Two straight men named Benjo and Emil were assigned to be thesis partners by their professor. Emil, being not financially capable to do online research reluctantly agreed to stay in Benjo's affluent penthouse unit. When a couple turned positive to COVID-19, the building where Benjo's penthouse was situated was locked down for a month, paving the way for Benjo and Emil's sexual awakening. Why Love Why is a Filipino (Pinoy) boys' love (BL) series from Philstagers Films. It takes pride in presenting not just the romance between two males but also their psychological and physical struggle brought about by their sexual maturation and emancipation. (Source: Philstagers Films Twitter Account) Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
Why Love Why (2020): A Satirical Pinoy BL Series“Why Love Why” was a satirical Filipino (Pinoy) boys’ love (BL) series. There were lots of craziness as well as social criticisms on this series. “Why Love Why,” with its hit-or-miss exaggerations, was not without flaws but it clearly had something socially relevant to say.
“Why Love Why” had a good plot/storyline that tackled the interrelationships among historical, societal, and personal issues like the dictatorship of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, human rights violations, graft and corruption, poverty, COVID-19 pandemic, coming out, sex reassignment surgery, cheating, etc. Yes, the historical timelines were a bit confused at times, but they were still good backdrops for this series. While the rich and poor characters falling in love with each other trope is nothing new, I found this series’ efforts at satirizing both the elite and the masses interesting. Wena’s death was an apt reminder of the context, given the COVID-19 pandemic, that we are at right now. Character backgrounds and character developments for Benjo, Emil, and Kelly were generally satisfactory. Without a doubt, this series’ depiction of Kelly was one of the better portrayals of a Pinoy transgender woman in a Pinoy BL series. Benjo and Emil were both strong characters (with steamy kissing and making love scenes, lol). I understand why some people got offended with what appeared as queer misrepresentation and oversexualization of characters during the pilot episode (for the record, I didn’t get offended but for those who did, your feelings are valid) but I do believe that the succeeding episodes were able to rationalize and redeem such characterizations. But not all issues were resolved on this series. Sadly, while there’s a possibility in the future, Benjo and Emil didn’t end up together during the finale.
Screenplay was largely ok although there were some problematic lines that exemplified internalized homophobia and queerness denial, particularly when Benjo and Emil asserted that they’re not gay. Script was extra melodramatic at times. It wasn’t overly funny but it was humorous enough. Some jocular dialogues landed but others were off. There was a rape joke that wasn’t justified at all.
Theatrical acting was still evident on some scenes. Philstagers Films, the production company behind “Why Love Why," started off as a theater company and most of the actors are theater actors. Transitioning from stage acting to screen acting needed a bit of work but all in all, acting was mostly ok. Carl and Johnrey had solid performances. Even the silences between them didn’t diminish their performances, but instead, amplified their acting. Both are really sexy as well. Those shirtless scenes were nice, lol. Carl’s quite charming.
Production technicals for “Why Love Why” were mostly fine. The rich and poor settings were adequately presented. Camera work was technically good. Editing was decent. The soundtracks “Tama Ba Ito?” (Is It Right?) and “Gawin Mo Akong Boyfriend” (Make Me Your Boyfriend) by Vince Tañada and Pipo Cifra were alright.
Overall, I would only recommend rewatching “Why Love Why” to those who aren’t easily offended. It’s a satirical Pinoy BL series with exaggerations that may not be appreciated by everyone. Still, it’s a good Pinoy BL series with a second season to look forward to.
Competent in parts, hard to pin down as a wholeAs a BL, this Filipino production can be rather special. It doesn't overly beautify the main characters, and it isn't shy to portray the sexual aspects of their relationship. It may be attempting some depth in commenting on class relations and political tensions, but "attempting" may well be the key word here: either the messages are painstakingly obscured despite all the historical, political and class references or the series is simply hollow and pretentious in this regard.
There is an assortment of characters living in the same block (reminiscent of the chaotic delight that the Thai BL, YYY, was). But their stories don't really intertwine in meaningful ways except maybe for the story of Kelly. There is some commendable message about the difference between a gay person and a transgender person through the character of Kelly, but the message is not very subtly stated. Perhaps this is a deliberate attempt to ridicule those who can't get the simple distinction.
Perhaps there is some commentary of class difference, with the wealthy guy an indirect beneficiary of the corrupt Marcos regime and the poor guy an indirect victim. The message may well be pacifist, focusing on reconciliation rather than confrontation. However, one may find that those who have obtained their wealth through corruption seem a tad too benign.
The series does have its strengths. The parts focusing on the sexual attraction between the male leads is competently done. There are also rather funny moments in the series. I'm not averse to the historical and political references, but they ultimately seem somewhat pointless and don't gel well with the main narrative threads.
The good thing here is that Filipino BLs have actually be venturing into terrains previously unexplored by BLs coming from countries like Thailand. They attempts do not always yield ideal results but are nonetheless laudable.