Why people still watch telenovelas
Cinderella’s clock strikes at midnight, but in the Philippines it strikes at eight.
In the Philippines when you say eight o’clock in the evening, almost all Filipinos hurriedly go home to catch their favorite TV series or teleseryes and telenovelas.
For years the teleserye has played a very important role in the lives of every Filipino. It has been their companion in times of hardships and a light of hope whenever they have no one to rely on.
“The psychology of that is people forget their own sufferings by seeing someone who is experiencing a similar situation or even worse than what they are suffering,” said a psychiatrist Milan Ratunil, M.D.
He added that watching TV series makes the viewers feel good because they can somehow relate their life experiences with that of the protagonist, which relieves their feeling of oppression. Because of this, the people’s spirit of surviving is uplifted. They gain a positive outlook in life; that despite the problems they encounter, they’ll be motivated to go on, move on and smile.
“Yes, I love watching teleseryes. Actually, one factor I love about Filipino TV series is that despite sa kalisod sa usa ka character, gidaug-daog, pobre ug unsa pa na diha, eventually at the end of the story they still live happily (ever after). I think mao gyud na ang spirit sa mga Pinoy; that they want to have happy endings,” said Rosario Arellano, 43, hotel employee, when asked about the topic.
Filipinos undeniably love happy endings. A research study, “The Happy Endings of Filipino Movies and Teleseries: A Documentary” conducted in 2008, says that happy endings exist because it makes people feel good despite the dreadful realities. However, it also found that mainstream happy endings can be changed as time evolves, depending on the needs and the preferences of the audience who are also open to changes.
When asked about what plot attracts her, Angelica Fernandez, 19, a student, said: “What I want to watch now are series with a very good plot. Something new and fresh story twists nga makahatag og interest sa viewers; kanang unpredictable kaayo.”
At present, various foreign TV series with plots different from the usual formula of “poor kid becomes rich” and unpredictable endings are slowly becoming popular especially to the new generation. But despite the emergence of these foreign TV series, the fact can’t be denied that majority of Filipinos still prefer happy endings because this formula has been part of the Pinoy system being dubbed as “happy people.”
As what Dr. Ratunil shared, “people will not be tired seeing the usual Philippine formula story because it gives hope to people.” Applemae H.
Miego and Shara Ana B. Castillo, USJ-R Mass Comm Interns