Underdog stories are surefire favorites for us Pinoys. Everyone loves the downtrodden, the helpless.
The masses feel their pain, relate to their dreams of a better life for their family. So it’s no surprise that TV networks are overflowing with underdog themes, starting from teleseryes that milk this formula to the hilt.
It could border on glorifying masochism. But that’s where the big bucks are.
My Super D, ABS-CBN’s latest drama-fantasy is a case in point. It tells the story of poor, kind-hearted Dodong (Dominic Ochoa), who suffers from the cruelties of his childhood rival Tony (Marvin Agustin), parents-in-law, and even his wife Nicole (Bianca Manalo). Dodong sees himself as the mouthpiece of the weak, the defender of have-nots like him.
Sadly, good intentions aren’t enough. Initially working as a security guard, Dodong sinks deeper and deeper into a quagmire he didn’t know existed, until it seems he’s stuck there forever. Yes, the good guy finishes last. Or does he?
The series will air its pilot episode today, April 18, and there’s no telling where the elements of fantasy will take it. For now, the story seems to revolve around an ala Superman figure called Super D (Richard Yap) with a blue gem on his ample chest that makes him invincible.
Dominic as Dodong has the wholesome good looks the role calls for. But why hasn’t he aged even a bit from the moment he got his first job to the time he became the father of a seven-year-old boy (Marco Masa)?
Dodong’s mother, Aling Belen (Sylvia Sanchez) does a better job of showing how much the years have gone by with those wrinkles lining her forehead.
In a heart-wrenching breakdown scene, Marco acquits himself well. His devastated looks when circumstances beyond his control and understanding tear him and Dodong apart make you want to hug the boy and take him home with you. Then, as now, little children melt viewers’ hearts and squeeze the tear ducts dry.
The boy’s heart-wrenching breakdown scene stole the show from the more seasoned Dominic, who could have parlayed all his dramatic scenes into good use. Had he played his cards right, Dominic could have raised himself several notches above his current stature as an actor. His role, that of a man robbed of his dignity while trying to do good, is a golden opportunity to show that he’s more than just another handsome face in the biz.
Dominic--and the teleserye--mean well. They want to show how good old values like love for family, empathy and fighting for what’s right despite all odds, can make the world a little better. They succeed in showing the strength of a mother’s love.
QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS. But they’re not as successful elsewhere. How can a pregnant woman on the throes of labor wait for her husband to beat the bad guys before finally giving birth to their son?
Why can’t comic book author Pablo Mateo (Nonie Buencamino) bring Dodong home when they accidentally met, years after the former saved the literary man’s life? How did the childhood sweethearts in the story finally find each other in the middle of the big city with all its nameless faces?
These questions beg for answers. Without these answers, you feel like a babe lost in a forest of hidden traps and trails leading to nowhere.
Perhaps, our hero, Super D, will suddenly appear, and like the true-blue savior that he is, rescue the situation before it worsens?
We’ll never know until the next episodes crop up. So hold your breath, fasten your seatbelts and hop on to this journey of love, courage, broken friendships, and others. The maiden voyage, as many of its kind is, was not that smooth. But there’s still time to fix the engine and heed the directions in the cockpit’s instrumental panel.
Hopefully, the journey will be smoother; the ride in Super D’s gentle but strong arms, trouble free.
(My Super D starts airing on ABS-CBN this Monday, April 18, weeknights before TV Patrol).
Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.