Tuesday, November 21, 2006

25 years, and nothing to show?

"Impressions," TV Times, 7-13 May 1978


By the time this comes out, much would already have been said about the 4th PATAS Sinag Awards show. Certainly, it would already have been written that while the majority of the awards were acceptable enough, the show itself was not.

For one, it was much too long. We understand that the original estimate of the producers of the show was that it would last four hours. In actuality, it lasted five hours. Four hours of sitting through an awards night is misery enough. Five hours can be hell.

And while the show was too long, it was also neither compelling nor uplifting. It was too erratic, too hastily prepared, too haphazardly researched. The New Minstrels were good, but aren't they always? So were Roderick Paulate and Efren Montes, but these two young actors are concededly leagues above those other young stars, complete with leis and shrieking fans, the medium has chosen to play up.

Aside from these two numbers, the rest of the PATAS show can very well stand for the worst of the television industry's past 25 years. The microphones were defective, the split screens were painful to the eyes, the missed cues were painful to the ears, the long pauses without anything happening were embarrassing. And through it all, we wanted to bury our head in our pillows and never look up again at the small screen.

Is this what the industry can show after 25 years--these schizophrenic, egoistic, unprofessional five hours? In one breath, the industry admits the existence of a desert in its midst. In the next breath, it glorifies that very desert. Are we to infer that this desert is all we can view in the next 25 years?

Here the whole televiewing audience is supposed to be fed with a meal worthy of a king: the history of Philippine television from its birth in 1953 to the present. Unfortunately, hardly have we begun the meal when it begins to taste like a TV dinner--without seasoning, without taste. The presentation barely touches on the historic moments in the development of the industry, the problems it has had to solve, the problems it will continue to solve. Research, a little more careful and caring research, would have done it. And a more intelligent mind at work.

Besides, is an awards night the right place to whip up this meal? Instead of serving it like a salad to the main course, why was the presentation not separated from the awards, as a beautiful idea worth the best the industry can give and shown on the very day of the celebration? By then, perhaps, with somebody really riding herd over everybody else, with no awards to inset every now and then, the show tracing the 25-year history of the Philippine television industry could have been given full and glorious play in a show all its own.

As it was, history and awards were mixed together into a dinner that probably gave many of those who had to sit through it a big stomachache ... More polish, more rehearsals, technical proficiency, clockwork precision--all these could have made a better show worth any industry's 25 years. Truly a pity.

-- NBT

No title in original published column

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