On The Wings Of Love finally ended its fantastic seven-month run last week. As much as I want this show to have a season 2, Clark and Leah deserve their peace after all they've been through. It was must-see local TV for me for its last two months. Thanks a lot Tonette Jadaone and Jojo Saguin, now there's a gap in my heart that aches every 9:30 - 10:15pm (oo dahil laging naeextend).
Kidding aside, more than just being entertaining, the show experimented and did things that I do hope the TV network bigwigs will consider in producing the next batch of teleseryes. Here are a few things that I took note of:
1. THE FILIPINO AUDIENCE NOW HAS A DIVERSE PALATE
We've somehow touched on this in the most recent The Streamline Podcast episode; on how the treatment of our local romance films and TV shows had progressed from latin american telenovelas to more western and asian drama-infused. We can all praise the internet for that! Streaming or downloading your Breaking Bads and Baker Kings exposed Filipinos to other forms of storytelling and characterization that we haven't seen yet in local TV. This made us generally more appreciative of entertainment.
It was nice that a teleserye like On The Wings Of Love was able to get the attention of Filipinos even though it didn't involve rich guy-poor girl leads, villains (Simon's an antagonist but not a villain), revenge plots or abandoned warehouses--the standard tropes you'd see in a local teleserye.
2. TIME TO BREAK OUR TRADITIONAL CHARACTER MOLDS
What if the man in the relationship's the nurturing one while the woman was the driven one? What if we have gay characters that aren't caricatures? Not only did On The Wings Of Love subverted our traditional notions of males, females and LGBTs in media but it also fleshed them out. Yes, Clark and Leah were good-natured people, but they were also selfish and often insecure.
On episode 03 of All About OTWOL, I applauded how the writers approached the characters of Tita Jack and Mama Lou. Even though they were lesbian and gay, their sexuality wasn't milked to play up the story. Tita Jack, even though she might be typified as a butch lesbian because of her looks, was as nurturing as any mom can be to Jigs and Clark. In the same vein, Mama Lou wasn't typified as the loud parloristang bakla sa kanto, he was calm, composed and a voice of reason in tenement uno (the loudest resident award goes to Bebeng). [These characters reminded me of an episode of Netflix's Master of None wherein Aziz Ansari's character tried to fight his right to audition for an Indian character in a TV show without the stereotypical Indian accent.]
3. TRY OUT NEW WAYS OF STORYTELLING
Again, the Filipino audience of today's more appreciative of creative ways of telling the story. Not every detail needs to be part of the dialogue or explicitly said or shown in-frame. Here are some of the things that they tried out:
- Used spoken word poetry in key scenes to intensify the mood (Juan Miguel Severo's piece in the finale was hella great)
- Utilized teasers to mold expectations of the audience (damned San Fo teasers!)
- Used animation as preface to a major turning point in the story (a classic Antoinette Jadaone technique ;) )
- Tatang Sol and Tita Jack conversations to help the audience process the motivations of Clark and Leah
4. GAWIN MONG LIGHT (AND UNEVEN)
Honestly, I have a hard time categorizing OTWOL, it wasn't a pure comedy nor was it a pure drama. It did make good use of both. Throughout its run, it mixed up the comedic highs and dramatic lows to make a satisfying viewing experience. I can't even call it a teleserye because the term is so heavily associated with a more serious tone. I guess I should just call it a good primetime TV show?
5. THE CONVERSATION IS ALMOST AS IMPORTANT AS THE PRODUCT
You know a show is great when you have an intense desire to discuss it with another person afterwards. Cable channel, AMC, capitalized on this insight and created companion talk shows that air after each episode of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad (for season 5.2). It helped audiences process the things that happened considering how intense these shows can be.
OTWOL, may not have a companion talk show but it had #otwolistalk. OTWOL's prod staff scoured the internet to feature reactions of viewers either either via video or via their website. Promoting content created by fans help in showing that the show values the support its fans are giving therefore encouraging fans to invest more on the TV show.