Effective career gambit
The recently concluded drama series, “The Story of Us,” was a significant production in the “shared” career progression of its leads, Kim Chiu and Xian Lim.
In the course of the series’ long run, they made the key shift from fan-pleasing teen love team to young-adult performers who could tackle and do justice to more forthright romantic and even passionate scenes—within TV limits, of course.
The show’s recent final telecast pushed the envelope even more, with the couple getting stranded all alone on an island and thus finally being free to express the emotional and physical extent of their once-denied love for one another. How did they fare in this regard?
The spirit may have been willing, but the setup was weak and not very believable: They were supposed to be in dire straits, but the whole “stranded” episode was staged improbably, with the couple having no problem at all spearing fish for what looked more like a romantic beach cookout than the matter of life and death it was supposed to be.
Their rescue was also all too easily effected, adding to the episode’s lack of urgent believability. As for the stranded lovers’ physical intimacy, there was a really long sequence that showed them exchanging longing looks and kisses, engaging in touches and sensuous moves “suggestive” of passion and desire, etc.
Big step forward
We admired Kim and Xian for forthrightly taking this big step forward, but the sequence was too extended (for the fans drawn-out pleasure, we presume). And all turned out to be for naught because Kim’s character stopped short of going all the way, because “impediments” continued to exist.
Happily, before the last telecast ended, these perky impediments were finally sorted out thanks to Shaina Magdayao and Bryan Santos’ characters’ timely decision to go on ‘mapagparaya mode’! So the long-awaited Happy Ending could finally take place—plus an epilogue set two years later, with the loving couple’s “feeling- family” denouement abundantly obvious and assured.
Despite its occasional detours and repetitive periodic estrangements to keep viewers empathetically on tenterhooks, “The Story of Us” was a successful career gambit for Kim because it pushed her to “stretch” and rise above her “perky” signature acting style. Her thin and insufficiently expressive speaking voice is still a problem, but her “more mature” and deeper portrayal was generally believable.
For his part, Xian’s cool, laid-back and “well-born” image has similarly been effectively minimized by his more “democratized” character’s requirements, which he strove hard to “measure down” to.
However, his growth as a thespian can be more convincingly showcased by a follow-up dramatic film, the more rigorous and focused context of which would “prove” his undeniable thespic “K.”