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Lourd de Veyra gets down and dirty on TV5's Face to Face
Our blogger can’t get enough of Amy Perez’s talak-serye which puts Jerry Springer and Ricki Lake’s shows to shame.
Published on: Jun 25, 2010 - 6:40pm


A flying shoe always makes for good show, be it in Iraq or Novaliches. This afternoon, a shoe flew in the direction of Melvin Tiplado, a tricycle driver accused of not returning things absentminded or drunk customers lose inside his vehicle in the dead of night. The shoe's trajectory sweeps across Amy Perez, the host who protests, "Sandali lang! Sandali lang!" deftly averting premature physical confrontation between the tricycle driver and Joan, a woman in her early 20s. Her story: one night, she left her wallet and cellphone in Mang Melvin's tricycle.

Joan is sure that it was in Mang Melvin's tricycle. Mang Melvin swears that he never saw anything. Amy Perez asks what Joan does for a living. She answers, "GRO sa club" and the audience erupts into sneers and boos. "Eh GRO naman pala eh!" quips a lady in the audience. On the night she lost her stuff, she was drunk, she admitted. The perils of the job, indeed. "Lasing ka naman pala kasi!" shouts a woman in the audience. Joan throws her dagger-looks , threatening to drag a third party into the argument. "O… O... lilingon pa!" said the woman.

Two more witnesses against Mang Melvin are dragged out. The first guy, Roel, says he, too, left his wallet in the trike. The second guy, Jun also left a wallet containing P2,300, his salary.

Then, to the tricycle driver's defense, a girl is brought out, a neighbor, who claims she left a bag with P5,000 inside–which Mang Melvin returned! The girl points to the two men: "Hoy! Tingnan niyo mga sarili niyo! Mukha kayong adik!"

In the States, this would fall under the category of trailer-trash television, but like most things in contemporary Pinoy pop culture, this one has taken on a bizarre sort of mutation. Like "tele-radyo," "fantaserye," "kanta-serye," this show has its own unique monicker: "talak-serye." Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones are its genetic forefathers, but it might register on a different level of strangeness, for there is no landscape more surreal than Philippine life.

The show's teaser is filled with the promise of so much dirt.

This is Face to Face, one of the top-rating shows on the newly reformatted TV5. Airing Monday to Friday at 11 a.m. and trampling on the competition in the same timeslot, this is reality television at its most insidiously compelling. It goes like this: two opposing parties with issues sit across each on the stage. Amy Perez mediates. Both sides tell their stories, with the unspoken anticipation that it culminates into verbal and physical violence, which always makes for excellent highlight reel. Sample vicious dialogue between two arguing women: "At least ang buhok ko, totoong rebond–yung sa —˜iyo…relax lang!"

But where Jerry Springer arbitrates between militant blacks and KKK members, between tattooed truckers and outlaw bikers, in Face to Face the conflicts can easily stem from something as simple as an old oven toaster, or a botched-up pedicure job or unpaid debts to the sari-sari store. No issue is too inane to be used as fulcrum for a gripping human sabong. Which–after all the heated arguments and the relentless volley of insults–is probably the highlight of the show. For most people, that is. But as we'll learn later, it's not the point, although we'll have to admit that slapping, hair pulling, fistfights, and profanity are the cornerstones of great television.

And add to that, dancing. Every episode begins with a dance number by a group of young men with neon K-pop hairdos. What the routine at the opening serves to the overall theme is beyond me, but is there anything on Philippine television that cannot be improved by a dance number?

The gladiatorial atmosphere is enhanced by crowd-chanting. "Face to face! Face to face! Face to face!" uttered in complete synch, with matching hand gestures that involve a series of claps and thigh-slaps. In between segments, the audience is asked to take sides. For which they are given plastic squares in either red or white. Sa pula? Sa puti? The last time you heard something like this was at a cockfight. The audience members are called "sawsaweros" or "sawsaweras," another graphically Pinoy term for kibitzers.

Most episodes are threatened with the prospect of on-set violence. Which explains the presence of two bodyguards, B1 and B2. Whether or not they were named after the Bananas in Pyjamas is something you do not want to ask them personally. Just look at their biceps–and their eyebrows. Oh, but one more thing: there is an MTRCB ruling that prohibits the showing of any physical contact, which is why the show cuts before the actual landing of the punch (Jeez, they won't let us watch pornography and they won't let us see a fist landing on a face. What the fuck?).

