Hindsight Review: GMA’s “Carmela” and “Rhodora X” Dropped the Ball

One spoiler, but it doesn’t really matter.

Carmela and Rhodora X premiered at the end of January. While I was lukewarm with Carmela, I saw a lot of potential in Rhodora X.

Color me not surprised that not one, but two Filipino drama series end up having disappointing runs. This is definitely nothing new with Filipino soap operas. But going into new shows, of course, you’re very hopeful. It is unfortunate, but never unexpected that they end up completely dropping their balls multiple times before they bid farewell.

Stunning Visuals Not Enough
Carmela was pretty much a story of nothing. After starting out with a pretty uninteresting first week, I hoped the series would pick up steam, that it was a slowburn. But my baseless anticipation of some kind of high definition revenge story only raised my expectations too high.

The great cinematic visuals and the start of the Vhong Navarro-Deniece Cornejo nonsense helped boost the show’s slow first week.

When both novelties quickly faded, the show needed to stand on its own with a good story. Unfortunately, the story was worse than just bad. It was nonexistent.

Carmela and Yago’s love story was a bore. Roi Vinzon’s asshole/son of a bitch routine was already old on My Husband’s Lover. And Jaclyn Jose’s over/underacting is not enjoyable on any series.

So of course, a show with no story goes out with a whimper. 83 episodes of back and forth with absolutely no depth.

Just an incredible disappointment from a team that had brought to life such shows as My Husband’s Lover and Amaya. And a total waste of time for Marian Rivera as a follow-up after her successful run on Temptation of Wife.

It was the series that had the dissociative identity disorder
Rhodora X was the more promising of the two series. So its collapse is much more disappointing.

It wasn’t the psychological thriller it was being promoted to be. While Jennylyn Mercado gave an inspired performance as Rhodora, Roxanne and Rowena, the three personalities her character was struggling with, the series went off the rails (in a bad way) when it became obvious that Rhodora’s disorder was merely being used as an excuse to use the usual Filipino soap opera tropes.

The typical kidnappan and barilan would’ve been okay if they had actually put more effort into developing Rhodora’s mental illness and its effects. Instead, after some exposition in the first few weeks, her suffering from the disorder was pretty much glossed over the rest of the way and came across as a mere gimmick instead of major plot driver to the point that it didn’t matter anymore.

Forget the fact that they could have easily used simple video editing tools to make Rhodora and Roxanne’s conversations more interesting and visually appealing.

Maybe the only two interesting and memorable moments from the entire series were the mental hospital breakout (which was hilarious and completely played that way) and the final scene of Rhodora’s daughter Jenna exhibiting signs that she too may be suffering from DID.

Otherwise, the story itself was an incredible disappointment since an excellent premise was completely wasted. Not to mention the waste of Jennylyn Mercado’s excellent performance that elevated otherwise subpar material.

Nothing new
But again, dropping the ball is the norm on Philippine television. GMA isn’t the only network guilty of that. Unfortunately for Carmela and Rhodora X, they just became two more of “those” shows. All too typical Filipino soap opera. Which is why when a show actually gets through its run (hopefully, not overextended) and keeps its dignity intact, it already deserves applause. These two? Not so much.

5 thoughts on “Hindsight Review: GMA’s “Carmela” and “Rhodora X” Dropped the Ball

  1. At least these two simply fell victim to standard teleserye cliches (which was somehow to be expected), unlike the crash and burn of the rival network’s Princess and I last year. That series already had a really good story going, and then that network’s (still ongoing) obsession with a certain teenstar and the management tried so hard to give the show to him even if the character he is playing is pretty much inconsequential. The ending practically made zero sense of the established character developments and was simply there to have the guy’s fantards go “nakakakilig EEEEHHHH!!!!”That’s definitely the most spectacular and disappointing collapse I have seen yet on Phil. TV.

    1. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t finish it! hehe

      I don’t know what’s worse: A show that actually starts out very promising and actually aims to be a legitimately good story but ends up falling flat. Or a show that from the start is merely meant to be some fluffy, pa-tweetums daily promotional for a loveteam/artista in an effort to fill the network’s pockets? Hmmm…

      1. That’s the most infuriating part about the series. You can see that the writers were actually bent on creating a legitimately good story. They even managed to present sociopolitical questions inherent in the setting and actually tackle it, which is something you would rarely see in teleseryes. It was just the management’s greedy decision to cash in on the fantards that turned it into a fluffy, pa-tweetums show for their favorite teenstar.

        Oh, and it was the start of them wasting kathryn bernardo’s potential as a truly versatile actress -_-‘

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