datu’s and Rajah’s ruled. There were no judicial laws about slavery, abuse, etc. Unlike today where a punch or a slap could land anyone in jail and a lie faces a libel suit. So if Nestor would really think about it the fights and abuse being seen on timely themed Teleseryes these days are so unrealistic and much more convoluted compare to the Amaya time.

    Nestor Torre can eat Marian, and Amaya’s dust, seriously.

  3. zakzak
    June 27, 2011 at 3:00 am

    i use to love reading nestor torre’s review before, but he’s usually reviewing american movies. i stopped reading years ago, but i do believe that he’s one of those writers who gives sensible review based solely on what he watched.

    after reading his review about amaya… i think i lost all respect for him. its obvious that he didn’t watch the show, more like ask a researcher to watch it for him, jot down notes and he’ll make a review. i can do that too to any local tv shows if i wanted to, but it’s his job to write reviews that’s published in a newspaper and not just any tabloid, so at least be fair and don’t ruin the newspaper’s image. i just thought he’s different from the rest, but commenting on a scene (the warrior training)that doesn’t even exist is just plain lazy.

    next time, if it really kills you to watch the entire show, then at least pretend you did haha! get your facts straight because it’s just too obvious.

  4. Bran
    June 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Maybe I have read one of his reviews before, but this one has caught my attention. Is Torre a Filipino or fucking foreign malign?FYI Mr. Tore, Amaya is endorsed by DepEd and NCCA. Even real rajahs and Datu’s in Mindanao commended and highly appreciated AMAYA for its boldness on taking the steps of showing and relaying the civilization existed before that they themselves want to unravel the legend behind their leadership. I remember one datu in Davao province citing Amaya as highly commendable show as it does not showed just to entertain but to educate as well. “I want to know how i get this datuship in our BANWA. With the help of Amaya, i come to realize that it was marriages arranged by parents had paved my way for the position.” How come he criticize one single aspect of the show which comes out irrelevant and illogical. The themes portrayed in the series are of the same theme we see and recognize in many past soap operas yet the most interesting part is its boldness on taking the backdrop as authentic as it can be. Hate, love, vengeance, competition and rivalry are presented in the most delicate way even touching the very fabric of the rajah’s and datu’s existence. How come he quote it “predictable and just as the others, the story will end up as expected? How brave he was to utter those words when in fact, every detail has been laid out with the help of country’s premier historians. Do you have any serendipity left in your heart with such atrocities towards AMAYA? Do you even consider that behind the success of the show are great actors and actresses in our industry? It does to show your ignorance and your little fagot freaking mind.

    On the same thing, are you damn or some kind of dumb that you cant appreciate Marian’s acting prowess? Across the globe, in Europe especially in Poland; in Middle East, particularistic in Jeddah and Kuwait; in East Asia, singling Malaysia, even as far as Tanzania – these countries are craving for more of the show not just the show’s story and authenticity but as well as Marian’s portrayal of the princess. I am not an avid fan of Marian, but when she came out of the show, I was captivated by the way how she handles difficult line with enigmatic messages filled with so much emotions. Add to that, you could even feel the hate, lose, the loneliness and etc, when she come out even without saying a word. By just merely looking her face and her eyes tell it all.
    IS Torre a fair broadsheet writer? It is his reviews that shows his steep-mindedness. He might be one those good writers but I think it is a penury for him to restudy his field – understand the basics and discover the wisdom to give out in-depth reviews. Well, if you might contest, who would you be likely consider as Primetime Queen? Are there or is there any one out there who could pull out such huge crowd and great magnetic fan-base? Throughout the years, I have never ever seen such female celebrity who top every other shows even lambasting its rival – no one but Marian! Back-to-back hit shows as Miss Kris Aquino emphasized in her POV at the BUZZ! What can you say Mr. Torre?
    Next time if you will comment and give out such reviews, please, review the material first so you will be guided as to where to point out and when to stress out. You are not watching the show in the first place, which gives you poor reviews. i took pity on you. You are such a shame?
    Wait, i think you are doing these to make your name be heard out again? I bet.
    Consider the basics, acknowledge the facts, understand the fabrics and figure out the complexities of the interrelation of the elements of the materials – these are important principles you need to have with Mr. torre before laying a well-thought and well-scrutinized review. Shame on you!

  5. Strawberry
    June 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    can’t help but think that Torre’s peg for good acting is Kris Aquino, who has only one and the same facial expression no matter what emotion the scene would call for :P

  6. anna
    June 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Mr. Torre writes with personal agenda strung on his waist. It shows every time, just have to be observant. May I suggest that you dismiss his thoughts, it’s his. But why does the Inquirer allow Mr. Torre to dish these baloney? Makes me wonder. To PDI, make your entertainment section credible and “entertaining” din. Not awashed in bloody crap such as the write-ups of Torre.

  7. Janette Toral
    June 28, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I totally agree with you. Any teleserye can be dismissed as having common storylines at the moment. Amaya is totally different from the rest. A lot can be learned from it as well as to what our ancestors were like and the class in society that existed before – which is hardly known for a lot of viewers. On Marian’s acting and of entire Amaya cast, I have no complaints on their performance. The men’s dominance / characters in this series is greatly felt which hardly makes it your usual teleserye.

  8. Mj
    June 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

    clearly mr. torre did not do his homework–watch the series Amaya–before he wrote that “nonsense” article. the points he raised are simply ridiculous, if not ignorant.

  9. yssa
    June 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Maybe Torre has no brain on commenting. Only intelelctual people can relate to Amaya. Baka gusto ni Torre ng mga horror stories lang. Anyway it was his stupid comment.

  10. yssa
    June 28, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Gusto rin maki ride ni Torre sa popularity ni Marian.

  11. yssa
    June 28, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Gusto nyang ma known… ang tanda na sa pagsusulat wala pang pinagkatandaan. Pwe!

  12. yssa
    June 28, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Mr. Torre, if i were u mag research ka muna b4 u write. Even Amaya is not shown yet Marian is the Primetime Queen since 2008 when Marimar started, from then on it was Marian’s soap that was always on the No.1 slot sa primetime. Next time pls do ur homework well. Shame on you coz you are not new in the biz.

  13. yssa
    June 28, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Mr. Torre sa tabloid ka na lang magsulat…. Magkano kaya bayad sa matandang to ng mga kalaban.

  14. yssa
    June 28, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Correct Mj…. baka naman may nagbayad, after all he has little time left so he has to grab the opportunity.

  15. yssa
    June 28, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Halata namang bayaran kasi di nga niya napanood since the start tapos may mga comment na ganyan. Talaga lang ha?!

  16. yssa
    June 28, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Mr. Torre, for your ignorance kahit wala pang Amaya Primetime Queen na talaga si Marian Rivera….. Check the records b4 you write NONSENSE!

  17. anonymous
    July 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    hahaha! toomooh! saturday inquirer section is the nestor torre’s-blog-in-broadsheet-format section! kanyang kanya yung buong section! as in! nakakatawa nga e! siguro may budget siya para sa lahat ng bylines, tapos inaako lang niya lahat. panalo!

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