WARNING. Spoiler alert. Lots. Of. It.
Over the weekend, I decided to take a deep dive on Gaya sa Pelikula, the newest Pinoy boy love (BL) series from Globe Studios written by Juan Miguel Severo and directed by JP Habac. This is not to pit it against other local BL series and show how this one stands out—I just wanted to share why I love Gaya sa Pelikula.
The series starts with this question from Karl (Paolo Pangilinan) - "Do you ever feel like you're not the protagonist in your own story?" And boom, I thought it should end there. That's it, that's the story, let the curtain fall, and the credits roll. It felt shattering on a different level, because it reached a different persona in me, my story-telling persona. This conversation was not meant to be heard in a film. I'd usually hear lines like this during 3 A.M. conversations with friends when we've had too much alcohol, talking about how life turns out for us. I may also imagined having this convo with Patrick in Chbosky's Perks of Being a Wallflower, drinking Red Horse Jumbo. This show has already broken me, and I haven't even gotten to the opening credits, yet it has exposed my vulnerabilities! Three words: "It is liberating."
The pilot episode was very well-written for a 20-minute screen time. It was well-packed to keep you excited for the next episodes. Here are my personal highlights and best details from the first episode:
1. Millennials constantly want to prove they can make it. For queer kids growing up, they want to constantly be better and become fiercely competitive in many aspects. Plus, if you are someone who wants to pursue a career in creative arts, you will agree that it can be more difficult for some, especially when it comes to dealing with parents who are accustomed to a world where the "arts don’t pay bills." And now we live for these words from Vlad (Ian Pangilinan) - "dami mong gustong gawin ah."
2. Cinema Paradiso (1988) and the love for film. You can have a quick search of this movie and would instantly know how this is so apt.
3. Marcos is not a hero. No. Never in history. Not now, nor ever! Spot this Raissa Robles’ Marcos Martial Law: Never Again book when you see it.
4. Slow mos and meet cutes. Ugh, I did bad balancing chemical equations in high school but I know a good chemistry when I see one *wink wink.*
5. We are all down for Up Dharma Down. I know for a fact that a show will never fall short giving your the feels when it's Armi Mallari's vocals playing in background. And if you have listened to Gaya sa Pelikula's OST playlist on Spotify, you would know why I would dance and party listening to Kakie's TYL right, Vlad and Karl? "Party siya ih!"
6. Funny mishaps that spice up the show. Just the right amount of humor. Sobrang benta!
7. Nod to Thai BL series who created a strong BL fandom in the Philippines.
8. I. AM. VALID. Periodt. We all need an Ate Judit (Adrienne Vergara) who will be on our side and be an ally of the queer community.
It’s an intriguing title for a BL series in PH context. BL series talks about representation and Gaya sa Pelikula boasts about how inclusive the production was for the queer community. It is a contradiction between continuing the discussion of representation in cinema and getting a title that says "like in the movies."
Some have espoused that movies mirror reality, but this was not always the case for a queer kid growing up or for a person of color or for people who have disabilities and many other stories in our community. Making sense from these inequalities, Gaya sa Pelikula acknowledges the changing narratives in our cinema. With the surge of popularity of BL series, we now see more of our queer stories on screens in pop culture. Finally the pilot episode, ends with a powerful line - “Babawiin natin ang ating kwento.” Let’s reclaim the narrative, our own stories as told by us.
And to the creator of this series, I see you, and don’t you think I missed the credit thanking Tay and New. Kop Khun Kha.
Watch the pilot episode here. New episode from the 8-part series drops every Friday at 8 p.m., from 25 September to 13 November.
Screengrabs and posters from Globe Studios.