Beyond the predictable parameters of ‘Nice’ and ‘Spice’
Piolo Pascual’s regional “travel and tasting” show on E!, “The Crawl,” initially took him to Osaka, Japan, some months ago. He was pleasant and well-meaning, but came up short of passing muster as a program host and travel and pop culture tour guide.
He was too laid-back and “generic” in his chatter and patter, and the clarifying contexts he provided, seemingly off the cuff and on the fly.
This new TV season, Piolo’s cultural and gustatory peregrinations take him to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Is second time the charm for the new TV compere? We fervently hope so.
But an initial perusal of his culinary and gustatory sojourn to Chiang Mai last Saturday indicated that he’s still too shy and predictable in his hosting approach.
Some viewers may welcome the novel lack of “push,” “shove,” ersatz energy and excitement. But Piolo is too cool and “chill,” making viewers susceptible to taking a postprandial snooze—so, some energy and dynamism are urgently required!
The hope is that it can be provided by his travelmate this season—no less than his son, Iñigo, whose presence encourages younger viewers to catch the show. But Iñigo turns out to be too much of a chip off the old block, and is as predictably “generic” as his dad. Help!
Perhaps a key issue or problem that needs to be recognized and addressed is the show’s decision to make its cohosts ad-lib most of the comments and information they provide.
This could make for a more natural, spontaneous and personal sharing—but, only if the sharers are diverting speakers who have an entertaining way with words, which Piolo and Iñigo are—not yet.
Practice does make perfect, so they could grow into it, but that’s for the future to affirm.
At the moment, they do their level best to be interesting and helpful with the background information they chattily provide. But, they need to bolster their good intentions. With a more insightful understanding of Thai culture and cuisine, beyond the predictable parameters of “nice” and “spice.”
It would also be great if they could be more insightfully and entertainingly taken around Chiang Mai by a local guide or resource person. They do have some assistance in that regard, but the lady tends to be too laid-back, as well, and is content to just answer their basic questions, instead of providing the flavor and fun that the show needs.
If “The Crawl” will have a third season after its Osaka and Chiang Mai visits, Piolo and his cohost or sidekick should learn from past experience and be more closely mentored on how to ad-lib naturally and interestingly. For most people, this is an acquired skill, beefed up by familiarity with the topic up for discussion or immersion.
Granted, it can be taught only up to a point, after which the on-cam talent’s innate personality, experience and intelligence have to kick in. Piolo is basically shy and self-effacing, instead of outgoing and dynamic, so he has to work harder to overcome his natural reticence.
If he still can’t break through, he should be given a cohost or sidekick who can make up for the slack.
He or she should be a natural ad-libber with a zestful love for the “adventurous” travel and cuisine, a comedian who can keep things naturally bright, breezy and witty. Any suggestions? For starters, Epy Quizon and Ryan Rems come to mind.
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