Finally, male protagonists and dads take center stage in TV drama
Most of the time, TV drama shows are focused on their female protagonists since the program type’s viewership is thought to be principally female. This season, however, it’s instructive to note that the male of the species is getting more of the attention and focus.
Examples include the straying husband Dingdong Dantes portrayed in “Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real,” which Jason Abalos is currently more or less reprising in “Two Wives.” In addition, “Hiram na Alaala” is fixated on Dennis Trillo’s psychologically shattered character, and “Bagito” is all about a male teenager who gets much more than he bargained for when he gets a girl pregnant.
This is a welcome development on the local TV scene because it partially neutralizes our teleseryes’ strong bias in favor of female protagonists.
Viewed even more specifically, this pro-male trend highlights the greater importance and focus currently being given to father characters. At the moment, aside from “Bagito’s” “teen male dad” focus, another new show even more forthrightly declares its own “fatherly” bias by way of its chosen title, “Dream Dad.”
And, let’s not forget that the huge, long-running hit “Be Careful With My Heart” was anchored on the fulfillment of female viewers’ “fantasticating” search for the “perfect” (handsome, mature, kind, responsible, wealthy) husband!
(The fact that “Dream Dad” has similarly declared its own “illusionary” intentions only further underscores its desire to mine “Be Careful’s” same thematic mother lode in terms of popular and profitable wish fulfillment!)
Seen in this comparative light, “Be Careful” and “Dream Dad” are direct opposites on point of intersections to “Bagito,” which stresses a realistic look at the difficulties of unplanned fatherhood, in radical contrast to women’s facile fantasy of ending up with not just the perfect, but the pluperfect dad!
All the more reason for viewers to value the teen-dad series, and hope that other new shows will opt to be similarly real, as opposed to idealized.
Why this increased emphasis on father roles? Aside from the escapist, wish-fulfillment proclivities and motives already exposed, a positive factor could be that the overexploited cliché of the loving and sacrificial mother has been done, not just to death, but to extinction!
So, to keep viewers interested, new themes and protagonists have to be explored—and real dads are among the most blithely neglected characters around, so it’s high time that they be given due importance.
Belated though it may be, this retroactive focus is definitely better than a continuing “deadma” treatment of dads on TV drama shows. If dads’ stories are dramatized more realistically, they can finally be appreciated as more than just breadwinners on the one hand, and trouble-makers and absent fathers on the other!
Even more pertinently, male viewers will be able to see themselves being depicted not just as expedient or negative clichés, so they will be motivated to do a better job as fathers in the real sense of the word, in their own, off-cam lives!