Soap operas are repetitive? Ricky Lee explains why
Chuck Smith (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2014 - 4:20pm
DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines – Ever wondered why Pinoy soap operas always feature the same old plot about lost families and missing identities?
 
According to renowned scriptwriter and ABS-CBN creative manager Ricky Lee, it's because “we want to hear the same things, but we don't want to hear them the same way.”
 
 
Lee, who spoke to aspiring musicians at the 5th Elements National Singing Songwriting Camp on Monday, said television dramas tend to be repetitive because they have a goal to be "restorative" 
 
“By the end of the story (of the soap opera), dapat na-restore ang faith ninyo sa buhay,” he said.
 
The goal of the soap opera to emphasize the “conservation and affirmation of the empowerment of the family and the identity of the Filipino” became from what he describes as the country's “master plot” as a nation conquered and vanquished by foreigners in the past.
 
This is why the Filipino soap opera narrative centers on the rebuilding the family and  rebuilding one's self—it is reflective of the Philippines' history and identity. 
 
“Na-fragmentize na ang pamilya natin, na-fragmentize pa tayo bilang individual. That's why ang (goal) natin lagi, i-affirm yun,” he explains. “Ang need nila sa television show is mabuo ang pamilya at mabuo ang pagkatao. Laging ganun ng ganun ng ganun ang takbo.”
 
Mainstream narrative—at least those on television—also has to instill the philosophy that “maski pangit mukha mo, maski autistic ka, maski anong paghihirap pa yan, eventually you can rise.”
 
One look at the plot of the country's iconic soap operas—such as the story of the switched-at-birth babies in “Mara Clara” and the love divided by class and family in “Pangako Sa 'Yo”—would reveal how the theory of narrative “master plot” holds up. 
 
The topic of the nature of Pinoy soap operas came about when Lee talked about lyric writing and fictional narratives in general during the on-going national music camp in Dumaguete.
 
Lee—who wrote the scripts for renowned films such as “Himala” and “Jose Rizal” and was involved in a number of ABS-CBN soap opera such as “Lobo” and “Maging Sino Ka Man”—said he is a long-time music fan. 
 
“Para sa akin, mas diyos ang mga musicians kaysa sa writers,” Lee said. 
 
He also quipped, “Dream ko talaga ma-involve sa music. Kahit walang bayad.”

ELEMENTS NATIONAL SINGING SONGWRITING CAMP JOSE RIZAL MAGING SINO KA MAN MARA CLARA PANGAKO SA PINOY RICKY LEE
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