After almost a month of watching Face to Face, the Filipino version of America’s The Jerry Springer Show, I shamefully admit that I am a fan. There’s something about conflict resolution with a live studio audience that makes this sort of twisted entertainment irresistible to watch.
It amazes me how boring my life is compared to the weirdly stupid, yet even more weirdly, real stories that happen to the people on the show. Though the customary sabunutan is entertainment enough, the plot or life stories of those poor unfortunate souls puts our screenwriters to shame (as if they weren’t shameful enough).
For example, have you ever heard of a man who left his wife because he was allegedly blackmailed by a prostitute who threatened to have him killed if he left the latter? Furthermore, the plot thickens when he finally breaks free from his mistress after her murderous uncle dies in a gang fight and he wants to go back to his wife. And by the way, IT’S BEEN SEVEN YEARS SINCE HE LEFT HER.
How about this? Have you heard of a girl who was verbally and physically abused by her mother-in-law who then turns to a lesbian friend whom she eventually grows fond of, resulting into the lesbian verbally abusing the mother-in-law as a show of love? But wait, there’s more. Her lesbian friend’s mother had, once upon a time, an affair with her mother-in-law’s husband THEREBY MAKING HER (the lesbian) THE HALF-SISTER OF HER (abused girl) HUSBAND!
The list of complicated stories goes on and on, some with guests defensively admitting to attempted rape with the girl actually finding the idea so flattering, because ang sarap ng pinag-aagawan ka.
Oo nga naman. ANG SARAP NG PINAG-AAGAWAN KA. Ma-try ngang magpa-gang rape, I’m so bored eh.
Star Cinema and Viva Films have got nothing on these guys. No Other Woman and I love you, Goodbye are a walk in the park compared to the real life issues Filipinos encounter every day, many of them happening in the slum areas of our country. I’m saying this with Anne Curtis’ over enunciated English because she was supposed liberal and bitchy in “No Other Woman” as she came from New York (credits to Jessica Zafra for this analysis).
I really want to ask what Filipinos find entertaining these days. In terms of celebrities, Manny Pacquiao, Anne Curtis and, more recently, Jessica Sanchez and CJ Corona, seem to fit general patronage, more or less.
For Pac-Man, I don’t really understand what’s up with him and the weird way that people associate his won fights with the existence of the Christian God (he always shares the limelight with God and prayer, did you notice?)
Anne Curtis for me is revolutionary the way she transcends different demographics through her sheer marketability, from her high-end endorsements to her cute bimbo-ness as a Showtime host. She even has a “musical” career, in spite of people who say that she can’t sing, because they really do know what they’re talking about. But so what? I call her craft “post- modern music”- one that does not require musical talent but is still paradoxically entertaining. That or she’s just damn beautiful. One friend says that looking at Anne Curtis feels like “sinukuan ka ng Diyos ng kagandahan”.
Jessica, on the other hand, would have been the first almost-Asian American Idol if she had won. This would have made a lot of Mexicans and Filipinos very happy. Heck, let’s just call her the Filipino-Mexican Idol to get it over with and put a salve on all this nationwide bitterness. Paranoid fans out there are saying that it was rigged and racist, that the majority of voting Americans won’t let her win because she’s Asian or that she may like tacos. Well, whatever. The best way to get rid of this issue with racism is to ignore it in the first place. She’s a talented girl and she already has her career set anyway. If people were to just use her for some senseless political statement, well, that’s just sad.
CJ Corona. Haha! Wala akong masabi. Except that maybe our news channels deserve an Emmy for the coverage, although I assume that it was televised for the principle of transparency, it’s practically a teleserye now. I won’t even pretend to know what the hell is going on. I wasn’t one of those pa-socially relevant youth of today cult who are so aware and concerned about everything.
Aside from Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s chilling intelligence and her impeccably accented English, it just wasn’t fun anymore. CJ’s pity party, Enrile being a badass judge or whatever exciting tidbit that happened, came too late in this judicial screenplay to make it worth watching. True enough, they’re discussing real issues but let’s not deny that it has already been sensationalized. It’s like an intelligent yet boring episode of Face to Face, where everything seems scripted—poorly scripted at that.
I’m just waiting for the sentence of the court, because THAT’s going to take a long time to get over with. I can’t wait for us to get over the whole thing and discuss other pending cases like those that concern human rights, education, and the economy. It’s one of those times where I care more about the destination than the journey, or the peak instead of The Climb (whatever Miley Cyrus).
A strange thing is happening with our standards of what is and what is not entertaining. We put politics and issues in what should simply be entertaining and entertainment in what must simply be political and issue-centric. It’s a dilemma on my part because it’s a sickening yet nonetheless entertaining feature on television, from Face to Face to how news channels handle CJ Corona’s court proceedings. As for Face to Face, I’ve questioned myself many times if it is even ethical to televise the whole thing, when private counseling seems like a less embarrassing option. But maybe we learn something, I don’t know, and that makes it okay.
Through it all, media ultimately emerges as the winner, feeding us all this sensationalized gruel because we’re too lazy to change the channel.