Call the script doctor very quick
Have you noticed? More than the usual number of “medical” dramas are being produced on TV and in the movies these days.
The popularity of illness and accident-related dramatics and melodramatics on the small and big screen has been intensified by the fact that many teleseryes are being extended beyond their original lifespan on the tube.
This means that, after the original central conflict and main bone of contention has already been resolved, a storyline has to be stretched further with additional complications and convolutions.
And there’s nothing more speedily convenient to do that than to get either the protagonist or antagonist in a serious accident, or fell him or her in his or her tracks with a sudden, “terminal” illness!
The evidence is all over the boob tube, which is now peopled by myriad patients and victims of accidents or acts of violence galore:
On “Wildflower,” resident senior villain Tirso Cruz III is now stumbling around on crutches, and junior nastie, RK Bagatsing, has undergone a radical transformation into a confoundingly good guy.
On “Ang Probinsyano,” any number of characters have come and gone, or have been sidelined by diseases that strike when the “eternally” extended storytelling needs them the most—which is all the time.
And, some seasons ago, “My Dear Heart” was set in its entirety in a hospital, with a wee heart patient as sympathy- and empathy-inducing protagonist!
On the big screen, depleted scriptwriters resort to medical complications and convolutions with similar urgency: The recent indie hit, “Kita Kita,” had a blind female protagonist (Alessandra de Rossi).
And a teen blockbuster (“Love You to the Stars and Back”) features youths mulling the unexpected brevity of life, and how to find happiness and meaning despite an abridged lifespan.
Medical dramas are similarly favored by filmmakers in other countries, with titles like “Pathology,” “Anatomy,” “Flatliners,” “Sick Nurses,” “Visiting Hours,” “The Hospital,” “Infection,” “Coma,” “Autopsy,” “The Clinic,” “Outbreak,” “Doctor Doolittle,” “Sicko” and “Bad Medicine” making no bones about their specialized sphere of interest!
The best medical dramas ever? On “House, M.D.,” the maverick resident doctor sustained viewers’ interest for many seasons by focusing on extremely puzzling cases—that he brilliantly solved and cured with his crackerjack team of medics.
And, on the big screen, the all-time champion is still “M.A.S.H.,” the bold, brash black comedy megged by Robert Altman, about a group of doctors during the Korean War who tried to keep from going crazy due to all of the violence and blood they had to deal with on a daily basis—by focusing on the absurdity of it all.
It won the Palm D’ Or at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture (it won a trophy for its screenplay).
It pays big-time for depleted TV and film storytellers to seek medical help and rescue—for sure! (Mother, Mother, I am sick—call the script doctor very quick!).
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.