Saturday, January 10, 2015

Korean Versus Pinoy TV Programs: The Big Difference is Plot Quality and Values

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Ki
I and my wife have been enjoying Korean TV soaps for months now over Pinoy ones. The big difference is plot quality and values, not the costly production. Take Empress Ki for instance. You never know what happens next, plots are obviously well thought of, and the intellectual audience is well considered. The scenes are not designed for mindless viewers who make up the bulk of fans clubs and who just shriek whenever their favorite showbiz personalities appear.

And values--you can have your kids watch Korean soaps and never worry about inappropriate scenes. If the scene calls for expressing romantic love between couples, Korean soaps just have the characters hold hands, gaze at each other's eyes, talk closely face to face, or touch lips. Such actions are enough to make the intellectual audience know what romance is going on. Stupid audience will need to see the scene expressed in detail. And Filipino soaps capitalize and specialize on that--what they call "mature roles."

When showbiz minds lack imagination (or actors and actresses lack talent), they resort to mature roles and mature scenes.

We appreciated romantic scenes in Full House, The Heirs, Empress Ki, May Queen, and The Prime Minister and I where kissing scenes are almost nill.

You can expect different plots from the different Korean soaps you watch. Pinoy soaps often have the same plots that bore you to death. Often the only difference between them is the title, but it's the same story plot all over again. Like the Pinoy soaps we saw the past few months--centering on sister feuds, amnesia, persecuted pea-brained protagonists, and the like. And why do they want to glorify sisters or brothers fighting each other to death? Can't they think of something else, something that would add to the values system of society?

Often, we notice how Pinoy soaps merely resurrect past stories and just give them different casts and titles. The story on a girl with a twin monster a few years back, for instance, is resurrected this year, and so on. The same story. This reflects a severe lack of imagination that only fool the unthinking audience. Are writers running out of stories? And stories always revolve around a stupid protagonist who suffers the tricks and persecutions of smart antagonists. Why are all protagonists in Pinoy soaps stupid? Do they want to project that only stupid folks have good characters? In the end, the pitiful protagonist wins by sheer luck. Stories like that appeal only to idiots.

We appreciate how Empress Ki has a smart protagonist and both she (Ki Seung-Nyang) and the antagonists are all witty. So the episodes are actually battle of the wits and you never know how the protagonist would outsmart her opponents and what twist the story would take. Can't Pinoy writers do that? Or are they lazy to use their brains and only want to earn huge easy money?

Most Pinoy actors and actresses are good. They have come a long way compared to their predecessors in the 60s or 70s, for instance. I appreciate Dennis Trillo (though I detest the TV soap they made promoting gays) in the way he can change roles so credibly, unlike, say, how Eddie Garcia does the same acting regardless of the role. Jean Garcia is also quite good.

Pinoy soaps should learn a lot from its Korean counterpart. I'm a nationalist but I know when something foreign beats our own. And I find fake nationalism extremely absurd.

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