11-year sitcom ‘Pepito Manaloto’ latest victim of pandemic, to air season finale today
For actors, compartmentalizing feelings and setting aside personal troubles are part of the profession. And this is especially true for comedians, like Michael V and Manilyn Reynes, who have to crack jokes and make their audience laugh despite the difficult year they have had.
“That’s just how things work. Whatever you’re thinking, you have to put it aside and focus on what you have to do. You have to work. You have to face the cameras. You have a role play and the viewers are looking forward to you,” Manilyn told the Inquirer in a recent virtual conference for the season finale of the long-running GMA 7 sitcom “Pepito Manaloto” today. Recurring theme
“So you take a deep breath, smile and say a prayer,” added the actress, who lost her father earlier this year.
Michael V, who documented his battle with COVID-19 last year, highlighted the importance of having a strong support system at work. “We’re lucky that the characters we portray aren’t too different from real life. But it does get hard when we have personal problems. But thankfully, our staff and crew are ready to catch us. That’s what makes our team very special,” he said. In “Pepito,” which has been on air for the past 11 years, Michael V and Manilyn play the leads Pepito and Elsa respectively. The show follows the couple and how they grapple with various life changes, after winning the lottery. “Despite their wealth, their hearts remained humble. They know how to value people and the things they have. They know the importance of family. The message we want to convey is that material things aren’t forever. But the love for family and friends, and faith in God will always be there,” Michael V said.
And curiously enough, this very lesson turned out to be a recurring theme during the pandemic. “You realize what’s important—you realize that this is the only time you need, the only space you need,” Michael V said, adding that he has developed a deeper appreciation for the simpler things in life. “You notice how beautiful rain is as you watch it hit your window; the things your children say and the nuances. This pandemic isn’t a good thing per se. But you can try to pick up something good from it; it’s just up to you to find them,” he said.
Manilyn echoed her costar’s sentiments. “This is something beyond our control. It’s not something we wanted or wished for. But there are some positives, like your family being together always. There are things you can do now, but couldn’t before, because everyone else was busy or in someplace else,” she said.
“You can talk to them and ask how they’re doing. And it’s not that we didn’t appreciate these little things before—they’re just magnified right now,” she added. The pandemic, Michael V, admitted was a big reason the production team decided to end “Pepito’s” third and current season, “Kuwento-Kuwento.” And though they did manage to come up with some workarounds to keep the show running, like doing shoots at home, this setup wasn’t how the comedian and creative director envisioned the show.
“This isn’t how the show was designed. It wasn’t meant to be shot or produced this way,” Michael V said.
Taking a break, he added, is imperative to reassess the current situation and think of the best way to move forward for the next season. “We have to take a step back and figure out what to do, how to tackle the problems and challenges amid the pandemic,” he said. “I hope we can come up with a better show that’s fitting of the times.”
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