comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television, variety show

Eat Bulaga’s Suffer Sireyna Problem

Super Sireyna and Suffer Sireyna will forever be synonymous to one another.

Super Sireyna had been a recurring segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ for the past several years. The segment invites transgender men to compete in a beauty pageant akin to the more prestigious Binibining Pilipinas contest, and each contestant had to assume the persona of a particular female celebrity, whether local or foreign.

Suffer Sireyna, on the other hand, was introduced as a response to Super Sireyna by host Joey de Leon. First held in 2014, the segment involves ordinary but mostly ugly men dressed in drag (with a corresponding pseudonym to mock a particular celebrity) that were forced to compete in ridiculous challenges (hence the word ‘suffer’).

While the Suffer Sireyna segment had been mostly entertaining, not all were pleased by its mocking depiction of ordinary men with obvious physical flaws. Nearly four years ago, John Ryan Mendoza of Outrage Magazine criticized Suffer Sireyna for parading the candidates as ‘freaks for the whole country to laugh at’.

When Suffer Sireyna returned earlier this year, another critic stepped in and picked up from where Mendoza left off. Facebook user Alwyn Ignacio commented on the matter, saying that it is not funny and is disrespectful to the LGBT community.

TAPE Inc., the producers of ‘Eat Bulaga’, have not responded in kind to either Mendoza’s or Ignacio’s post. Regardless, it is one thing to take pride towards the LGBT community, but it is another thing to degrade and make fools out of them for the sake of entertainment.

For a noontime show that has nothing left to prove after nearly 39 years of unparalleled success, Suffer Sireyna may probably go down as one of its weakest points. No matter how entertaining and engaging this segment is, it is clear that the LGBT community is not happy with what Suffer Sireyna is doing (unless you’re Allan K or Paolo Ballesteros).

This Saturday, ‘Eat Bulaga’ will hold the next stage of Suffer Sireyna competition under the name Suffer Sireyna Intergalactic (a mock response to Super Sireyna Worldwide). If this is the ‘end’ as Joey de Leon claims for the segment, then one can hope for a good riddance.

entertainment, Philippines, television

The Phenomenon That is My Husband’s Lover

A month into its run, ‘My Husband’s Lover’ has gained a lot of attention for its gay-centered storyline.

Just a month into its run, ‘My Husband’s Lover’ on GMA 7 has been earning a lot of attention for its storyline centering on a love affair between two men, played by Dennis Trillo and Tom Rodriguez, and the subsequent jealousy of the latter’s wife, played by Carla Abellana. The publicity that ‘My Husband’s Lover’ received throughout its current run made its way into newspapers, social media, and even on television and radio. However, in terms of ratings, the said drama series’ fortunes have been mixed.

In a recent AGB Nielsen report for the week of July 1-7, ‘My Husband’s Lover’ averaged 7% higher than the final week of ABS-CBN‘s ‘Apoy sa Dagat‘, whereas on Kantar’s report for the same week, it was ‘Apoy sa Dagat’ who averaged 10% higher than ‘My Husband’s Lover’. Obviously, Kantar’s figures favor ABS-CBN’s, while Nielsen’s tend to lean on GMA 7’s programs, a figure that has stayed mostly the same since the Kapamilya network’s defection to Kantar.

Notwithstanding the mixed ratings reports, I think GMA 7 found a way to regain the attention of their audience after introducing ‘My Husband’s Lover’. For the past few years, GMA’s primetime fortunes have sunken a bit, in part due to the presence of the Kapamilya network’s highly rated programs such as ‘Walang Hanggan‘ and ‘Ina, Kapatid, Anak‘. During this period the network introduced some of the most poorly written and stale teleseryes after revolutionizing themselves with the fantaserye genre during the latter part of the 2000s. Some attribute to the overemphasis on its veteran talent, others due to lack of creativity.

Eventually GMA decided to tackle homosexuality in their next project, which eventually became ‘My Husband’s Lover’. In the light of recent news involving celebrities coming out of the closet (e.g. Charice), the launch of the program proved to be perfect timing. From then on people continued to talk about it and the program even gained the attention of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, who told the networks to remain sensitive in the airing of their programs.

The year so far has been good for the LGBT community. And with the airing of ‘My Husband’s Lover’, the issue of homosexuality has found its place on television storylines. It was a brave and calculated risk that people should be proud of.

entertainment, music, news, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Of Gays, Lesbians, and Homosexuality in Society

In an exclusive interview on ‘The Buzz’, Charice revealed that she was a lesbian. (Screenshot courtesy of ABS-CBN)

One of the most pressing issues in society today is homosexuality. Over the last few years strict regulations against gays and lesbians were being loosened, the most important aspect of which is to allow homosexual couples to marry. And recently lesbianism made headlines not only in the United States, but also in the Philippines.

In late April, NBA player Jason Collins announced via a Sports Illustrated article that he is gay, becoming the first active professional athlete to come out. But he was not the first athlete to come out. The likes of John Amaechi have also come out, albeit after retirement. Weeks after Collins’ statement, soccer player Robbie Rogers, who had come out several months earlier, joined Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, after which he became the first openly gay player to play in the professional level.

In entertainment, the most notable lesbian personality today is Ellen DeGeneres, who came out on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997. Other notable gay entertainers were Elton John, Ricky Martin, Drew Barrymore and Anderson Cooper. More recently Tammy Baldwin won a seat in the Senate, becoming the first openly gay elected senator, while erstwhile congressman Barry Frank married boyfriend Jim Ready, becoming the first sitting politician to marry a person of the same gender.

Yesterday Filipino viewers were treated to a long-awaited revelation by Charice. The one-time Ellen guest made her feelings known through this phrase: ‘Tomboy po ako!!’ (I’m a lesbian). In the months leading up to the announcement Charice showed up with a shorter hairstyle, tattoos and a manly appearance. She was even reported to have an affair with a female contestant on the X-Factor Philippines. Charice’s coming out statement was supported by many netizens through various social accounts.

Now that more and more people, celebrities included, are coming out at a high rate, is it now time to loosen the barrier between heterosexuality and homosexuality? I believe the time is now. There is nothing to fear about a person’s feelings or thoughts with regards to their sexuality. If their decision to come out is the safest and the best thing to do, so be it. No longer will the gay person be tolerated, he must enjoy equal rights that heterosexuals enjoy. Social acceptance of gays and lesbian need to be expanded.

In short, because of overwhelming support and sympathy received by these celebrities who come out, the best thing that people do is to welcome homosexuals as ‘one of them’. Their rights and habits need to be respected and admired, and they should feel safe with the rest.