It’s Unfair To Compare Local TV To American Television

unfair-to-compare-cover

Since last year, I’ve written about the few bright spots in our gloomy local TV. I’ve given praise to the first half of Kalye Serye and On The Wings Of Love. I’ve even defended its dubbing habit. Does this make me seem like a local TV apologist? I don’t consider myself as that. I want to enjoy and evaluate local TV based on its own merits. To judge it on what it is and not what it isn’t. Comparing local TV to American television is unfair, especially when you consider the systems running in each are entirely different. It’s like comparing your 13 year old brother barely grasping Algebra to your neighbor’s 26 year old marketing professional son. Or, comparing a lvl 5 Nidoran♂ to a lvl 65 Charizard.

The Golden Age of American Television

If you’re closely monitoring American television, you may have heard that US TV is at its 2nd Golden Age. Production and consumption of American television is at its best and highest right now.People are even saying we’re at the peak right now, since 2014. How do the Americans know that they’re at their peak? If you clicked on the link, FX Network CEO John Landgraf presented that there are 419 original scripted shows set to be released this year alone, spread across broadcasting, cable and streaming video-on-demand services. Confused with what that means? Let’s breakdown all that mumbo-jumbo:

  • FOUR HUNDRED NINETEEN original scripted shows. Interpret that as: 419 NEW comedy and drama shows. That number excludes reality shows, game shows, talent shows, and talk shows.
  • TV tiers: Broadcasting would be your free-access TV (think of our ABS-CBN and GMA). Cable are paid channels such as HBO, FX and ESPN. In the Philippines that would be our CinemaOne, AXN or NBATV. Streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) are oour Netflix, HOOQ, iFlix. SVODs exclude web series uploaded on free-streaming services such as YouTube and Vimeo.

That’s a lot of TV to go around! But just like Rome, this Golden Age of American TV didn’t happen overnight. It took three or four decades for US TV to find its groove back after its first Golden Age. One of my favorite TV critics, Andy Greenwald, explains it wonderfully in an interview how circumstances in Hollywood fueled the early creation of TV’s Golden Age. The success of SVODs and the introduction of binge-watching further expanded the sandbox TV could play in, allowing for it to exponentially learn and grow. Sure for every The Wire, Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, you had three or four crappy shows. But that was the only way for American television to gain success. They needed to invest, innovate and take risks.

Moreover, for cable and SVOD services, audience rating wasn’t the top metric to measure a show’s success. Quality came first. Current classics like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones were given breathing room to flourish. These risks eventually paid off as these two shows’ audiences grew season after season.

Philippine Television, the Upside Down

The current landscape of local TV isn’t conducive to innovation. First off, local TV is basically shared by three major broadcasting networks: ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5. Between the three, only 36 original scripted series are to be aired this year. Second, instead of producing more shows to fill in their time slots, local networks have the habit of buying and dubbing foreign shows.  I’ve already mentioned the merits of having these dubbed foreign shows in a separate post, but I can still argue that these shows take airtime from what could have been other locally-produced shows. Thirdly, TV shows are merely vehicles to showcase and sell network artists. It’s more important to write in scenes that build the main talent or love team rather than build the story.  Lastly, the production and airing schedule in the local scene is much much different. A typical primetime local TV show would run for three months every weekday. Take On The Wings Of Love as an example. It had 145 episodes in its seven-month run. That’s seven seasons (read: years) of US TV squeezed into seven months. This matters because the pace and pressure the production and creative staff experience on a daily basis isn’t at all conducive for creativity.

It might seem that I inevitably compared both industries but you can get a sense how they’re miles apart. It’s not as simple as telling local TV networks to just “git gud” to reach the level of American television. As it stands, the local TV landscape lacks the necessary ingredients (investment, risk-taking and creative freedom) to deliver our version of the Golden Age. Moreover, asking for TV like how Americans do it is basically requesting the local networks to restructure how they do their business.

