New teleserye starts to falterBy Nestor V. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After an unusually upbeat opening week of telecasts, the new late-morning teleserye “Be Careful With My Heart” is starting to be less of a continuing delight. It’s still quite viewable, but a number of its developments are less than choice.
For one thing, the appeal of its initially cute “fated” reliance on coincidence has worn thin. The two lead characters, played by Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap, keep bumping into each other, like they’re practically the only people living in Metro Manila.
The fact that this is intentionally established to show that they are “meant” for each other doesn’t logically rationalize the fantasticating nature of this plot conceit. Romantic fantasy shouldn’t be taken “logically”? Yes, but only up to a point.
We are also disappointed that a major factor in the show’s initial success, the butch single mother played by Aiza Seguerra, no longer figures as strongly in the story as she used to.
On the series’ opening week, she and Jodi made its storytelling unusually bright and feisty. With the entrance of Richard’s character and Aiza’s character being sidetracked by an injury, the show isn’t as brisk and breezy as it used to be.
Speaking of Richard, we like the fact that the production has “dared” to cast a relative newcomer like him in this central role, but he isn’t faring as well in the series as he should.
What seems to be the problem? He’s playing a dour and strict single father too sourly and strictly. That’s what the role calls for? Uh, not really. That’s playing a type, not a person. Even “nega” characters have to occasionally show their soft and more accessible side. Otherwise, how can viewers relate to and understand them?
Very definitely, Richard has to be more emotionally expressive and “sharing,” even if his character isn’t. The actor has to “humanize” the role, and to interpret him—that’s part of his job. There should be much more to the mature single father than just his strictness and inability to communicate. That’s already been (too) closely established. Now, can we go to other parts of his psyche?
Even Jodi’s portrayal, while still the best thing about this new show, is no longer as winsome and winning as it used to be. Too much emphasis has been placed on her character’s kiti-kiti, mali-mali, pakialamera and leaps-before-she-looks persona to generate humor and boost the show’s laugh track.
As a result, she sometimes comes off as a pushy pest who gets not just herself but other people in trouble—and that’s definitely not a good way for a series’ lead protagonist to go.
Come to think of it, this appears to be par for the course for romantic-comedic teleseryes. In “Princess and I,” Kathryn Bernardo was also made to come off as an unthinking and overeager pest when she was a tourist in the story’s fictive Himalayan country—again, to generate laughs.
As these two series show, the facile ploy quickly overstays its welcome, so we trust that Jodi in “Be Careful” will stop behaving so “impulsively,” pronto.
All told, however, “Be Careful With My Heart” is still doing relatively well, so we’ll continue to watch it. But, please bring Aiza’s character back to fuller focus, so the show can go back to easy, breezy mode.
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