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  • nik
    People nowadays are really losing it. O_OrnLoss of dignity. Depersonalized. Turning their lives into something they can sell. And not to mention.... We have buyers willing to take advantage.
    Nov 15 2011 @ 08:05am     Reply  
  • roel
    maganda show, magtibay at mabuhay ang show nyo..
    Dec 09 2010 @ 09:04pm     Reply  
  • postmarxism
    @eheh ---> ok fine, hindi na to journal. basta wag mo lang pakialaman yung word na f***. wag mo i-apply sa lahat yung gusto mong i-apply sayo. gusto mo kasi lahat kami, kamukha mo.
    Jul 30 2010 @ 02:33pm     Reply  
  • rjan
    Exciting sana kaso ginaya lang nila ang concept ng The Jerry Springer Show. Ang Talentadong Pinoy sa Britain's Got Talent naman kinuha. Buti hindi sila sinusumbong ng ABS-CBN sa mga original creators and producers ng TJSS at BGT. TV5 is a good plagiarist. tsk tsk.
    Jul 26 2010 @ 04:47pm     Reply  
  • jhersey
    @eheh, this is a blog. ok? easy ka lang.

    and to you, lourd, you're the best. :)
    Jul 17 2010 @ 02:21am     Reply  
  • romy p.
    its not surprising that this show, ginaya lang sa states-sa gerry springer show... shame, shame, shame.
    Jul 16 2010 @ 12:49pm     Reply  
  • 17 still
    it is easy to deep dive and discuss how face to face is a reflection of our sordid state as a nation. however, it is not the intention of the show to be the pivot of change. 1. they need ratings (which they are successful, BTW)by being masa-friendly, and 2. they let people vent their long-held anger against one another. There is a chismoso/chismoso inate in everybody and this is what the show is capitalizing on. I'd rather watch F2F than Diz iz It which is more depressing and not at all fun to watch.
    Jul 13 2010 @ 01:16am     Reply  
  • Ginny Bernal
    Hi! Please tell me what days do this show comes on and what channel? Is this already available in the States(does Optimum cable carry this?).Help pls...
    Jul 09 2010 @ 01:17pm     Reply  
  • notafanbutwatches
    hindi na siguro kailangan pa na magka show ng ganun na murahan at sakitan sa tv. tapos parang bigla naman na magkakabati ng ganun kadali after exchanging a series of expletives na puro beep. parang kawawa naman mga kababayan natin na ganun na nga ang status nila sa buhay e magakaka palabas p tayo sa tv ng pag belittle na nila sa sarili nila. i keep onthinking nga eh, bakit walang mga middle or upper class na mga tao ang napupunta sa face to face. does it mean ba na puro mga mahihirap lang ngating bansa angganun makipag away. wala lang po. lulungkot lang. God bless.
    Jul 09 2010 @ 10:40am     Reply  
  • kapengmabula
    @Kid Clean

    it's actually dousing gasoline to the fire. kumbaga sa sabong, pinapausukan mo ung manok. wag nawa nilang gayahin ung DNA testing sa Maury dahil actually traumatic sa bata yun.
    Jul 07 2010 @ 06:51pm     Reply  
    If you can spot the grammar error in the post above this, then kudos to you.
    Jul 05 2010 @ 10:22am     Reply  
    Oh, I did not get that in your first post. Maybe you can write better next time? Take journalism course. Those will help you.
    Jul 05 2010 @ 10:21am     Reply  
  • Kid Clean
    It's not scripted, but it's likely that the producers of the show motivate the people to act the way they do on screen. I hear that's what they do on Maury.
    Jul 03 2010 @ 12:50pm     Reply  
  • neckromancer
    - There is nothing on Philippine Tv that can not be improved by a dance number.

    - There is a little Kris Aquino in each of us.

    for Lourd's new book, "The Rules of Being Filipino"
    Jul 01 2010 @ 04:54pm     Reply  
  • El Indio
    It's called MEDIA CONFERRAL, by Communication major students. The Medium, either print or broadcast confers among the masa a certain degree of cachet.Andy Warhol, calls it Fifteen minutes of Fame. Marshall Mcluhan,calls it Medium is the Massage....
    Jul 01 2010 @ 11:17am     Reply  
  • Elle
    Sounds like a promotional article, Is it because your on TV5 now, Lourd?
    Jul 01 2010 @ 02:45am     Reply  
  • igeramos

    yes, their 15 minutes of fame, and they will treasure that experience for the rest of their life.

    somehow it takes more than money to make us happy.

    seeing ourselves on TV, getting published or simply getting acknowledged, is more than enough.

    you're dead right, even if there's no conflict resolution, they will talk about it endlessly.

    after all, it's not about the resolution, it's the process that counts.
    Jun 30 2010 @ 10:59pm     Reply  
  • erin
    i think pinoys allow themselves to be in this program not just for money but fame as well. when they go back to their very own homes, they will re-tell their experience on television for a hundred times. and they will view this show as something that helped them resolved whatever issues they may have... even if nothing is really resolved...
    Jun 30 2010 @ 10:35pm     Reply  
  • igeramos
    @El Indio

    It was just an imagined scenario.

