Deeply felt portrayals on ‘MMK’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Deeply felt portrayals on ‘MMK’

/ 07:41 PM October 21, 2011

VELEZ. Focused characterization.

A “should-see” episode in “Maala-ala Mo Kaya’s” month-long series of special 20th-anniversary telecasts was the drama topbilling Ricky Davao, Vivian Velez, Malou de Guzman and Jake Cuenca in his first gay role.

As the story unfolded, we learned that Ricky and Vivian were residents of Barcelona, Spain, but had been estranged for over a decade. Ricky had suffered from a stroke and was now living with his mistress, Malou, who took care of him despite his churlishness and lack of will to recover.


For his part, Jake played Ricky and Vivian’s gay son, and had just flown in from Manila to take care of his dad, with whom he had had a difficult relationship due to his being gay.



So, the episode’s principal characters were in for a decidedly sour and bumpy ride as Jake made his presence felt. As if they didn’t have enough problems, he added a complication that soon pushed them over the edge and resulted in his rejecting them and opting to live life his way, no matter what.

In the process, however, he made the others realize that they could no longer just keep sweeping their simmering conflicts under the rug. By standing up for himself, he made them realize that they too had a lot of work to do on themselves to achieve psychological healing.

Ricky and Malou turned in deeply felt portrayals, but Malou’s key “breakdown” scene was eventually too “pushed” to be truly affecting and illuminating, while Ricky’s speech impediment wasn’t consistently depicted.

Thus, the best characterization was turned in by Vivian. She may not have had as many thespic “highlights” as Ricky and Malou, but her characterization was more of a focused piece, and truly affecting and clarifying to watch.

For his part, Jake did fairly well in his first gay “outing,” but he failed to appreciate the “extreme” acting assignment’s deeper repercussions, and stayed pretty much at the surface of this character’s gay orientation.


We liked the fact that he didn’t swish up a storm to “entertain” viewers and create a thespic sensation, but he also avoided other relevant acting choices that would have made us truly understand his character at a more visceral and thus more empathetically credible level. Yes, in the arts, less is indeed more, but discretion and avoidance also have their negative consequences.

Despite these less than exultant notes, we appreciate the fine acting showcase that the “MMK” episode provided for its four main actors. All too often on TV teleseryes, even outstanding veteran actors have a hard time making sense of the extremely weird, emotional and voluble characters they are made to play.

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What good are talent and vast experience if you’re tasked to play yet another melodramatic gargoyle and caricature? On “MMK,” at least, the roles are more authentically challenging and open to felt and consistent interpretation.

TAGS: Acting, Celebrities, Gender Issues, Jake Cuenca, Maala-ala Mo Kaya, Television

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