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Too much, 'two many'.

Piolo Pascual's new travel and cuisine show, 'The Crawl,' finally made its debut last Sept. 3 at 9:30 p.m. on the Lifestyle Network, by way of an 'eating visit' to Osaka, Japan.

The telecast focused specifically on the dish called okonomiyaki-a savory Japanese pancake made of ingredients, depending on the cook's or customer's fancy.

Piolo and his travel buddy, Lui Villaruz, walked from one eating place to another, sampling four different versions. Alas, the proceedings became so repetitive that the sampling assignment turned out to be a case of two too many.

Part of the problem was the tandem's lack of experience in keeping the culinary adventure interesting and eventful by way of spontaneous observations, comments, reactions and asides.

More experienced hosts would have known how to not say pretty much the same things. Piolo and Lui said that they were having a yummily interesting and exciting time-but it didn't really feel like it, from some viewers' perspective.

Yes, it was a novel treat to see Piolo doing something new and unexpected, no longer role-playing but just being his nice, natural and eager-to-please self.

But, the sense of delight and surprise didn't linger, because he wasn't innately interesting and entertaining enough.

To up the show's ante, Piolo should realize that, for at least some viewers, his 'just being himself' tack isn't sufficient-he has to quickly acquire the knack for keeping things more eventful.

Naturally expressive TV hosts do this with unexpected comments and reactions, spontaneously droll asides and similarly fresh and personal observations.

Piolo and Lui didn't or couldn't go there, despite Lui's obviously being on hand to warm and 'fun up' the proceedings.

So, they need to be prepped to 'naturally' and 'spontaneously' do this on their next eating adventure. We put those two key words in quotation marks because there's actually little about the craft and art of TV show hosting that's natural and spontaneous.

Good program comperes just make it look and feel that way, through sheer dint of innate skill, experience and psychological savvy.

Some TV talents are 'born' with this skill. They're natural entertainers and communicators, as well as experts in their field of coverage. So, they can keep ad-libbing correctly and interestingly, and not repeat themselves and fumble and fish around for words.

Piolo and Lui don't belong to this lucky and well-versed group, especially when it comes to food and travel. So, they have to be helped and guided (without being obvious about it and cramping their style).

That's a tall order, but TV hosting isn't an easy-breezy walk through a park and food street in Osaka-that's for sure.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Sep 26, 2016
Words:545
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