    Of course I'm affected by the desperation of these people.

    I do sincerely hope that the new president will do something about it.
    Jun 30 2010 @ 09:32pm     Reply  
  • El Indio

    Yes, but aren't you affected by the quiet desperation of these people? Just for a styrofoam worth of foodie they want to duke it out with anybody? I hope the new president can effect some changes to alleviate the neo- nihilism of these lumpen sector of our society.
    Jun 30 2010 @ 09:00pm     Reply  
  • igeramos
    Swear words like "f*ck", "shit" and "screw" are already accepted in the canon of journalism. Fuck for example can be used as a noun, a verb and and adjective. It is also used as an adverb and a gerund.

    Most respected British newspapers like the Times of London and The Guardian are crawling with four-letter words. Because of its frequency of use, it has lost its power to shock and most people are desensitized when they come across it.

    However, it is different in Pilipino. Filipinos love to use pun, phonemes and double entendres. For example: Utang ng Ina Mo, Tanging Ina, Tanging Ina Mo, Talentadong Pinoy, etc. They sound vulgar because they sound like the cuss words. But if you analyze each word, they seem so innocent and harmless.

    Words that I really find offensive and vulgar are the words hindot, k*nt*t and chupa. These words are truly unacceptable in the local journalistic canon and should only be used in discourse and critical discussions such as this forum.

    As for Lourde's razor-sharp observation of the television program Face to Face. It really shows that most networks really stood down to the lowest common denominator just to satisfy ratings and advertising revenues.

    Actually, watching Face to Face is no worse than watching pride of lions feasting on the bloody remains of a hapless baby gazelle on Animal Planet, which I find really brutal. The only difference is, it is narrated in a hushed voice by David Attenborough. With that devise, it really makes the program impersonal and detached but at the same time, educational and entertaining.

    I don't find any redeeming value in Face to Face. I watch it because I'm simply dumbfounded how people bask in their glory, whilst in front of the camera, displaying their misery on national television. In other words, they allow themselves to be treated like shit.

    I wonder how much money these people get just to appear in that program? I guess they just feed them with Jollibee and give them jeepney money. Then after the program, everybody goes home with their styrofoam of cold spaghetti, tepid coca-cola and everything is hunky-dory.
    Jun 29 2010 @ 07:29pm     Reply  
  • cobbi
    Basura ang mga programang tulad nito. Mga mangmang ang lahat ng involved dito, from the host, guests at buong staff including the director. May Diyos po tayo, yung mga baho ninyo huwag na ninyong ipalabas sa public kasi alam na ni Lord yan,even its for the entertainment value hondi magandang example sa mga bata. Yung mali ay hindi pwedeng maging tama, ang Diyos ay hindi nagbabago pero ang tao nagbabago. Akala ng mga mangmang naito ay okay itong show na ito na nagpapababa sa moralidad ng tao lalo na sa mga Pilipino. Ayusin ang buhay ninyo para naman kaawaan tayo ni Lord.
    Jun 29 2010 @ 06:29pm     Reply  
  • divine
    I used to watched Amy Perez on her program "Swak na Swak" because it gives people hope to improve their way of life by having a small business. And now, she chose this garbage to be the host. Its a pity to see Amy there and of course the people, being exploited infront of a national tv. What a mindless craft. I'm sure only people like them watch this trash.
    Jun 29 2010 @ 06:02pm     Reply  
  • sadohaqatar
    akala ko pa naman mga sosyal ang commentators dito sa pati itong show na 2 pinatulan, how baduy! then you will run a list of the best places or the best food or the best people, asan ang authority dun kung ang feeling naming nagbabasa e mukha press release lng lahat ang lumalabas dito.

    i think kaya lang naman ngkaroon ng ganitong review kc lourd is in tv5. syempre bitter-bitteran yan sa mga mas magaling na mga station.
    Jun 29 2010 @ 02:43pm     Reply  
  • honcho
    pero hindi ba puedeng sa 11pm ito pinapalabas? bakit 11am? this is just sad...
    Jun 29 2010 @ 12:49pm     Reply  
  • Yogi
    Pwede na tong show na to na alternative sa UFC.