  • “Produce more shows? You’re expecting us to spend more?”
  • “Make shows weekly and seasonal? How will I maximize the utility of our talents? We need to revise ALL the contracts of our talents.”
  • “Create a prestige drama show about a Chem teacher selling Shabu? How will that put Daniel Padilla or Dingdong Dantes over?”

And what would be a compelling reason for them to change their ways when the two giants ABS-CBN and GMA have posted growth over the last year? Things will stay the same unless some new innovation forces itself in industry.

Disruption

So are we forever sentenced to have mediocre content on our local broadcast channels?

Last June, it was announced that the local indie movie hit On The Job will get a sequel mini-series to be released exclusively on HOOQ late this year. During the same month, telco giant, Globe, announced that they will try their hand at producing original content with the launch of Globe Studios. These two announcements give me hope as both HOOQ and Globe Studios are new entrants in producing original content. Both are upstarts that want to create a big splash in the entertainment industry. I’m betting on these two in delivering original scripted content that can eventually influence the TV networks.

It has happened before and could happen again. Netflix was just a video-on-demand streaming service for movies and TV series until they finally decided to make their own content. They were lucky enough to sign great on-screen and off-screen talent making their two original series, House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, such critical and audience hits. Thus changing how broadcasting and cable networks do their business.

While we wait for new developments in the landscape, it wouldn’t hurt if we continue to be critical of what we are being currently offered. Call out GMA’s inconsistency in offering an awfully produced and performed Alyas Robinhood when they can, at the same time, produce a quality show in Encantadia. Call out ABS-CBN for their newest re-skinned and re-casted sexy drama in Magpahanggang Wakas. It’s the nth time we’ve seen a sexy poverty-stricken female lead get married to a wealthy man (and a misuse of Arci Munoz if I may add). These are reasonable critiques that these networks can resolve.

I consider myself as a local TV optimist. I still believe that local TV can be better. It may take time, but we’ll eventually get our own Golden Age.

It’s Unfair To Compare Local TV To American Television

A Newbie-Friendly Guide To Podcasts

Newbie's Guide of Podcasts Cover v4

Podcasts are an awesome way of consuming information and entertainment. Like an IV stuck to your arm, podcasts provide the rawest and freshest content straight to your ears for your listening pleasure. Admittedly, for the last two years, I’ve grown to be more dependent on the format. I’ve substituted my sound trips with binges of Hello, From The Magic Tavern, Podcast Beyond or The Read. Reading books, unfortunately, replaced with listening to 99% Invisible, Radiolab and The Allusionist. It’s just a convenient way of consuming content.

Interestingly, podcasts are proving to be a viable medium in the US. In an article posted by AdWeek last week, “nearly one in five Americans in the 18-49 demographic listen to podcasts at least once a month”. It’s not surprising, therefore, that most media outlets have started their own podcast channels; the likes of CNN, Time, WWEThe New Yorker having established channels while MTV recently joining the game. Also from last week, famed author, Malcolm Gladwell, announced that his next project will be a podcast; joining the slew of celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Marc Maron and Stone Cold Steve Austin also making waves as podcasters.  The aforementioned AdWeek article also included a recently conducted study pointing out that people are more receptive to ads in podcasts. It’s a good indication for the medium that brands are becoming more and more interested in investing in it.

However, podcasts and podcasting have yet to take off in the Philippines. Our Awesome Planet listed 2014 as the year of the podcast for the Philippines but has yet to materialize. On the content creator side, the local podcast scene is currently filled by independent podcasters; the likes of Podcast.ph, Good Times With Mo, New Media Factory, and Becky Nights topping the iTunes charts. None of the three major media outlets, have yet to fully utilize the medium. Rappler, so far, is the only major media outlet creating content for podcasts. While on the listener side, just based on podcast plays on soundcloud, consuming podcasts haven’t been as ubiquitous as the medium is in America. For a country with almost half of its population having internet access, it saddens me to think that an informative and entertaining medium such as the podcast is underutilized in the Philippines.

Which brings me to my point: I’d like to convince you, dear reader, to start listening to podcasts. It is such a promising medium that it would be a waste for you not to at least try listening to one. Take this read as my pitch.

