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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Filipino TV Shows seem to Promote Dysfunction

Fellow blogger FallenAngel posted in GRP Shorts an opinion from a gay acquaintance about the TV series “My Husband’s Lover:”

Having watched almost one month worth of episodes of ‎My Husbands Lover I can’t help but be disappointed. What I initially thought as groundbreaking television show was actually just another teleserye about adultery (which is pretty much almost all of our teleseryes are about). The only difference is we have a married closeted gay man and another gay man as a third party.
Give me something that would further gay rights. Give me some insight to same sex relationship dynamics. Tell me how it is like to be a successful but closeted gay man in a very testosterone dominated company. Tell me how scary it is to have a homophobic family. Explain to me why there are relationships composed of two masculine gay man (or two flamboyant gay men) instead of one masculine and one flamboyant which is still the society’s concept of a gay relationship. Explain to me why it is easier for some people to accept someone’s sexual orientation and why it is harder for others. Give me some discussion about religion and spirituality and morality and homosexuality and how they mesh and clash and come together. And most importantly, give me a reason why I should root for two gay men to be together.
So far, Eric is just there to ruin Lali’s life. It’s not a good message to send out. Gay men do not exists to break-up marriages or make wives miserable.
This show could have been educational. It could have been socially relevant. It could have been revolutionary. It could have been one of the most important television shows… but so far it hasn’t been that. Yes it is a pioneer, and to an extent it is very bold. But a little more push and it could be great instead of bland. I hope it is still too early to change course, because it already has a good following and it would be a shame if it will be just another soap – titillating but weightless; provocative but irrelevant.
That was a convenient way to partially sum up the problems with local TV (and many movies).
First off: adultery – which is pretty much almost all of our teleseryes are about. Or if not adultery, some other dysfunction of the family. Filipino TV seems to have a love affair (no pun intended) with the dysfunctional family, making sure it’s portrayed in nearly every show. By portraying these same situations time and again, they give the viewer the impression that these dysfunctional situations are normal and acceptable parts of Philippine society. Thus, they would accept dysfunction instead of solve it. Some might even go as far as to act it out in their lives. All that slapping, hair-pulling and crying – Filipinos seem to like watching this and would probably accept doing this, not just as normal, but as essential, in real-life.
FallenAngel’s gay acquaintance wants a gay character to be shown not as the cause of dysfunction, but doing normal stuff, going through life, encountering problems, without any sensationalism. The show should also feature solutions to the dysfunction, which could have imparted good lessons to the viewers. Unfortunately, a problem with our tsismis-addicted public – they love sensational stuff.
As a result, Filipino local TV doesn’t teach moral lessons, but instead teaches immoral lessons.
Sometimes you wonder if this guy (Jonathan Aquino) was influenced by Filipino TV
Sometimes you wonder if this guy (Jonathan Aquino) was influenced by Filipino TV
And it’s not only this. There was another show which portrayed a separated couple quarreling over who should have custody over a child. This is another issue: a long custody battle – in the house and not in court. But Philippine law is clear on this: that the one with financial capability between the two could take custody. It should be obvious in the story which character has that capacity. TV stories, however, seem ignorant of the law.
I don’t know if this is the result of incompetence, if new graduates who are the show’s writers failed to make their research, or deliberately leaving out the facts. Whatever the reason, the result would be bad: the viewing public will assume that this is real, and it will promote further ignorance of the law.
Perhaps yet another thing that Philippine TV hasn’t changed: portrayal of rich or well-to-do people as bad, and the poor as always “bida.”
Yet another issue is the apparent disrespect towards children as I mentioned in an earlier article. And more.
The solution for this is still in the hands of the TV production staff. They should break the mold, break tradition. TV programs should not always listen to the masses. What has more truth is that whatever the media stations show on their screens, the viewers will just lap up. If they show something better, the viewers will learn from it accordingly.
Back to “My Husband’s Lover:” it actually follows the mold of Philippine TV that glorifies the wrongs of society. It doesn’t help gays at all, but may actually further hatred against them. To add to my commentary in an earlier article, gay rights are not really endangered by law, but more by culture. Especially the mass media.
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