I actually watched Marimar! From start to finish, no less.
Yeah, I remember telling my former students that teledramas are a waste of time and brain cells.
So inspite of that, why did I watch Marimar?
Let me cite the following reasons:
- What's a girl to do when she's got a TV and nothing else to do when she gets home from work?
- The reception of ABS-CBN on my TV is crappy. Besides, any network that topbills Kris Aquino in their shows is nowhere near respectable, if I may say so.
- I managed to start watching it, so I guess I got hooked.
- Marian Rivera's quite a lovely kid who really managed to fit in the shoes of the original Marimar -- Thalia.
- Marian Rivera's teamup with Dingdog Dantes is S-I-Z-Z-L-I-N-G. Those two really look good together.
- I also watched the original Marimar with Thalia in it, and I wanted to see how Joyce Bernal would handle the Philippine version.
Now that Marimar is over, probably an assessment is due.
I recall that the Mexican Marimar took about three or four months of airing in local television. But in true Philippine fashion, our local Marimar lasted for a whopping seven months -- from August 2006 to March 2007.
From Ines Rodena's original story, local producers provided more twists and turns to the plot than Kennon Road. The local characterizations, meanwhile, were quite conformist in nature from the feisty Marimar Perez-cum-Bella Aldama to the sinister Angelica Santibañez/Aldama. But GMA 7 created an even bigger cast of characters to add to the original ones. To rationalize the addition of characters, more winding subplots were added to the already-knotted-up original plot, thereby creating what I'd like to refer to as "storyline indigestion."
The final episodes were also kinda frustrating to watch. It was obvious that GMA 7 was extending the story to unusual lengths just to keep up with the numerous commercials being aired with it. After all, Marimar was their best money-making machine to date.
If I remember right the circumstances on how the Mexican Marimar concluded, Angelica did die -- but in another way. In the Filipino version, Angelica died after Marimar gained the upper hand in a helicopter skirmish. The latter pushed Angelica out of the helicopter they were riding, and Sergio (who was dangling from one side of the heli) kicked her so she lost her grip and fell. Her head got bashed on a rock near a swamp full of crocs. She eventually ended as crocodile feed. The Mexican version had Marimar and Angelica battling it out inside a hut. The hut caught fire, and while Marimar managed to run away from the blaze unscathed (with Sergio's help, of course), Angelica met a fiery end. It was as simple as that.
Marimar was also Marian Rivera's debut to fame. She has suddenly skyrocketed from a nameless starlet to one of the most bankable stars in local television. If she keeps her funny-sometimes-naughty nature and continues to use her dancing talent, there's no telling how high she can go. Sorry na lang sa mga Angel Locsin fans, but I'll choose Marian over her anytime.
I never thought Dingdong Dantes would make a good Sergio Santibañez at first, but as the story went on, he definitely proved me wrong. I initially kept on comparing him kasi with the dreamy Eduardo Capetillo who played the Mexican Sergio. Capetillo was one certified hottie in his time, and his bare-chested scenes with Thalia were so steamy. Just check out his hairy chest that was just as furry as Fulgoso!
And speaking of Fulgoso, the local one may have been a breed better than the Mexican one, but the poor golden retriever with Michael V.'s voice was not given as much exposure as his Mexican counterpart. In one interview, Director Joyce Bernal admitted that the most difficult scenes in Marimar were the scenes with Fulgoso in them because it was hard to get the dog to display the "emotion" needed for the scenes. The Mexican Fulgoso, meanwhile, shared a lot of crucial scenes with the main cast of Marimar because the black terrier seemed to be a tad better-trained.
And speaking of better training, I kinda resent the inclusion of characters with totally foreign twangs in the story. Example No. 1: Bruno, the friend of Rodolfo San Jinez. Good Lord, that feller had no business getting some speaking lines there! Example No. 2: Atty. Adrian, Marimar's most-trusted lawyer who had a secret admiration for her. He plodded through each scene like a muscular robot with an American twang. I just found it too hard to believe that he was actually playing a lawyer. There are other better actors out there with no irritating accents, so what's the deal with these two?
The wedding of Sergio and Marimar proved to all that GMA considered the series its flagship program. I was very impressed with the well-prepared handling of the wedding -- as if it was the real thing, minus the real priest and the documents. It was held in the utterly-beautiful San Agustin Church in Intramuros, with Marian and her entourage wearing gowns made by top local designers. There were real "ninongs" and "ninangs," from the GMA 7 top executives to well-known personalities like German Moreno and Ricky Reyes. During the reception which was held live in the GMA Studios, there was even a fireworks display to conclude the series. Considering that Marimar toppled everyone else at the primetime ratings game, I guess that closing salvo was a fitting end to a monumental teleserye.
Now that Marian and Dingdong have a new series coming up, Marimar fans now have something to look forward to after the conclusion of their favorite teleserye. I hear that they're the lead stars in Mars Ravelo's classic story, Dyesebel. Since Marian's also a good swimmer, let's see how she fares as the new Filipina mermaid.