What are podcasts?

I won’t go into the origins of the term because it’s fuzzy but a podcast, basically, is a newsletter service in audio or video format for your phone, tablet or computer. Subscribing to a podcast channel ensures you to receive the freshest episodes as soon as it’s uploaded by the creator. It’s similar to how you’re instantly notified when a person you follow shares or posts something on Facebook or Twitter.

Typically, podcast channels upload episodes on a certain schedule; most on a weekly basis, while a few upload bi-weekly.

Podcasts can be streamed online or downloaded to your device. Personally, I prefer using podcast apps (like Overcast, Podcast Addict or Apple’s Podcasts app) on my phone where I can search and subscribe to channels, directly download episodes, and then listen to them anytime anywhere. Recently, audio streaming services like Spotify and Soundcloud have opened their platforms to podcast channels making streaming much more accessible.

Though it might be an unfamiliar term to us Filipinos, consuming podcasts aren’t any different from how we consume mainstream content online.

business-cat-meme-generator-i-find-your-ideas-intriguing-and-i-wish-to-subscribe-to-your-podcast-31fb6d
Image source: relatably.com

 

What makes podcasts different from other media?

Podcasts are insanely cheap to produce. All you really need are a mic, computer, recording/editing software and a steady internet connection and you’re set. In addition, podcasts don’t have a governing body that regulates and evaluates content like an FCC, MTRCB or ESRB. Hence, it’s not surprising that podcasting is a more robust medium than traditional media. And because of this basic difference, stems podcast’s additional advantages over other media:

  • Freedom in content: Podcasts provide unrivaled scope and depth in its content. Anyone can make a podcast on just any topic. It can be as broad as daily world news, politics or pop culture to single-topic podcasts about Tom Hanks, WWE wrestling or Game of Thrones.
  • Freedom in format:  There’s no prescribed format for podcasts. Sure most  use the proven roundtable discussion approach but some of the truly entertaining podcasts are those that play around with its format. For starters, there’s the serious journalistic approach made famous by podcasts such as This American Life, Radiolab and Serial that try to weave a story to a specific topic. There’s also the fictional storytelling podcasts such as Welcome To Nightvale, Thrilling Adventure Hour and The Black Tapes Podcast. For more unique formats, Hello, From The Magic Tavern mixes storytelling, world-building with improvised comedy. My Dad Wrote A Porno playfully lambastes an erotica book written by the elderly father of one of the hosts. Basically, any audio recording can be considered a podcast.
  • Low buy-in: almost all podcasts channels are free giving you a plethora for your access. Podcasters earn from advertisements and listener donations rather than putting up paywalls. All you need as a consumer is a device that can play audio files and an internet connection

There’s something in the direct and open nature of a podcast that makes it an intimate medium to consume. Having no regulatory bodies to censor work, the podcast feels like an unfiltered transmission of information from the creator to the consumer. It’s a celebration of free discourse in the digital age.

Should I consume audio or video podcasts?

Podcasts are usually audio-only but some creators also release a video version of an episode, like Mo Twister with his Good Times With Mo Podcast or Kinda Funny with their Playstation podcast. Video podcasts are preferred by some consumers  but I don’t find any value add in also watching the hosts talk around a table. Personally, I prefer audio podcasts as it frees me up to do other stuff like commuting, travelling, or playing video games.

And truth be told, it’s a better activity partner than listening to music. Instead of looping your Spotify playlists for an hour stuck in traffic, why not listen to a discussion about On The Wings Of Love? Music is a good activity partner when you need motivation, like doing exercise or pumping up for an interview; but for lax and dull moments, podcasts are a better option.

How can I listen to podcasts?

Like I said, subscribing and listening to a podcast follows the same process of following a person on social media:

How To Follow A Podcast v2

Of course, you still need to download the podcast app first. iPhones already have the Podcasts app pre-installed; although I’d advise you to still download the Overcast app for a better user experience. For Android phone users, the one I can recommend is the Podcast Addict app. It’s simple enough to use but still offers a wide-variety of options to tweak it to your liking.

