Whatever happened to the barkada shows? Back during the early aughts barkada shows were used as vehicles to showcase potential stars of TV networks. Current showbiz A-Listers like John Lloyd Cruz, Angel Locsin and Jodi Sta. Maria had their big breaks in teen-oriented barkada shows. Often times, the show's barkada premise was used to experiment on the possible loveteams that networks could eventually promote. However, the method of pushing stars has changed, in recent years. Networks now are pushing individual loveteams rather than getting a bunch of Artist Center hopefuls and playing around with possible combinations. And thus the barkada show slowly faded out of relevance. (I didn't even notice that, ABS-CBN's Luv U, the last standing teen-oriented barkada show ended a year ago). This is unfortunate considering that the barkada is an integral social unit in our culture and we don't even have a proper representation of it in local TV.
Which brings me to Sabagay Life.
Sabagay Life is D5 Studio's (TV5's digital programming arm) newest web series that tells the story of Jinno (Brian Sy) and Jackie (Joyce Pring) and their college barkada (Dino Pastrano as Bryan, Gabby Padilla as Timi, Kat Aragao as Din and Pochollo Barretto as Gail). Sure the series still has its lead romantic pair of Jinno and Jackie, but what makes it different from other local shows is how much emphasis they've put on the other members of the barkada. The first scene in episode 01 establishes the personalities of each of the members, hinting that these people are just as important to the show as its two main characters. Later in the series, the circumstances of the other members have an effect on Jinno and Jackie, either helping or impeding their relationship.
This attention to supporting characters wouldn't work if the series didn't have good writing. Thankfully, the writers were able to make the characters feel like a believable barkada. Relationships were established through character interactions and expressions rather than crude and overt dialogue (MMFF finalist Vince & Kath & James suffered this so much). Another evidence of the show's good writing was how the excellent joke timing. I personally loved that Magic Eye gag as well as the "shutain mo na" chants.
Sadly though, Sabagay Life's biggest weakness was its short length. With only six episodes in its first season, there's not enough screen time to properly present Jinno and Jackie's romantic arc as well as their interactions in the barkada. With the lack of certain romantic beats, whatever they felt for each other in the finale felt rushed and underserved. But that's only a small complaint to an otherwise good web series. Sabagay Life brought life back to the barkada show.
Some stray notes:
- Alfel needs to be part of season 02! I LOL'd so much because I know someone who is 97.99% similar to Alfel. He's probably a closet-weaboo that tries to hide his weaboo-ness in front of Din.
- "You know what? We're not that type of friends! We'll never tell you where he is!" *points where He is*
- This scene: shout out to Gabby Padilla's acting
- Best episode has to be episode 4: "May pa-Scarface movie poster ka pa eh wala ka namang alam sa movie na yun." *after fighting* "Sikat kaya si Scarface sa mga hip-hop artist!"
- Sabagay Life Director Joel Ferrer and Joyce Pring are also part of Tanods, another D5 Studio web series (Still waiting for season 3)
- Dino Pastano also guest-starred in two episodes of season 2