The Sunbaked King

There Has Been Only One

Let’s admit it: most of the soaps they’re showing on local TV these days are crap. What grates me is a combination of these three things: the underwhelming CGI effects reminiscent of Hollywood sci-fi movies made in the pre-Star Wars era, the jokes that insult man’s intelligence, and the unrealistic conversations that we will never utter in this modern age and in this modern time. Gems that escape these annoyances are far and few; the last soap I truly truly loved was Mula sa Puso, and Rico Yan was still alive then. And Princess Punzalan still had a career.

When I first saw There Has Been Only One, I immediately dismissed it as a big publicity stunt that was bound to fail. The stunt? Another shot at fame for one of the lead actors, a controversial celebrity that just reappeared after a very long hiatus from showbiz. And perhaps a much-needed career boost for the lead actress, as well, whose recent soaps have not received the buzz worthy of a true TV soap princess. It was quite a sad deal from the beginning, actually. Bland actors with glutathione overdose fight over bland actress with glutathione overdose. Same old same old. I pronounced the show dead even before it took flight.

But somewhere along the way, it got fabulous.

There Has Been Only One became aware. There’s no other way to explain it. The show became aware of itself; the show embraced how the entire TV soap “industry” worked. That self-awareness was just what the writers needed to come up with the wonderful realization: “Let’s crank this full-time.” And crank it they did. They vamped up the dialogue with the most exquisite lines and the wittiest comebacks; they sent the protagonist into poverty then wealth then poverty then wealth then poverty again; and to drive home the point, they sent her into prison several times, and in court more times than that.

One of the biggest weaknesses of Philippine soaps is that they take themselves too seriously. Their goal is to manipulate people’s emotions into sympathizing with the characters, and in order to do that, they must literally flood the screen with tears and misery. There Has Been Only One refused to do that, because the show realized that the only thing it needed to do for people to keep watching the show was to keep them entertained. 

A shift in perspective converted one of the most boring soaps on television into one of the greatest ever. Congratulations, There Has Been Only One. Or should I say: “Congratulations, Iisa Pa Lamang?”

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Filed under: The Couch Potato, TV

10 Responses

  1. white says:

    Aw! I thought ‘There Has Been Only One’ is another soap showing in the ‘other’ channel! hehe So it is actually “Iisa Pa Lamang’.

    Well, it is really entertaining and I am very entertained by the ala-Sharon-movies dialogue. The script is very 80’ish when even the titles were ‘matalinhaga’, e.g. Bituing Walang Ningning, Pasan Ko Ang Daigdig. 🙂

  2. kerwinray says:

    Hmmm, careful with the comments, White. Your age is starting to show. 🙂 Haha. I kid, I kid.

    I just love the way the show showcases all the cliches in soap operas and exaggerates them big-time. It’s definitely a refreshing change from all the tearjerkers we see in TV these days.

  3. makmak says:

    Any teleserye without RICHARD GUTIERREZ = refreshing.

  4. white says:

    Ker, is my age that obvious now? LOL I asked Scarlet de la Rea to offer 5million pesos to whoever would guess my age right! haha

    Well, the show’s writer/s did stretched their imagination and still had the courage to bring back those soap cliches with a refreshing approach…and must have their ink colored pink! hehe

  5. white says:

    OMG…erratum: …”did STRETCH…” hehe 🙂

  6. kerwinray says:

    @ MakMak: Why the hatred for Richard Gutierrez, Mak? Hahaha. You must watch “Let The Love Begin.”

    @ White: Ang cheap ni Scarlet, 5 million pesos lang. Mukhang exciting ang mga tagpo bukas. I’ve lost count how many times Katherine had a gun pointed at her face today.

  7. White says:

    Hmnnn and I think Isadora will have her moment again…I can’t wait. Hehe

  8. kerwinray says:

    I really REALLY think everyone will die at the end. Now that will really be wonderful. It’s going to be even more fantastic than the time they killed off the main lead in Maria Flor de Luna. Hehe.

  9. white says:

    Hmnnnn…I think Ker we’re the only one who keep tab of the teleserye.

    But I would disagree with you. I think Catherine and either Miguel or Rafael will live at the end, happily ever after, at the most. And Isadora will either be imprisoned or die. This ending is so predictable with our kind of soaps no matter how much suspense and scenes/situations they put in that are seemingly leading to a certain conclusion.

  10. kerwinray says:

    Haha, it was just wishful thinking on my part. *crosses fingers*

    In any case, we’re not the only fans around here. I’ve been to so many blogs praising the series to high heavens. 🙂

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