Each of the apps I’ve mentioned also includes a podcast recommendations feature so you can check the top podcasts for each general interest like arts, comedy and sports and recreation. This is a convenient way of searching for podcasts when you’re unsure yet on what to listen to.

What podcasts should I listen to?

There are so many podcasts in the internet that a newbie might find it confusing to pick what to listen to. Here’s a list of the podcasts I can vouch to be top quality:

For all your pop-culture needs:

  • Channel 33: Formerly known as the Grantland Pop Culture Podcast feed, Channel 33 serves multiple podcast shows in one channel. Each week, you’re sure to get podcasts on pop culture, wrestling, tech AND the all important recap podcast for The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Channel 33’s style of podcasting is casual, light and organic making it an easy listen.
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour: A weekly pop-culture podcast from NPR. If you’re looking for a calm, organized yet in-depth discussion on the latest TV shows, films, music and pop culture trends, this is the show for you.

When you’re in need of a good story:

  • Hello, From The Magic Tavern: A podcast in the fictional land of Foon. Arnie interviews the different creatures and personalities of Foon with the help of his co-hosts Eusidore the blue wizard and Chunt the talking badger. What makes HFTMT different is that it tries to tell a continuous narrative even though every detail is actually improvised. Each succeeding episode builds on the improvised lore from the previous episodes making Foon such a messed up and magical place. Subscribe to this podcast when you just want some quality improvised comedy.
  • The Black Tapes Podcast: Horror’s a tricky genre to accomplish using just audio. Without any visuals, listeners have to rely heavily on the narration and their imagination to provide the scares. The Black Tapes Podcast is horror done right. More The Blair Witch Project than Gabi Ng Lagim in quality and execution; join Alex Reagan as she tries to uncover the secrets behind paranormal skeptic, Richard Strand’s, black tapes. Listen to this podcast if you need a creepy atmospheric scare.
  • Modern Love: Straight from the pages of The New York Times,  Modern Love (the podcast) asks celebrities to read out submitted essays about love and loss from the Modern Love (the newspaper column).
  • Serial: The podcast that reinvigorated the True Crime genre in pop culture, Serial focuses on a case each season. Its sensational first season introduced us to the cold case of Adnan Syed while the second season tried to prod further the high profile case of Bowe Bergdahl. The show’s host, Sarah Koenig, a veteran journalist, masterfully weaves a story  toeach episode that can mesmerize listeners even without video.

A substitute to your sound trip:

  • All Songs Considered: One of the longest-running podcasts in the world, All Songs Considered serves fresh music every week; from unsigned bands to your established artists.
  • Song Exploder: Each episode of Song Exploder explores the creative process behind a song, breaking down the stories of each of its ingredients. The pod also covers a range of songs from mainstream and indie artists.

Other links you might want to check for other recommendations:

A Newbie-Friendly Guide To Podcasts

Binge-Watching Ideas For Long Weekends 2016

Binge-Watch Long Weekends Cover

Just in case you’re staying put at home and unsure what to watch, here are a few ideas that can help tide you through a long weekend:

Oh, and you can also check out last year’s list here.

 

1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Run-time: 630 mins (15 episodes so far)

The Gist: Watch the show’s intro theme below. It perfectly summarizes the story and the humor of the show.

Why you should watch this: There’s just so much to love in this show so I’ll name a few:

  • It’s a musical that parodies almost every single genre of music you know. From country singers weirdly singing about their daughters, to how French women make depression a sexy problem.
  • The show’s creator and star, Rachel Bloom is a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Best Actress award winner.
  • If you want some #PinoyPride fuel, Crazy Ex has two Filipino characters: the male lead, Josh Chan and his moral compass priest friend, Father Brah. Both characters are also played by Fil-Am actors Vince Rodriguez III and Rene Gube (of Ground Floor) respectively.
  • It’s a progressive show that tries to discuss mental health as well as bisexuality.

