I hate Bakekang

Hell is paved with good intentions, so goes the ancient English proverb, and this “teleserye” on GMA7 is no different.

Caparas’s original Bakekang was a figure straight out of Greek tragedy. From what I understand of the character, Bakekang is a character filled with the hubris of vengeance. In that story, Bakekang defines herself by her ugliness to such an extent that she becomes unable to escape her condition. Even though she was once beautiful and kind on the inside, she becomes consumed by her desire for revenge. In the end, she loses all that is dear to her – her daughter. In her grief and despair, she commits suicide, hoping that in that final coup de grace, she may find her redemption. The moral of the story was if that you stop thinking of yourself as a victim, you won’t be.

Pa-victim! Pa-victim!

For all of Carlo J. Caparas’s many crimes against popular culture, this may have been his one mitigating circumstance – behind the lengthy, winding dialogue (a failing of many Philippine komiks and screen writers) – lies this gem of a story.

In this re-imagining of Bakekang, the tragedy that is Bakekang just got thrown under the bus by viewer demand. First of all, there is absolutely no viewer demand to see those two children playing the child versions of Kristal, Charming, and Lorraine. According to the Wikipedia site on Bakekang, the series was extended to accommodate these “child stars”. Any “demand” so claimed by GMA7 must be due to production delays or *gasp* a flaw in the focus group. I have no idea why people would watch two young girls sing for thirty minutes when they can’t sing. By can’t sing I mean those poor kids couldn’t find the right note if it hit them in the face. Why didn’t GMA7 just overdub their parts with songs by children who actually can sing? I thought this was television! If it weren’t for the inherent sucker in my wife, we’d have switched channels long ago. This is terrible.

Second, I have no idea whether she is tired from the production schedule, but Sunshine Dizon is worse than a block of bricks at times. Perhaps it’s because she has no experience being ugly. Ugly people are people and not statues that happen to have speaking lines. On the other hand, Manilyn Reynes and Sheryl Cruz are absolutely wonderful! All those years of experience working under different directors are now finally bearing fruit. Remember how Cherie Pie Picache underwent an acting renaissance several years back (because she was able to refine her craft)? It’s the same feeling I get when watching these two at work.

You know how you look thin when you sit beside a fat person? The same thing applies here. Please don’t tell me that the director made Sunshine Dizon act so dead, because Bakekang is one of the most hysterical characters in Philippine fiction. Sunshine looks like she’s about to burst laughing at her lines at any time. Couldn’t they have gotten Harlene Bautista for the job? Where are your seasoned veterans when you need them?

I have the answer, they’re playing bit roles so as to let the stars the network wants to promote look real stupid. Who said that showbiz was something logical?

Finally, the whole symmetry and beauty of the Bakekang story is ruined by its conversion into a teleserye. I understand the commercial demand to showcase as many stars as possible, but I honestly believe that promoting these stars at the expense of story quality is in the long run detrimental to the industry. One need look only at the wild popularity of Korean miniseries (on which these new shows are patterned) and their clean lines. I’m sure that a production that is cleaner (better structure in plot and character) and better defined will make more money, post-dubbing, than one that simply caters to market demand at the moment because of the ratings war.

I’ve got news to the networks: THE BIGGER MONEY IS ELSEWHERE!

So, since I’m stuck with watching Bakekang (my wife is inexplicably hooked, waiting for something good to come up), I’ve decided to boycott all products placing ads on the show. No to Bakekang-sponsoring companies, and I’m bringing my friends with me!! That way, no matter what the ratings are, hopefully these companies get the point.

I hope my boycott doesn’t last any much longer though, because there are some good companies I have to boycott, like Rejoice Fruity Smooth with Apple and Papaya extracts, Ponds Detox Spotless White Cream (black is not necessarily ugly – look at Wilma Doesnt), Milo (ouch!), Jollibee (there goes my lunch budget), Rexona (you finally let me down), Earth and Sky Lemon Iced Tea, and Cloud 9, Touch Mobile (stop wasting Ayala money on that show), Tide (use SM Bonus Detergent! it’s the same anyway), Lactum (my baby uses Enfapro – if Lactum use makes my child appreciate this Bakekang, it’s not giving my child 100% nourishment – maybe it’s only around 10% nourishment), and Cream Silk (all these Unilever products – someone shoot their brand managers).

In the meantime, I think I’ll take dinner when Bakekang’s on and wait for that Korean novella that comes right after. I can’t take being a victim anymore.