'gitara' - february 15, 2014. xian on mmk
think of this as my way of making it up for not being online as this when this aired. also, i had to watch it almost in a rush, so pardon me if i forget a few details.
when it was announced that he was going to be on the show, my first reaction was “finally!” (yes, he had an appearance years ago, and i saw that episode in passing, but it personally does not count since i wasn’t paying attention…XD) and then i saw the episode’s teaser - a third of me was confident he could handle it, a third thought the material might be quite underwhelming for him and his skill, and a third thought the teaser was managing audience expectations. it turned out, the first and the last thirds were right. he was not only able to handle the role and the material, he did so with flying colors. and it’s true, the teaser unconsciously taught us not to expect much, which lead to me being surprised. speechlessly surprised.
as usual, i know what i want to see, what he is capable of, but i still don’t know how he was going to play it. generally speaking, the overt simplicity of this episode’s theme is proof that even the most mundane of life experiences, even the most ordinary people are stories to be told. this should refute any commentary to the effect that the person he played the character of, and the girl involved are shallow and one dimensional. everything happens for a reason, and everyone has reasons for being. and this particular cast made those reasons clear.
this is a tale of a player, who does not take life seriously, who is careless and reckless. he takes relationships for granted. he takes people for granted. quite simplistic, right? not if you layer in the pain of losing his father and the subsequent feelings of inadequacy and neglect. meynard was a kid who was left to cope, while his siblings went on to be success stories and his mother kept the family afloat. problem is his manner of coping hurt people, hurt girls, most of all hurt himself. this might officially be xian’s first starring role (well, maybe not…) but this is the first in which i felt him carry the bulk of the intellectual and emotional burden. he is the title role, for goodness sake! this role was kind of a stretch for him and while it was a treat to see him try diversity on for size, it took a while for me to personally adjust. and when i did, it was fine. his character choices were that of a thinking actor. see, he could have easily played the character as the quintessential ladies man, but he understood, that maynard’s being a player is merely a consequence of deeper personal issues, and he got that. through his understanding, he made us understand. maybe it was the writing, coupled with his sensitivities, that lent a human face to the playboy stereotype. whatever it is, he made the character whole. there were no excuses for the character’s actions, there was no condemnation, just statement of circumstances and reactions in a complete, full circle, wholistic manner. a professor once told me, that in order to understand, inhabit a character, one must suspend judgement and let your audience decide. clearly, he was able to do just that. he dug deep. it was a balance of brain and heart.
as for bangs, she surprised me too. i’ve said that this is probably my most favorite tv role of her. she was able to de-prettify herself and make a 360 degree turn. this wasn’t the stereotypical bangs garcia role, if you know what i mean. her willingness to be completely emotionally exposed (even in “the reunion”) is admirable. the chemistry is something they made work. and for trying (knowing that he came from such a powerful pairing), there is something to be said about their professionalism.
back to him, because, quite frankly this is his episode. i remember saying his acting style is something that one could very easily miss, if one does not pay close attention, because it is extremely quiet, it does not scream, and it works. it’s deep, real and thought and emotionally provoking. it’s something that very rarely boils over, but simmers. i am notorious for constantly asking if there really is really a camera on set when he’s in frame, because it doesn’t feel like there is one. it’s scary how transparent and emotionally realistic he can get. he is only one of the two mainstream actors that i know can do this. for character actors, it’s a different story, of course. xian’s sensitivities in acting are something new, something the local audience are yet to get used to. theatrical in parts, but mostly method, quiet, but deep, calculated but instinctive, mapped out but seemingly carefree.
this post is written to say that if this episode was a litmus test for him and his ability to shine on his own merits, he undoubtedly passed. he is extremely capable and so deserving of so much more and i hope you see it.
three moments of note:
- the moment after the fast food confrontation - the struggle. the urgency.
- the conversation by the window with his mother - the hopelessness. the vulnerability.
- the nursery scene. the nursery scene. that nursery scene! Lord have mercy that was in a league of its own!
i am grateful for this episode, this is the kind of acting, most especially, i won’t mind watching on tv, even everyday. understated but powerful. for him, there is still a lot to learn of course. it can be learned. it will be learned. but if anyone, fails to see, that the boy’s got something after this….i don’t know what else to tell you. just….i don’t mind being makulit with posts like these, until everyone who matters and all the world finally sees it. and yes, i have a terrible feeling i am missing something….ask, remind me, and i shall write some more.
episode aired on the 15th of february
personally watched on the 16th of february
wrote on the 17th to the 18th of february
photo, as credited. thank you bebe, you’re the best! ;-)
posting on the whee hours of february 19, 2014
paopao :) <3