    Di ko panunuurin to..
    Bad influence yata tong show na to.
    Jun 29 2010 @ 11:41am     Reply  
  • Lem Cacho
    I never watched the show. Never had the courage to do so. Dear Lourd, your description is enough for me.
    Jun 29 2010 @ 04:51am     Reply  
  • eheh

    hindi arte yong sinabi ko. Journalism Ethics yon. Lagi siguro internet binabasa mo kaya di mo alam yon. Magbasa ka kaya ng printed materials minsan minsan ano?
    Jun 28 2010 @ 11:23pm     Reply  

    anung network war sa statement

    i am speaking sa state ng pinoy tv in general

    lahat copycats

    Jun 28 2010 @ 10:19pm     Reply  
  • Sebastian

    no-no mo muka mo arte mo
    Jun 28 2010 @ 08:41pm     Reply  
  • eheh
    this article needs serious editing. the writer used the F word which is a no-no in journalism. Attention, Editor!
    Jun 28 2010 @ 05:38pm     Reply  
  • jeanbadgurl
    Yan din ang sabi ko sa mom ko.. parang ginagawang 'entertainment' ang pagsasabong ng mga guests.. kaso di sya nakikinig skin.. medyo affected na din nga ng pagka 'sawsawera'.
    Jun 28 2010 @ 02:24pm     Reply  
  • igeramos
    They have nothing to lose. Because of poverty they sold their misery and what remains of their dignity--for a few hundred pesos and 15 minutes of fame.
    Jun 28 2010 @ 09:16am     Reply  
  • dear hello
    Get out of your network war mentality and start to see a TV world without divisions.

    Your idiocy disgusts me.
    Jun 27 2010 @ 07:41pm     Reply  
  • hello
    steal what?

    talentadong pinoy is what? a general reality/talent show format!

    face to face is a Jerry Springer copy cat!

    so whats to steal when tv5 also copied them
    Jun 27 2010 @ 09:59am     Reply  
  • Marj
    The lives of both the rich and the poor can be full of dirt.

    Clearly, the poor will certainly be exploited again via this program just like in Wowowee. The panel of experts is an obvious shield to prevent any uproar from the censors.
    Jun 27 2010 @ 09:57am     Reply  
  • erin
    i have never seen an episode, but this blog makes me want to...

    oh another thing, i bet abscbn/gma7 will have a show like this in the near future... these two networks often steal show ideas from tv5...
    Jun 27 2010 @ 09:36am     Reply  
  • Tita Aida
    I meant to say with stitches.
    Jun 27 2010 @ 12:44am     Reply  
  • Tita Aida
    I would love to see Carlos face to face with any of the Bishops. One will go home in stitches. LOL
    Jun 27 2010 @ 12:43am     Reply  
  • carlos celdran
    I love face to face. Sigh. I really do.
    Jun 26 2010 @ 06:32pm     Reply  
  • zemansky
    it's alright to pick on kris aquino. she's really like that. she tells the whole world about anything and everything about her private life. she just enjoys all the attention. and i don't dislike her for that. i actually voted for the new president. :) and even if lourd doesn't notice it here, we all still do.
    Jun 26 2010 @ 06:02pm     Reply  
  • Balasubas
    There’s a little Kris Aquino in all of us - Dig this one Lourd. Lol! Meron ka pa pahaging kay Amy ha!? Hehehe
    Jun 26 2010 @ 11:45am     Reply  
  • GP
    ”is there anything on Philippine television that cannot be improved by a dance number?”

    Wala. Kaya nga pati sa inauguration ng bagong presidente merong song and dance number.
    Jun 26 2010 @ 03:22am     Reply  
  • Tita Aida
    In the States, where legal and police protection is airtight as you could imagine, violent acts were still committed outside the walls of the Jerry Springer or Ricky Lake studios.

    Wait until the first blood is spilled among these warring factions in the Philippines. I don't want Amy Perez to be the Geraldo Rivera of the Philippines who went home with a broken nose.

    I know this is reality TV but I still don't understand why some people wash dirty linen in public unless they get paid.
    Jun 25 2010 @ 10:00pm     Reply  
  • kghj
    ay naku Lourd, binanatan mo na naman si Kris. ano bang ginawa sa iyo nung tao? hehehe
    Jun 25 2010 @ 09:43pm     Reply  
  • win
    "is there anything on Philippine television that cannot be improved by a dance number?"

    Jun 25 2010 @ 09:40pm     Reply  
  • what'sthefrequency
    the people who run the show should permit physical violence between the plaintiff and the complainant. nothing provides more closure than feeling the cheeks of a person go smack on your knuckles. forget the wallet, the cellphone and other stuff. settle it MMA style on the floor! Ayluv et!
    Jun 25 2010 @ 08:20pm     Reply  
  • Dennis
    Leave it to Lourd to show us the true essence of the show, Face to Face. I now feel ashamed that I laughed at the expense of these people. But demmet Lourd what will I watch now?
    Jun 25 2010 @ 07:57pm     Reply  
  • Fan
    And only Amy Perez can handle this show. Any other host would take it to a more 'entertaining' level, of course at the expense of the poor guests. Kudos to her!
    Jun 25 2010 @ 07:57pm     Reply  
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