(a) smoke weed
(b) drink like he has ten livers
(c) eat pork like he has no heart
The answer may be all of the above depending on where you’re from. Among people I am acquainted with these days, it’s almost all of the above AND watching telenovelas. For the oppressed, depressed and suppressed Filipino, these shows offer a respite from normal life. They’re like modern weed. They can make you imagine things that don’t really happen in real life and mess with your brain. Of course, their main value is in their ability to help you forget your problems by making you commiserate with or rejoice at the troubles of lead characters.
the telenovela craze has come and gone in waves. The Filipino wave began decades ago when viewers were introduced to the formula: good vs. evil + lots of slapping, hair pulling, Vicks induced tears, nasal mucous + regional bias (probinsyanas in long skirts and city people in Levi’s) = good triumphing over evil without the prospect of a rematch. Philippines
This first wave was followed by the Mexicans. They had the same formula but executed it with more pomp, hair spray, fashion you wouldn’t wear if you were in your right mind and lots of gorgeous women that only our transvestite community can equal.
When we had our fill of unbelievable female beauty, the winds shifted and brought us the
. Who could forget those strange men who had perfectly ironed hair that stayed in place despite adversity; smooth, white underarms despite their gender; and pore-free skins despite the nature of skin? The only great fault of Taiwanovelas was that they had men who were prettier than their ladies. Taiwanese wave
My preferred wave is the recent Korean invasion. Although I wouldn’t be caught dead following a Koreanovela (I have a reputation to uphold) I have caught snippets of their shows. I must admit. They are different and border on going against the norm in our country.
I believe Koreanovelas are among the first to go beyond the typical external drama conflict where man vs. man equals hand to cheek contact and clumps of uprooted hair. They actually have complex characters that are not monochromatically plain good or plain evil. They actually have characters with personalities, evolving principles, changing motivations and inner conflicts that go beyond bowel constipation. In other words, they have created imaginary people that could very well be you or me with life stories that don’t always end happy like yours and mine.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to love my own. I’m just waiting for the right Filipino series. I have my hopes that we will have a better Filipino wave that I would actually want to be a follower of.
Spoiler Alert: I have an excuse to watch some parts of Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi/Legend. It is partly based on history and I am a lover of history. If you plan to watch it, prepare for an ending that will leave you either sad or clueless, as in, “What? Huh? Waaaaaa…?” The triangle they started doesn’t even have a resolution.