On Magkaribal November 3, 2010Posted by Richard Bolisay in Noypi, TV, Whatever.
Last night’s episode of Magkaribal was dedicated especially to Gretchen Barretto. It was an acting piece—rife with compellingly repentant dialogues and sheepish expressions that showcase her newly-found skill: camp by seduction. Boy, was she challenged. As the camera zoomed in to focus on her face and glided to catch the tear falling from her eye, honestly, we were all having an incredibly hearty laugh. And as her chest heaved and her earrings dangled, much to our delight, we were relishing the apogee of Victoria Valera’s remorse, which we didn’t even know she was capable of having, but expected it any way since this is Philippine drama: one is required to forgive and feel an awful lot of guilt. Gretchen is at her finest in Magkaribal; you could even call it an attempt to “biographize” her. You could tell she enjoys every moment of it. Every time she appears she radiates with elegance. She’s calm and fierce, ready to attack any minute. That scene I mentioned when she was talking to Louie and asking about Gelai’s past—bit by bit putting the pieces together and arriving at the conclusion that Gelai is indeed Angela, her long lost sister—she embraced Louie as if holding onto him for support; but what struck me was her overwhelming desire to hug him, regardless of what she found out, to rekindle the emotions that they used to share together. That, I guess, is the reason we can’t get enough of Gretchen—she never fails to spark interest. She can have us imagine things. How many takes did it take her to let that tear fall just in time for the camera? Did she request for a longer “holding time” with Derek Ramsay? How does she feel about every belligerent confrontation with Angel Aquino and Bea Alonzo, in which some of their lines are too true to be good in real life? Oh, Gretchen, thy gnawing grace!
Other plots staled toward the end—Caloy and Chloe’s romance and Louie’s plain lifelessness, in particular—except for Vera’s revenge, Vera played magnificently by Angel Aquino. You could tell that Victoria is not threatened by Gelai but by Vera. In fact, the only time Gretchen’s acting becomes deliciously effective is when Victoria and Vera crash tête-à-tête. Neither of the two provides any hint of cowering, but one always gets to have the nasty sneer as they part ways. Vera Cruz belongs to that elite group of remarkable soap characters—Selina of Mula sa Puso: Amor Powers and Claudia Buenavista of Pangako Sa ‘Yo; Yuri and Katrina of Kaytagal Kang Hinintay; Corazon Berenguer of Maging Sino Ka Man; Katherine, Scarlet, and Isadora of Iisa Pa Lamang; Nurse Jane and Dr. Clarissa Briones of Habang May Buhay—and there’s no mistaking that almost all of them are women. Their personage shares the same thing: an evil always reformed in the end. While Victoria is often victorious, Vera is always voluptuous. Vera outshines Victoria, but that is because only Vera can outshine Victoria; and if Gretchen wants her newly-acquired fans to stay, she must have someone like Angel to throw her wrath at.
In the meantime, three nights to go and three nights to rub it all in. Let’s pull some hair.