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Why TV viewers are drawn to stellar tandems

12:17 AM January 20, 2012

Have you noticed? Most TV shows field at least two cohosts or paired performers, often with both sexes represented. Thus, you have Mike Enriquez and Mel Tiangco, Tina Monzon-Palma and Angelo Castro Jr., Boots Anson-Roa and Willie Nepomuceno, etc.

Even in movies, love teams  have been doted on — Vilma-Bobot, Guy-Pip, Nida-Nestor, Hilda-Jay, etc. — and their romantic costarrers were consistent hits precisely because their “signature” leads were bankable, literally like having money in the bank for their producers.

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What is it about stellar tandems that viewers like? One of the most overused but least understood terms loosely bandied about in show biz is “chemistry.”  It’s also called rapport, mutual liking or excitement, and sometimes even hints at an undercurrent of secret or unspoken “sensual electricity.”

On the other hand, viewers also get turned on by the pairing of opposites — tandems of celebrity hosts or actors who are a combination of sweet and sour, hyper and mellow, beautiful and “idiosyncratic-looking.”

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All of these various permutations result in the feeling that two stars have “chemistry,” that magic, mystic, mythic “X-Y-and-Z” factor that makes their tandem special.

But, what about TV personalities who top-bill shows all by their lonesome, like Kris Aquino, Korina Sanchez, Arnold Clavio, Edu Manzano, Anthony Taberna, Ted Failon and Ali Sotto? Obviously, their shows’ producers feel that they’re strong or vivid enough on their own to sustain the public’s interest without having somebody else to interact with.

Clearly, however, they’re in the distinct minority, because the “interaction” factor can more reliably be depended on to keep televiewers involved and entertained.

For TV celebrities who have cohosts, two is better and easier than one, because doing a monologue is one of the toughest feats in the trade to pull off.

Liability

Not all that rarely, however, cohosts get on each other’s bad side or rub each other the wrong way — so, the inherent advantage of two over one becomes a liability instead of an asset.

Rather than concentrating fully on keeping their show as easy and breezy as can be, the combative, feuding or sulking cohosts have to expend too much energy in covering up their mutual resentments.

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That’s why a successful veteran on TV once described cohosting as a king of “part-time marriage” — hopefully with more ups than downs, and mutual liking or even loving to help the cohosts survive the experience with their friendship intact.

This, it goes without saying, is more difficult to pull off for popular “love teams” who have to make their “passion” for each other believable. Relationships are tough enough without having to pretend to be “perfectly” in love with one another — at least well enough for movie-TV fans to get carried away by the love story being oh, so breathlessly depicted!

In addition, the production setup is so artificial and full of distractions that only the most focused performers can “feel” the romantic moment deeply enough to erase the thin dividing line between romantic fact, fiction and friction.

To complicate things, in some romantic dramas, it doesn’t take only two, it takes three to bring the love scenario to an appropriately heated simmer or sizzle. This is the unique nature of the romantic triangles in which two swains compete for the love of a perplexed dalaga.

The three lead players involved have to conjure up feelings, not just of love and ardor, but also of jealousy, anger, hurt, shock, vengeance and hate, so, the plots — and the acting expectations — really do thicken!

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TAGS: Ali Sotto, Angelo Castro Jr., Anthony Taberna, Arnold clavio, Boots Anson-Roa, Edu Manzano, Korina Sanchez, Kris Aquino, Mel Tiangco, Mike Enriquez, Ted Failon, Tina Monzon-Palma, TV shows, Willie Nepomuceno
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