Showcase for thespic greats’ ‘evolved’ performances
This month, we join many other viewers and reviewers congratulating “Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK)” on its 25th anniversary—the longest-running dramatic anthology program not just on Philippine TV, but in all of Southeast Asia.
On “Asap” recently, the show was fittingly honored with a star-studded capsule retrospective, and its host producer, Charo Santos, was lauded by the many luminaries in attendance.
With genuine feeling, they not only thanked her for the dramatic inspiration the show provides to many televiewers, but also for gifting them with the challenging roles to portray, in order to bring out the very best in them.
The “Asap” tribute reminded us that the first “MMK” telecast featured Robert Arevalo and Romnick Sarmienta—a fine pair of actors “representing” different thespic generations.
It would be great if, in the course of this anniversary year, Robert and Romnick would be cast together again in a similarly exceptional “MMK” drama!
For our part, we have been writing about “MMK” episodes through the years, underscoring particularly significant achievements that some viewers may have missed.
On the less positive side, we have occasionally critiqued the show when it hadn’t lived up to its avowed dramatic objectives.
A particularly delicate point we’ve been making is the show’s occasional tendency to go into “omniscient,” “narrative,” “retrospective” dramatics and storytelling. By this we mean the production’s tendency to “telegraph” an episode’s dramatic outcome.
Since the show’s scripting is based on actual experiences of letter senders, the resolution of some conflicts are narrated instead of actively dramatized. This “omniscient” approach sometimes saps the vitality of an episode’s all-important denouement, and thus it makes it more “expected” than truly “earned.”
The fact that this narrative abridgment happens toward the end of an episode makes it all the more passively “retroactive,” rather than dynamically and emotionally achieved.
We can’t say for sure, but this problem appears to have diminished on the show of late—so, perhaps our notes have had some effect?
All we know is that from time to time, Charo says she reads us regularly and reacts to the notes we make on specific “MMK” episodes—so, we’re all grateful in return for the affirmation.
What’s up next for “Maalaala Mo Kaya?” A trailer of future episodes hints at even bigger and brighter things to come, with episodes on some minorities shot in far-flung provinces, and more dramas involving Filipinos living and/or working abroad.
It’s heartening to see, as well, that some episodes have been lined up as special showcases for our acting “greats.”
This is particularly fitting and exciting, because some actors shouldn’t just be honored and remembered; they should be given yet another opportunity to show how much greater they have become!