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DIGITAL SERIES REVIEW: Lovely, tender, and sweet, ‘Gaya sa Pelikula’ brims with irresistible lightheartedness

Globe Studios’ entry to the growing BL genre is made more beautiful by its two leads’ lovely chemistry

ACTORS: Ian Pangilinan, Paolo Pangilinan
FORMAT: Web series
PREMISE: 19-year old Karl Almasen moves into his uncle’s apartment in a bid to outdo a family tradition that entails him to live by himself until a trespassing neighbor presents challenges
WHERE/WHEN TO WATCH IT: Globe Studios’ YouTube Channel/8PM Fridays


Globe Studios’ singular aim to relay an affectionate story everybody can call their own is beautifully transcended in this story of self-discovery and acceptance

In, ‘Gaya Sa Pelikula’, Vlad and Karl, are desperately trying to get the story they can call their own (Globe Studios)

“Do you ever feel not being the protagonist of your own story?”

Globe Studios’ Gaya Sa Pelikula declares its primary intent within its pilot’s first minute alone: to show that everybody deserves to be at the helm of their own story, that now is the time to take back that story everyone can call their own.

Penned by actor and screenwriter Juan Miguel Severo, ‘Gaya Sa Pelikula’ follows architecture student, Karl Frederick Almasen (Paolo Pangilinan). In the story, he is taking advantage of the semestral break to prove his family he can live by himself, by moving into his uncle’s apartment. Determined not to fail his father’s expectations, Karl accepts online writing gigs to meet his apartment rent. But the noisy neighbor from the other room who plays his music so loud keeps him from concentrating. He is compelled one night to stop the neighbor from distracting him further.

Vlad (Ian Pangilinan) tries to evade his sister by sneaking into Karl’s (Paolo Pangilinan) room (Globe Studios)

Karl’s first meeting with Vlad (Ian Pangilinan) is a dreamy encounter. The few seconds Karl spends looking at the already tipsy Vlad and the mesmerized look Karl gives the other, clearly suggest that the stranger isn’t someone Karl can just push right away. Turns out, Vlad is his landlady’s brother and is now offering him a one-month rental coverage, given he accepts Vlad’s proposal to pretend they are in a relationship. That offer comes perfectly timely as one of Karl’s clients, whom he is expecting to get payment from, turns out to be bogus. He has no other choice but to for the deal with Vlad.

For the most part, Gaya Sa Pelikula’s 21-minute maiden episode fully embraces the breezy and lighthearted mood inherent in BL dramas. There is a cautious reluctance to dive too early into the potentially lachrymose portions of the plot, largely relying on the tender and affectionate shredding of its themes. But even amid its evident compliance to adhere to the naturally blithesome tone of the genre, strong indications that this narrative will eventually lead to something audiences will shed tears for, are already present. After all, anything good is never rewarding when achieved without a few sacrifices.

Vlad asks Karl if he likes him (Globe Studios)

It’s two lead actors are so far doing a great job. Paolo has yet to completely suffice the emotional requirements of Karl, given how seemingly bigger his role will play in the overall development of the story, but he is interesting. Ian, on the other hand, oozes with confidence, his impressive take on Vladimir and his nuances, beautifully articulate.

Severo, who still writes the rest of the story (the teleplays for the first three episodes, are already up on Wattpad) sets Gaya sa Pelikula in an idyllic setting that pays a nod to his admiration of movies. The presence of Cinema Paradiso’s giant poster on Karl’s room’s walls, and the web series’ title font that pays homage to the original poster of the Giuseppe Tornatore classic, subtly represents the spoken poetry artist’s dainty taste. His predilections complement that of JP Habac, who is at the directorial helm of the 8-part series. Habac, who has worked out similar anthems in 2017’s I’m Drunk, I Love You, confronts the hurdle of a completely different pair. Here, he has to make Ian and Paolo, as a tandem, work, and to his credit, he does, as early as the first episode.

Karl accepts Vlad’s deal to pretend they’re in a relationship (Globe Studios)

Lovely, tender, and sweet, ‘Gaya sa Pelikula’ brims with irresistible lightheartedness. This may be an early assessment, considering the fact that the pilot only runs for just at least 20 minutes, but given the chemistry its spectacularly charming leads effortlessly forge, and the exciting universally-accepted motifs its narrative is set to explore, to say this will be one of the most important entries to the BL drama genre, does not sound at all, exaggerating.




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