Episode 117: Why I Don’t Care For Local Filipino Movies and TV Shows


Last week, I talked about how sex and violence sells movies, TV and, well, pretty much anything! Even so, in the Philippines, where I come from, they don’t really take advantage of this. But I don’t think it would matter if they did show a lot of sex and violence because I don’t think I would watch any Filipino produced TV shows and movies… because I don’t watch any of them now!

It’s not like I hadn’t tried. In fact, the majority of local channels in the Philippines exclusively show only locally produced television programs. I’ve also tried to patronize Philippine movies as well. But it’s so hard to like them! They’re just bad and I think the biggest problem is the lack of creativity and movie and television studios are so unwilling to risk trying to do something different than the tried and true formula that the masses want.

Here, I’ll give you a very specific example. The most recent “pinoy” blockbuster is a film entitled “The Breakup Playlist.” It’s all about a girl with a good singing voice who gets discovered by a guy. Of course, the guy and the girl fall in love and, well, here’s the trailer.

Even if you don’t understand a lick of Tagalog/Filipino, the voiceover guy pretty much explains the entire story. Just by watching the trailer of The Breakup Playlist, I can already predict pretty much what’s going to happen throughout the entire thing and I bet you can, too. And this is pretty much par for the course for Filipino films! It’s like they come out of a factory, ready made for immediate public consumption. And Philippine audiences readily eat it up!

Another thing that you’ll probably notice regarding Philippine dramas is how they usually follow the “Pretty Woman” trope. It’s usually going to be about a kindhearted girl who was raised by really kindhearted but downtrodden parents. The male lead almost always come from a rich family and usually currently has a bitchy girlfriend. Then the male and female leads meet and they fall in love, the rich parents are against the relationship, the bitchy girlfriend treats the female lead badly, blahblahblah. Once again, not an ounce of creativity.

I'm so sorry United States for sending you this drivel.

I’m so sorry United States for sending you this drivel.

Philippine comedy programs also can be very tiresome and childish. Most of the jokes consist of pratfalls, funny faces and childish pranks. Normally, I would be okay with it but, like I said before, there’s just nothing fresh! It’s just the same jokes repackaged in a different story… that looks astonishingly similar to other Filipino comedy shows and movies!

The thing is, I can’t help but compare our movies and television shows to the other shows that I enjoy watching. I watch American dramas like Breaking Bad, where Walter White, the “hero,” isn’t a particularly nice guy to say the least. I watch cartoons like Adventure Time and The Amazing World of Gumball, two animated programs that are just brimming with insane silliness but still manages to pull out a somewhat cohesive story! And Adventure Time and Gumball are programs that are supposed to be aimed for children. Yet, here I am, a 20-year old college girl, watching cartoons because they’re both extremely entertaining! Philippine TV just wishes we can be this imaginative!

But I can’t really fault the media here for not trying out new things. Like I said, the masses just love these kinds of storylines. And, in all honesty, I don’t think they watch these movies and television programs for the plot anyway. They just like the escape to this romanticized, almost fantastical world where love conquers all. They just want to feel all giddy when the leads hold hands and kiss. That’s all they want.

And it’s not like they haven’t tried to do some things different. I remember there was a movie called On The Job. It was all about prisoners who were brought out of prison so they can perform assassinations but brought back in the slammer as they won’t be suspected since they “were in prison all the time!” It’s a brilliant idea. But movies like On The Job are so few and far between.

But I do have hope for the future of “pinoy” television movies and TV shows. There’s a new wave of young Filipino writers who are churning out stories somewhat different stories. They usually post their stuff on Wattpad, a website where anyone can publish their own stories. And it has a very strong following. But are these new stories any good? Well, I’ll be diving into the world of Wattpad and I’ll tell you what I think… next time!

What’s your take on Filipino movies and television shows? Let me know in the comments section below!

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