Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Husbands Lover: Lessons Learned

In this country, shows about betrayal and infidelity have become part of the Filipino culture. If a TV show or movie comes out revolving around this premise, people eat it up. However, the stories have become cliché. From movies like No Other Woman or A Secret Affair, to TV shows like A Beautiful Affair and Temptation of Wife, the premise and story is always the same. One person cheats, the other person gets hurt and their entire family gets involved in the process together with some curses thrown here and there, a lock or two of hair being pulled out and in the case of Andi Eigenmann in A Secret Affair, she was sprayed with Calamine lotion.

This year, GMA 7 upped the ante and came out with a show unlike any other in the history of Philippine television shows.  What a simple plot it had, another story of infidelity but this time, it revolves around the story of two gay men, Vincent and Eric played by Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo, and Vincent's wife Lally played by Carla Abellana. Pegged as “Ang pinakamapangahas na palabas sa telebisyon”, My Husbands Lover has gained a huge following even before it aired. The mere thought of a TV show with the leads played by gay characters were enough to spike the interest of viewers and build the anticipation as the show came close to its debut.

Since day 1, My Husbands Lover has been trending on the social media platform Twitter every night with thousands of tweets and retweets about the show from gay men, women and probably one or two straight men. But aside from being the first TV show in the Philippines with this kind of theme, My Husbands Lover actually tackles different issues surrounding the LGBT community.

From the get-go, everyone can see how homophobic Vincent’s father is. His mother, played by Kuh Ledesma is not as homophobic but believes that being gay is a choice and that it can be prayed away. The effects of this? A son who is so far back in the closet, he’s in Narnia. It shows how important it is for Filipinos to please their parents just to gain their approval. 

On the other hand, there is Sol/ Sinag (played by Chanda Romero) who is Eric’s mother and is proud of her gay son. From her you could see a lioness who would protect her cub no matter the cost. It strikes a balance between the two.

Here you can see how important friends are in the lives of gay men. Vincent has David and Eric has Danny. It is common for gay men to build relationships with their friends as if they were family. More often than not, the support needed by gay men come not from their families but from their friends.

In this country, the stereotype is that if a man is gay, it immediately means that he is loud, flamboyant and wants to be a woman. The show debunked this by showing a scene where Vincent walked Lally through the different types of gay men. On some level, it was as if Vincent was educating not only Lally but also the viewers that not every gay man is flamboyant and loud. There are some who act like men and there are some who are more feminine and that not all gay men identify themselves as women. Though it shows how homophobic Vincent’s parents are and how limited the understanding of Danny’s mother is, the show had one scene involving Lally’s daughter wherein she said that gays are ‘not bad people’. It was a brief scene but very moving. In a very subtle way, it showed the innocence of a child and that being gay is not something you acquire or choose but homophobia and discrimination towards others is.

For a network to have a show like this is a huge leap forward for the LGBT community. Putting aside the fabulous wardrobe and witty one-liners of Kuh Ledesma, Chanda Romero’s motherly advice and Kevin Santos’ love for sweatshirts and cardigans, the show not only entertains but also educates the viewers specially those who have limited or little understanding about the LGBT community.

In line with this, would you want to see a partnership between My Husbands Lover and Love Yourself? Let us know by leaving a comment below.