Pedro Penduko at ang mga Engkantao – Episode 17

Pinoy myth with a gay twist.

johnmullally01 brucequebral01
John Mullally, Bruce Quebral

There’s an evil monster on the loose. He’s posing as a callboy in a park and his victims are gay cruisers! How socially relevant! How current events! How odd for an afternoon kiddie program.

The callboy is played by John Avilla (isn’t he also Jon Mullally?), who doesn’t utter a word, but when transformed into a roof-climbing monster with an endless tongue (he’s a tiktik for the gayer times), sneers like a mad dog, but not so convincingly. He’s half-naked when he does it of course, albeit bluish gray with painted-in white veins.

The main terrorized victim is a closeted young bartender played by James Blanco, who’s perfectly frazzled, I’m convinced he’s done this role before. He escapes the monster callboy, but it stalks him obsessively to finish him. James’ fag friend blames his own closetedness for his dillema. If only he’d come out as a proud gay man, he wouldn’t have had to lurk in the dark and get himself into trouble. How often do we get a moral lesson like this in network TV? I believe a lot of young viewers could benefit from this.

James comes out on the news to describe his attacker. His face is blurred to protect his identity, but his straight friend recognizes him anyway. He’s then forced to come out to his friend — in tears — but the friend says he’s always suspected it anyway. The friend is played by Oyo Sotto. He’s the leader of the team of superheroes on the good side and his interest in pursuing the monster is primarily business — something about a mission — and not really, it must be pointed out, a matter of sweet brotherly protection to his gay friend.

Towards the end, the evil female mastermind watches a group of boys in the park from inside her car. Hard to tell if they’re pick-uppers or pick-upees. But she does exclaim, “Callboys! Kung saan maraming bakla, nandoon ang mga callboys!” I think she was referring to Malate, which is likely the site of the next showdown. Again, such wisdom in such an unassuming show. The representations of sexual predator-opportunists and homosexual victims of both society and themselves are grand, mythic, brilliant. In a fantasy genre nonetheless.

There are two other running subplots — one about the youngest little teammate gone missing and a romantic one about a girl — but the gay plot is most compelling. I’ve never seen this show before, so I don’t know how much of this is an anomaly. But even with a sometimes snail pace, a frustrating block of commercials that sometimes seem longer than the body of the show, and standard special effects that turns sexy into robotic, I like.

By the way, the episode begins with Bruce Quebral as a possessed cop who unbuttons his uniform and peels away his white T-shirt before going into battle. After being defeated by the good guys, he’s never to be seen again. I think it’s supposed to be a capper to the previous episode, which makes me wish I discovered the pleasures of this show earlier. Do they have topless hunks every week? Oh my.

GRADE: B

Related Links:
On Wikipedia
On ABS-CBN
On Blogadeur

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