Highlights: Definitely the musical numbers. Settle For Me, I’m A Good Person and A Boy Band Made Up Of Four Joshes are my top picks. If you’re into #PinoyPride, watch the Filipino Thanksgiving episode wherein Rebecca cooks Dinuguan for Josh’s family.

 

2. The Carmichael Show

Run-time: 220 mins (10 episodes so far)

The Gist: Jerrod Carmichael and his girlfriend, Maxine contend with the meddling of Jerrod’s family in topics that cover gun control, religion and Bill Cosby

Why you should watch this: Behind the family sitcom presentation and the rapid-fire jokes, The Carmichael Show is pretty much a topical discussion of the biggest issues we face right now. Though it usually doesn’t give a concrete conclusion in the end of each episode, it does give you a full view of all the possible sides of a topic.

Highlights: Jerrod’s dad’s pop culture jokes and definitely the Bill Cosby episode (speaking of a full view without a definite conclusion).

3. Togetherness

Run-time: 286 mins (13 episodes so far)

The Gist: Togetherness tells the story of Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey), Brett’s childhood best friend Alex (Steve Zissis), and Michelle’s sister Tina (Amanda Peet).

Why you should watch this: Out of all the comedies that discuss the affluent and complex lives of Los Angelenos (You’re The Worst, Transparent, Love) Togetherness feels the earnest. There’s something with how the Duplass brothers piece together each scene to exude something so warm. Also, Alex and Brett probably has the best balanced bromance on TV aside from Dev and Arnold of Master of None.

Highlights: Season 01’s Kick The Can episode and  the awesome use of James Blake’s Wilhelm Scream in its finale.

 

4. Shake, Rattle and Roll Marathon

Run-time: roughly 1,170 mins (13 films from SRR3 to SRR15)

The Gist: The longest-running horror anthology that spooked the shit out of you when you were a kid is now available on HOOQ!

Why you should watch this: There was a time when Shake, Rattle and Roll was really good. Recent attempts in making it more family-friendly watered down its appeal. But hey, now you can watch the franchise’s progression from nightmare fuel to MMFF fodder.

Highlights: SRR III when the undin eats Ai-Ai Delas Alas’s whole body.

 

5. John Lloyd Romance Film Marathon

Run-time: roughly 630 mins (6 films namely Now That I Have You, Close To You, One More Chance, A Very Special Love, Miss You Like Crazy and My Amnesia Girl)

The Gist: In case you want to follow our John Lloyd Hypothesis, you can watch most of JLC’s films on HOOQ.

Why you should watch this: JLC’s arguably the biggest romance film guy we have. Most of us grew up idolizing him for being the sensitive, charming guy. But sadly, there’s something awfully wrong with his characters. Go through these films to see how JLC makes manipulative and emotionally dependent characters to compelling and sensitive dudes.

Highlights: Aside from One More Chance, My Amnesia Girl has the biggest grand gestures and the most emotionally dependent JLC character.

 

6. OTWOL Marathon

Well you can checkout our 10 OTWOL episodes for every OTWOL newbie if you want to relive the hit show.

Binge-Watching Ideas For Long Weekends 2016

5 Things TV Networks Can Learn From OTWOL

 

On The Wings Of Love finally ended its fantastic seven-month run last week. As much as I want this show to have a season 2,  Clark and Leah deserve their peace after all they’ve been through. It was must-see local TV for me for its last two months. Thanks a lot Tonette Jadaone and Jojo Saguin, now there’s a gap in my heart that aches every 9:30 – 10:15pm (oo dahil laging naeextend).

Kidding aside, more than just being entertaining, the show experimented and did things that I do hope the TV network bigwigs will consider in producing the next batch of teleseryes. Here are a few things that I took note of:

1. THE FILIPINO AUDIENCE NOW HAS A DIVERSE PALATE

We’ve somehow touched on this in the most recent The Streamline Podcast episode; on how the treatment of our local romance films and TV shows had progressed from latin american telenovelas to more western and asian drama-infused. We can all praise the internet for that! Streaming or downloading your Breaking Bads and Baker Kings exposed Filipinos to other forms of storytelling and characterization that we haven’t seen yet in local TV. This made us generally more appreciative of entertainment.

