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Better comedic scripting support

/ 12:58 AM March 28, 2016
POKWANG (left) and Melai Cantiveros

POKWANG (left) and Melai Cantiveros

The new afternoon drama series, “We Will Survive,” is turning out to be a good costarring vehicle for Pokwang and Melai Cantiveros. This is good news, because both comediennes have been having a hard time finding good TV-film projects to successfully bolster their respective careers.

Their drawbacks include, for Pokwang, her hoarse and “scratchy” speaking voice and age—and, for Melai, her unproductive, scattershot bluster, which sometimes isn’t funny, and her too casual and laid-back “wala lang” comedy “style.”

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Happily, they’re doing better in their new series. Pokwang’s voice isn’t as off-putting as it used to be, and her assigned character is suited to her age.

As for Melai, the new show’s scripting gives her better comedic “support” and helps focus her portrayal, which is a big improvement on her unproductive “scattershot” approach of yore. She still makes “pa-cute” and “pa-ditzy” too much, but she has improved.

About the show itself: It’s appealing to viewers because it’s about two bosom buddies who have been unlucky in love, but keep boosting each other’s hopes that true love with good and honest men will finally come for both of them.

The “survivor” theme may be old-hat, but there are enough “also hurting” women and gays out there to provide the show with empathetic support.

On the other hand, the series is sometimes too gay in tone and “coded” language, and Pokwang and Melai’s characters occasionally come off more as “babaeng bakla” than as authentic women.

Granted, this is a popular style for local comedy-drama, but a more judicious mix would be preferred.

Another substantial drawback to date is the show’s being more dramatic than comedic, with both female protagonists’ woes upstaging their ostensibly upbeat and slap-happy view of life.

The new series is supposed to be different from the many totally melodramatic and “operatically tragic” teleseryes out there, so it should nix the downers and “up” the “smilers,” instead.

Finally, the series’ progression is too slow for its all-too-obvious story arc. We know darn well from the get-go that Melai’s clueless and overly trusting character will be duped by her smooth-talking admirer and end up in the family way—so, why take a week to confirm the obvious plotting?

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Speed it up, please—viewers are antsy for real plotting surprises, not for formulaic development they can see coming a mile away.

Back to the series’ leads: At this point, it’s Pokwang who’s making a better impression, all told, because her character, Vilma, is more proactive in problem-solving, while Melai’s Maricel is so clueless and ditzy that Vilma has to keep picking up her pieces.

This is OK for starters, but we hope that the time will soon come for Maricel to learn from her sad and silly experiences, so that she will become a similarly self-sufficient survivor, instead of just depending on her best friend to clean up her mess.

After all, the series is titled, “We Will Survive,” and not “Lean On You!”

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