We are all one (in TV dramas)

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2020 - 12:00am

Dear God, save me, please. I am ready to die of boredom. I have watched everything there is on Netflix French, German, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Spanish, Mexican, all with English subtitles. They are all equally interesting. All those stories about murders in the forests, the woods, the seas. I have also watched a few American series, still with English subtitles because I’m too lazy to turn them off. Sometimes the subtitle is slightly different from what the actors are actually saying. But so what? No change in meaning.

I liked watching the British series After Life, about a man who was newly widowed and was angry at the world because his wife died. The actors looked so natural. They all dressed like they would regularly dress. Their makeup is there but it doesn’t cover their pimples, warts, blackheads, lumps on their skin. They are — to me, anyway — the most natural actors. But they have different accents so I keep the subtitles on. Better to be safe than sorry.

I watch mostly series. Long series. I like to start and sit or lie down regularly to watch. And I watch the series chronologically. I notice the Turkish series are interesting because they are very long, rather slow, but something always happens in every episode. The plot builds steadily until you’re about two-thirds through. Then it begins to fall apart and in the end, I don’t like the ending. But that’s me.

Unlike the British series, the Turkish actors are very beautiful and outstandingly handsome. I think, from all the Turkish series I have watched, they definitely win in the looks department. Their props, too. Always very correct. Wonderful cars for the very rich. Beat-up pickups for the poor. Their makeup is always so smooth. Either they really have smooth skin or their makeup artists are outstanding. Be patient with me, please. Remember, I spent 33 years of my life in advertising. I was professionally raised to notice these things.

The American series I have watched feature people who are either black or white. In my opinion, that should really be “black or pink.” The Americans I met while I lived there were all different shades of pink, from light to raspberry when heavily sunburned. The people of Asia — China, Japan, Korea — have a few people whose skin is smooth and milky white. There is a Chinese lady I see at the supermarket who is this shade of white. She deserves to be called that color. The Asians who are this fair are the color of milk — from fresh to evaporated. Asians are more entitled to the label “white” than Westerners are.

Lately I watched Greenleaf, which is about a Black Christian church established by the father, Bishop Greenleaf. One of the executive producers is Oprah Winfrey. She also acts in the series. This one was long. They hit 50 episodes but it was worth watching. This family was very, very rich. They lived in a magnificent house that had suites for everyone — mother and father; oldest daughter and her only daughter; oldest son, his wife and two children; and youngest daughter, her husband and baby, until her husband confessed to being gay and left. Plus there was a suite for guests.

In the beginning of the quarantine I fixed my closets. Then I made jewelry. Then I made rosaries. But now my hands are tired of all these crafts. So I play games on my cell phone. First Solitaire at breakfast while I wait for half an hour to pass between taking two StemEnhance Ultra capsules and my breakfast. Then I get dressed in my shorts and loose T-shirt and do things in my workroom. Sometimes I fix. Other times I undo old necklaces. Sometimes I clean my old jewelry.

Occasionally I package the medicines I sell and send them. But that doesn’t take much time. So I go back to my cell phone and play word games, and something called Ball Sort. I enjoy that. Every game is a whole bunch of colored balls mixed up in what look like test tubes and you’re supposed to sort them out, putting four balls of the same color into a single test tube. You think that’s easy? It’s not. It gets closer to maddening.

Every day we wake up late. I get up at nine. My husband gets up at 11. We have lunch at three, dinner at seven, rosary at nine, then we watch TV until we fall asleep at around 11 p.m. I watch TV from two to three. Then three-thirty onwards until I get interrupted by dinner. Do I enjoy everything I watch? Yes, though they’re mostly forgettable.

I now know one thing, though. Globally, we are all the same. We may look different, talk differently, eat differently, bury our dead differently but underneath the externals, our dramas are all the same. In the end we are all one.

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