It was nice that a teleserye like On The Wings Of Love was able to get the attention of Filipinos even though it didn’t involve rich guy-poor girl leads, villains (Simon’s an antagonist but not a villain), revenge plots or abandoned warehouses–the standard tropes you’d see in a local teleserye.

2. TIME TO BREAK OUR TRADITIONAL CHARACTER MOLDS

What if the man in the relationship’s the nurturing one while the woman was the driven one? What if we have gay characters that aren’t caricatures? Not only did On The Wings Of Love subverted our traditional notions of males, females and LGBTs  in media but it also fleshed them out. Yes, Clark and Leah were good-natured people, but they were also selfish and often insecure.

On episode 03 of All About OTWOL, I applauded how the writers approached the characters of Tita Jack and Mama Lou. Even though they were lesbian and gay, their sexuality wasn’t milked to play up the story. Tita Jack, even though she might be typified as a butch lesbian because of her looks, was as nurturing as any mom can be to Jigs and Clark. In the same vein, Mama Lou wasn’t typified as the loud parloristang bakla sa kanto, he was calm, composed and a voice of reason in tenement uno (the loudest resident award goes to Bebeng). [These characters reminded me of an episode of Netflix’s Master of None wherein Aziz Ansari’s character tried to fight his right to audition for an Indian character in a TV show without the stereotypical Indian accent.]

3. TRY OUT NEW WAYS OF STORYTELLING

Again, the Filipino audience of today’s more appreciative of creative ways of telling the story. Not every detail needs to be part of the dialogue or explicitly said or shown in-frame. Here are some of the things that they tried out:

  • Used spoken word poetry in key scenes to intensify the mood (Juan Miguel Severo’s piece in the finale was hella great)
  • Utilized teasers to mold expectations of the audience (damned San Fo teasers!)
  • Used animation as preface to a major turning point in the story (a classic Antoinette Jadaone technique 😉 )
  • Tatang Sol and Tita Jack conversations to help the audience process the motivations of Clark and Leah

4. GAWIN MONG LIGHT (AND UNEVEN)

Honestly, I have a hard time categorizing OTWOL, it wasn’t a pure comedy nor was it a pure drama. It did make good use of both. Throughout its run, it mixed up the comedic highs and dramatic lows to make a satisfying viewing experience. I can’t even call it a teleserye because the term is so heavily associated with a more serious tone. I guess I should just call it a good primetime TV show?

5. THE CONVERSATION IS ALMOST AS IMPORTANT AS THE PRODUCT

You know a show is great when you have an intense desire to discuss it with another person afterwards. Cable channel, AMC, capitalized on this insight and created companion talk shows that air after each episode of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad (for season 5.2). It helped audiences process the things that happened considering how intense these shows can be.

OTWOL, may not have a companion talk show but it had #otwolistalk. OTWOL’s prod staff scoured the internet to feature reactions of viewers either either via video or via their website. Promoting content created by fans help in showing that the show values the support its fans are giving therefore encouraging fans to invest more on the TV show.

5 Things TV Networks Can Learn From OTWOL

All About OTWOL 05 Jadine In Love Concert and Finale Anticipation

The penultimate episode of the All About OTWOL Podcast by Pop Philtre

Nenz and Euge discuss last Saturday’s Jadine In Love concert, their hopes for OTWOL’s finale and listener questions and reactions.

Feel free to drop any comments, suggestions, or topics in our comment section below 🙂

Intro/Outro by Lee Rosevere

All About OTWOL 05 Jadine In Love Concert and Finale Anticipation

All About OTWOL 04 – Our Favorite Supporting Characters

Here’s All About OTWOL episode 04!

Nenz and Euge discuss their favorite OTWOL supporting characters plus their observations from this week and listener questions and reactions.

Who’s your favorite supporting character? Share your answer in our comments section!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our soundcloud page for updates!

If you want to listen to the previous episodes of All About OTWOL click this link.

