Is the Philippines ready for a gay-themed daily series?

Tom Rodriguez, Carla Abellana and Dennis Trillo
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The era of teleseryes featuring your daily dose of romanticized heterosexual relationships may be over.

GMA’s gay-themed series “My Husband’s Lover (MHL)” starring Dennis Trillo, Tom Rodriguez and Carla Abellana premieres on June 10 on GMA Network. It is the network’s bold move to go against the boy-meets-girl plot cliché.

Will viewers suffering fantaserye fatigue, be ready to embrace the unconventional love triangle of MHL, which airs on viewer-rich television primetime hours? It’s a subject matter rival ABS-CBN tackles on occasion in “Maalaala Mo Kaya” but never on a daily basis. 

In an interview with Yahoo! Philippines OMG!, GMA program manager Helen Rose Sese related that the management said yes easily when the show was presented to them.

“GMA has always been the network that offers innovative concept. It was approved by top management because it was based on the relatability of the masses to the topic,” she said.

Avoiding the backlash

Still, with more than 50 million Filipinos who have access to TV, the networks can’t afford alienating a huge chunk of them. Thus, GMA is presenting MHL as a drama about a wife (Carla Abellana) who fights for her husband (Tom Rodriguez) against his gay lover (Dennis Trillo).

“This show is not all about the gayness of the characters but more of a love story and a family drama. Our intention is not to promote gay and lesbian relationship, but more of [a reflection] that this is happening now,” Sese related.

She also said the creative team will be under scrutiny to try and avoid “noise on the part of religious groups,” she added. “We will make sure we don’t go beyond anything that will offend them, as well as the gay community.”

Not possible 10 years ago

Ten years ago, the series wouldn’t have been possible, she acknowledged.

“Now kasi, ‘yung mga nangyayari sa ’tin marami nang makakarelate, kasi this is really happening. Before naman, 10 years ago, medyo tago pa ang mga tao. Hindi pa sila ganun ka-bold na umamin na, ‘We will fight for our love.’”

She said the time has come for MHL. “I guess mas matapang na ‘yung mga tao ipakita what they really feel. So we’re adjusting lang to what is happening now.”

Ratings board: Keep it ‘mild’

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has approved the airing of the show with an SPG (Striktong Patnubay at Gabay) rating. GMA also scheduled the show to go on at 9:30 p.m., a later timeslot where edgier content like previous GMA series “Temptation of Wife” and “Love & Lies” have aired.

Sese also said the review board has reminded the network to avoid showing torrid kissing scenes by both males and to keep sequences depicting their affection “mild.”

“My Husband’s Lover” premieres on June 10, on GMA Telebabad.

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