Director laments sorry state of PH shows vs K-drama: We’re stuck with stereotypes

MANILA, Philippines, November 21 ------ A renowned local writer and director has lamented the sorry state of Philippine movie and television shows in comparison to the country’s Korean neighbors, saying that the country has been stuck with storylines revolving on worn out stereotypes. According to movie and TV director Jose Javier Reyes, the different K-drama series being watched by Filipinos right now — like the still ongoing corporate romance series “Start-up” or the psychological drama “It’s Okay to Not be Okay” — has overtaken the plot of local shows aired in TV and silver screens.

He added that local shows still revolve on similar, uncreative, and overused stories — storylines which have been present even before the 1990’s. “START UP is about setting up businesses. IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK is about mental health. LIFE is about health care and business. ITAEWON CLASS is about dignity in ambition. SKY CASTLE is about parents and education. RECORD OF YOUTH is about choices in life and the sacrifices you make,” Reyes said in a Facebook post on Wednesday. “THIS is KDRAMA TODAY,” he noted.

Meanwhile, he stressed that Philippine movie and television stereotypes still exists — like babies being mixed-up in hospitals, antagonists with curly hair and martyr protagonists with long straight hair, the police being inefficient, rich people being bad, and bad in-laws — all of which seem to be out of touch with reality. “Eh, tayo nagkakapalitan pa rin ang mga babies sa ospital, may nawawalang diary, may kabit na kampon ni Satanas , kulot pa rin ang buhok ng kontrabidang babae habang banat ang inaaping martir na bidang babae, laging late pa rin ang pulis sa krimen,” Reyes continued. “Palpak ang lahat ng kidnappings, alagad ng kadiliman ang lahat ng mga mayaman, hindi nilikha ni Lord ang mabait na biyenang babae at stepsister at laganap pa rin ang hindi magamot-gamot na amnesia na mas masahol pa sa COVID19. DIYOS KO, ‘DAY!” he exclaimed.

Despite Reyes’ praise of Korean offerings and critique of locally-offered shows, not all directors share his viewpoints. Last August, director Erik Matti drew controversy over his observations that the local entertainment industry is in peril because Filipinos are falling for “faux-cinderella” stories. The Buy Bust fim director’s notes were made after the top ten most viewed on video streaming site Netflix for the Philippines showed K-dramas — mostly love stories. K-drama fans stood up against Matti, saying that not all Korean shows are simply about love, saying that there are more behind the love plot of the stories. Also, some individuals said that Matti should not blame viewers for finding more interesting stories as Philippine movies and shows have become dull.

Television shows in the country have become the subject of memes as they point out funny plot holes and outrageous show titles which range from being a laughing stock to outright crazy. People commenting on Reyes’ post — artists, celebrities, and ordinary viewers — have given their two cents about the issue. Actress Ina Feleo — daughter of director Laurice Guillen and late famed actor Johnny Delgado — left a comment which appeared as a light-hearted admission of guilt. “My curls are shaking,” she said, before posting a photo of her with curly hair in a role which she plays as an antagonist. On a more serious note, most of the reactions agree with what Reyes said: that the Philippine entertainment industry needs a reboot, and has to think outside the box if it does not want to lose its viewers.