We’ve held off from writing about “Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin,” the “reunion” TV drama series of the Kimerald love team of Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson because its opening week took the “backstory” route and focused on the lead couple’s early years, with child and tween actors portraying them for the nonce.
That “slow burn” approach doesn’t grab us where we live and breathe, but some TV producers apparently think that viewers like it, because it shows how “deep” a dramatic conflict or love story goes.
In any case, we bided our time for Kim and Gerald to finally take over—but, we did note that the tween actor who played young Gerald, Yogo Singh, came up with a natural and believable portrayal. Kudos to him for managing to stand out in a “temporary” role.
As for the series’ main stars, now that they’ve taken over, Kim is doing well as a young triathlon contender who is bent on helping her family rise above poverty and illness.
She’s less than convincingly impressive in the series’ sports competition scenes, but that isn’t a major problem for us to hurdle, because she’s believable and empathetic as the naive but ambitious girl she plays, which is a more important consideration.
Kim’s biggest drawback is still her thin and relatively untextured speaking voice. Now that she’s pushing 30, she really has to overcome this limitation, because it’ll get in the way of her “adulting” portrayals.
For his part, Gerald has more drawbacks to contend with. The most obvious is the fact that he hasn’t aged as well as Kim, so he wasn’t credible in the storytelling’s earlier and younger scenes.
The russet-colored hair he currently sports makes him look even older, so the sooner he gets rid of it, the better.
As for acting talent, Gerald has proven in past roles like his title character in “Budoy” that he has it, but his character now is more predictable and limited.
So, if he wants to boost his thespic reputation instead of just coast along, he should ask the show’s writers to give his character a more conflicted and unpredictable persona.
What about the new series’ kontra characters, portrayed by Jake Cuenca and Coleen Garcia?
They too are tainted and circumscribed by the show’s patina of predictability and stereotype, playing rich or snooty types who have “opposing” designs on the lead players.
Trouble is, their schemes are on the obviously obverse side, so more unpredictability is needed in their scenes, as well.
All told this early in the storytelling, it’s Kim’s character and portrayal that stand out and provide the unfolding proceedings, with some sort of fulcrum and focus. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to consistently grab us where we live and breathe.
Another limitation is the “love team revival” nature of the showcase, which stresses “kilig value” in its flirtation and love scenes—while the drama also seeks to firm up Kim and Gerald’s rep as “young adulting” dramatic talents.
This two-pronged focus and objective sometimes result in “contradictory” scenes that leave viewers at cross-purposes.
In TV dramatics and for-the-fans swoonfests, you really can’t have your cake and “cheese” it, too!
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