Intro/Outro by Lee Rosevere

All About OTWOL 04 – Our Favorite Supporting Characters

OTWOL: Ten Episodes To Prep Any OTWOL Newbie

OTWOL Primer Cover

On The Wings Of Love is about to end in a week’s time. If you have any friends that want to get into the show before its finale, Nenz took note of the 10 (out of all 138 episodes) crucial episodes to put any OTWOL newbie up to speed.

You can watch all of OTWOL’s episodes via iWanTV for free. All you need to do is to register.

Note: We know that choosing only 10 from the current 138 episodes would be difficult, so we prioritized the episodes that will help newbies understand Clark and Leah’s story as well as their personalities and values. Again, this isn’t the BEST or MOST KILIG episodes of OTWOL. These episodes were chosen to help newbies follow the current story.

If you have any builds or comments, feel free to comment below!

#1 August 10, Arrival

  • Key Events: Leah’s US visa application is approved, while current boyfriend, Jigs, is denied.
  • Why this episode is important: Aside from being the first episode of the series, it gives us a background of the Olivar family, why Leah has this strong sense of family and why she dreams of working in San Francisco. The audience is also introduced to the show’s adage: kapag mahal ka, babalikan ka

#2 August 28, Hindi Pwede

  • Key Events: After much prodding, Clark finally opens up regarding his complicated relationship with his father.
  • Why this episode is important: It’s also equally important to know Clark’s story. This episode helps us understand Clark’s character and his difficult upbringing. Clark opening up about his childhood to Leah also signaled progress in their relationship; from business partners to friends.

#3 September 17, Most Approved Kiss

  • Key Events: Leah’s green card finally gets approved, while Jigs’s visa re-appeal is also approved.
  • Why this episode is important: Clark and Leah’s first kiss and a glimpse into the roller coaster relationship that they’ll experience after developing feelings for each other.

#4 October 1, Aminan Night

  • Key Events: With Tita Jack, and Jigs’ insistence, already asking for their divorce plans, Clark and Leah, with the help of Monette and Cullen, finally admit their love for each other. Also, Nanang’s husband dies. Moreover, the infamous Clark and Jigs topless showdown.
  • Why this episode is important: The episode establishes that they’re not just a couple on paper anymore. And the episode also sets up Nanang’s return to haunt Leah and the other Olivars.

#5 October 6, Fight For Love

  • Key Events: Leah decides to leave Clark and San Francisco to go home to the Philippines after meeting her supposedly dead mother.
  • Why this episode is important: This is a turning point in their relationship and the start of Clark’s pursuit of Leah’s affection. The episode also shows the lengths Leah will do to preserve her family.

#6 October 28, Hero

  • Key Events: Clark saves Bebeng from a fire at tenement uno
  • Why this episode is important: After going through Tatang’s gauntlet of challenges, Clark finally gets Tatang Sol’s approval. Also another proof that Clark will go through great lengths to prove he’s worthy of Leah’s love.

#7 November 10, Finally Yours

  • Key Events: Leah finally agrees to commit to Clark
  • Why this episode is important: Leah realizes that she can be more than her Nanang, that she doesn’t need to put aside her personal dreams for the welfare of her family.

#8 January 15, Moment Of Truth

  • Key Events: Tatang and Nanang finally meet again. And with Tatang’s weak heart to deal with, Clark offers the idea to postpone their Church wedding.
  • Why this episode is important: The episode wherein Leah starts to deprioritize her relationship with Clark to focus on her family’s needs…again.

#9 – 10 February 10 (The Breakup), February 11 (Heartbroken)

  • Key Events: Clark and Leah’s heated argument that led to their break-up.
  • Why this episode is important: These two episodes expose a dimension of Clark and Leah that they’ve tried to suppress for the longest time: Clark’s insecurity and Leah’s ambition.The decision of the writers to set aside two episodes to fully explore the two leads’ personalities just really makes good quality Filipino TV. Props to Nadine and James!
OTWOL: Ten Episodes To Prep Any OTWOL Newbie