(Published Aug. 2, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
GMA 7’s hit soap, “My Husband’s Lover” (weeknights, ), has all the familiar tearjerker trappings, but it’s in a decidedly unique position, sharply dissecting the dynamics of an unconventional love triangle.
Two manly guys represent the titular philandering husband and his paramour, recalling “
”-ish scenarios where the masculine gay dudes secretly get together behind their spouses’ backs. While it’s utterly tame in comparison when it comes to intimate scenes, MHL’s serial format allows it to tackle its sensitive topics in detail. Brokeback Mountain
We get a straightforward, if sometimes cliché, recipe for homosexual heartbreak: Vincent (Tom Rodriguez) is a family man, married a decade to devoted Lally (Carla Abellana), with whom he has two kids. But he’s not entirely happy, as he’s secretly still in love with his recently resurfaced old flame, Eric (Dennis Trillo).
Vincent’s situation is painfully reflective of many real closeted gay men’s problematic lives. With a severely homophobic father (Roi Vinzon) and a demanding mother (Kuh Ledesma), it’s no surprise that he keeps his thoughts and predilection to himself.
The show’s gotten really interesting, especially now that Lally has discovered the lie and is dealing with it. Despite some eye roll-worthy and cheesy moments before getting to that point, there are many things that the series is doing right.
It has presented three, fleshed-out characters that you root for, at some point or another. Actually, the show has well-developed supporting figures that complement the beleaguered trio, as well. Lally was raised by a strong single mom (Glydel Mercado) after her father abruptly left for another woman. But a “mother of the year” award can just as easily be given to Eric’s mom and staunch ally (Chanda Romero), a liberated painter who kept dissuading the gay men from pursuing their affair.
It’s been well-acted, so far; Abellana’s grief is palpable, more so now that she’s on the warpath. Rodriguez is an astonishing revelation; he and Trillo share undeniable chemistry, just as there are sparks between him and Abellana.
The storytelling is also laudable. Images often seamlessly transition into each other: a wedding ring fades into a basketball ring; a crying Lally morphs into a broken doll in a flashback, and so on. And speaking of flashbacks, none is wasted, as every glimpse into the past has valuable parallels to the characters’ current predicaments.
The uneven part, however, is Abellana’s narration. Initially informative and emotional, it has become a robotic belaboring of the obvious in recent episodes. Also, the two overplayed songs— Ledesma’s “One More Try” and Jonalyn Viray’s “Help Me Get Over”— blare intrusively into most dramatic scenes that they’ve practically lost meaning, 30-plus episodes later.
Even so, an inevitable rapport has formed between viewers and characters. We feel exasperation for Vincent’s spineless and wishy-washy ways, but applaud him when he faces his truths. We sympathize with Lally, who now understandably feels inadequate. And we feel for Eric, who’s often starry-eyed, but keeps ending up a blubbering mess.
Whichever character you may side with, “My Husband’s Lover” is audacious, creatively presenting timely, piercing commentary on gay situations and societal biases. Let’s hope that it keeps exploring that opportunity—and its relatable trio—wisely.