I must be in my 'TVB rampage' mood recently because I felt the urge to write yet another rant on TVB (the 3rd one in just 2 weeks)...hopefully I won't have to write another one for awhile (hear that TVB? Stop ticking me off please! ) LOL....
I've been reading recently about how some veteran artists return to TVB to film a series or two after being away for a long time. The reason they usually give for why they return is because TVB helped launch their careers back in the day and helped them become popular, so they are 'repaying' the favor out of gratitude (in Chinese, we call it "飲水思源").
First of all, I must applaud the veteran artists who think this way because to be honest, the younger generation nowadays don't have those types of morals. Nowadays, many artists don't have such 'traditional' way of thinking and pretty much could care less about who helped them get to where they are now (hence the stories I hear constantly about the lack of respect for seniors / elders in the industry).
With that said though, I will very frankly admit that I'm not too keen on the veteran artists returning to film series for TVB. Now don't get me wrong -- the reason I think this way isn't because I have anything against the veteran artists or feel that their skills aren't up to par. In fact, it's quite the opposite -- I don't want them to return to TVB because I care alot about those artists (since I grew up watching TVB shows and therefore grew up with many of these veteran artists) and therefore don't want to see them mistreated.
As most people know, TVB has severely deteriorated over the years -- in the past 8 to 9 years especially (since the current management took over), TVB's blatant favoritism of their own contracted artists (alot of whom aren't talented and can't act/sing to save their lives) as well as them allowing their rampant politics to run amok, have severely crippled the management team's ability to run the company properly. The recent surge in artists 'leaving the nest' as well as the increase in 'complaints' against TVB (plus a bunch of other things that have happened the past few years) are proof that things are not as "peachy" as the company would like us to believe.
In TVB's view, all artists are 'dispensable' and can be quickly replaced with a snap of the fingers -- after all, the artists need TVB more than TVB needs them, right? Right -- so that's why the artists must adhere to alot of 'unwritten rules' (and yes, there are unwritten rules -- many artists and industry veterans have confirmed it), such as being 'obedient', always portraying the company in a good light, not complaining about anything bad that goes on, don't be vocal even if an injustice has been done, etc. Oh, and did I mention that they also have to be good-looking (based on the standards of a certain female executive that is) and 'kiss-up' to the right people? (Also, don't forget the 'designer handbag' requirement -- that's an important one! LOL!) If you don't follow these 'rules', don't even THINK about getting promoted!
To clarify, these are the 'rules' that apply to contracted artists -- as much as TVB may try, it is very rare that they are able to get the veteran non-contracted artists to adhere to such ridiculous 'rules'. But, being the greedy company that they are, they don't want to give up on the lucrative opportunity to have these artists in their series.....So what is the best solution? Simple! Put all of the veteran artists in a poorly scripted series and even give them pathetic characters to portray -- after all, the storyline and character don't matter, since the audiences will tune in anyway due to the artists' "star-power". Better yet, put them in series with heavily promoted younger generation contracted artists so that their "star-power" can rub off on them too!....I can just imagine the 'conversations' that go on during the management team's weekly Tuesday meetings: "Ooooh, so and so is coming back to film XYZ series! Since he/she is such a popular artist and well-liked by audiences, let's take advantage of the situation and use them to promote our own contracted artists! After all, this 'opportunity' doesn't come often...besides, they [the veteran artists] won't mind -- they're loyal to TVB -- after all, we gave them their success so they are eternally indebted to us! We definitely have the upper hand here!" [hypothetical dialogue]
Ok, in all seriousness....with all the inherent "issues" that TVB has (and all the complaints), you would think that the logical thing to do is take steps to improve the situation and make changes for the better (as well as to protect the company's future). Yet, for some reason, TVB can't seem to grasp that concept and even now, continues to be in denial that any problems exist (which means that no action will be taken any time in the near future). Instead, they continue to take the 'arrogant' approach, thinking that they can do anything they want because they are essentially 'the only game in town'.
So given this type of environment, why should the veteran artists return and 'help out' TVB by filming series for them again? I mean, most of these artists have been in the industry a long time and have already paid their dues -- why should they subject themselves to mistreatment from a company that is 'arrogant' and doesn't appreciate them? It's almost like these artists are getting 'punished' for being loyal -- which is REALLY messed up!
In a sense, I can understand the 'loyalty' reasoning, but the truth is -- most of the people who had helped these veteran artists get to where they are at now are NO LONGER AT TVB! With the exception of (head of production department) Catherine Tsang and Tommy Leung -- both of whom have been at TVB like forever -- everyone else has pretty much moved on. Ok, granted that some veteran artists may feel a sense of 'loyalty' to TVB's big bosses Run Run Shaw and Mona Fong (aka Uncle and Aunt Six), but really, is it "worth it" to subject yourself to such treatment just to 'give face' to 2 people who are no longer involved as much in day to day operations and probably don't really care anymore anyways? If the veteran artists want to show their loyalty, they can do so in other ways -- they shouldn't need to sacrifice their careers, reputation, money, and most importantly, their personal dignity in order to fulfill or prove their loyalty!
One last point that I've been thinking more and more about over the past few years....
True, TVB may have helped 'launch' many of the veteran artists' careers and so, in a sense, contributed to their current success (though technically, I could argue that it's really certain individuals and not really the company who were responsible for the success) -- BUT, by the same token, where would TVB be if it weren't for these same veteran artists who worked day and night to build up the company's reputation and image to what it is today? Do you think that TVB was able to become such an internationally renown institution over the past 4 decades entirely on their own? Do audiences tune in to watch TVB shows because they want to see the faces of the management team? Of course not! (and in the case of a certain female executive, I'm already annoyed that she keeps showing up at events, so please don't put her on TV too!) The veteran actors and actresses (and many of the behind-the-scenes people such as producers and scriptwriters) were a HUGE reason why TVB became so successful and why they were able to become the 'powerhouse' that they are today!
So my question to TVB is: Where's the APPRECIATION for all of the blood, sweat, and tears that the veteran artists put in to build your company up? I don't see you guys being GRATEFUL to them for their efforts all these years! A healthy relationship is one where there is mutual support and genuine concern for each other -- after all, it's supposed to be a 'two way street', not a one-sided road! The day will come when these veteran artists will finally realize that they've had enough and won't want to work for you -- and when it does, I hope that all the untalented "eyecandy" you've invested in will be able to carry you through!