The Confession Wives (Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real): A Review
Admittedly, I got tired watching Filipino drama series shown on Philippine TV. The story lines are so repetitive that it diminishes the element of surprise which is a key ingredient in literary appreciation. Instead of the suspense killing the audience, familiarity with the story line kills the suspense then bores the audience.
Then came GMA 7’s TV series “The Confession Wives” (“Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real”). It’s a story about a philandering husband who married another woman. After going over its synopsis, I said “nothing new.” So, I did not bother to watch… until my wife asked me to find on You Tube the episodes of the said TV drama that she missed. With nothing else to do I decided to peep on what she’s watching. Result: For the first time in years that I eagerly watched a Filipino drama series.
How many times have we watched a movie and TV drama about unfaithful husbands? How many times have we read stories about men not contended with their wives so they resorted to having extra-marital affairs? We know that when the wife learned about it all hell breaks loose. We know that when men got caught they had to choose between their wives and their other women.
The foregoing is also what GMA’s “Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real” is all about. Familiar situations yet the story, generally, succeeded in veering away from becoming predictable. Every scene, actually, is climactic stuffed with twists and turns. Watching it is like riding an emotional roller coaster.
Elements of the rising action are beautifully put together as the story geared towards the climax. The climax itself was something unexpected. I have a penchant on rightly guessing how things would turn out in a story but this one had me wrong several times.
Yes, same story line but delivered differently.
Different not because the actors and actresses, if I may use an oft-repeated phrase, “gave justice to their roles.” This is no longer surprising. It is a given. These people are trained to act out roles.
It is different because the whole story is a realistic rendition of life. And this is exactly what literature is… a faithful reproduction of life.
Characterization and dialogue are consistent with literary realism. The story as a whole presented universal truths about men and women, about family and society making it acceptable even to international audience.
Anthony (Ding-dong Dantes), the husband, is the embodiment of the popular belief about men – “that men are polygamous in nature.” Henry (Robert Arevalo) and Tino (Tommy Abuel), fathers of the two women married by Anthony, are themselves not clean. Both of them have had extra-marital affairs themselves. Among men in many parts of the world, womanizing seems to be a natural thing.
But the story also presents the good side of the male specie through Jun (Jaime Fabregas), a disciple of monogamy. He is a loving husband to his wife Sonia (Conie Reyes) and a supportive father to Anthony. Chaos descended upon his family for all the troubles created by his son yet he keeps his family above water. He was the glue that keep his family together.
On the other hand, Millet (Maricel Soriano) is an epitome of a martyr wife. While almost violently that she reacted to her husband’s infidelity, while she was offended to the utmost upon learning that Anthony married another woman, she forgave him. That’s how wives are, they always stand by their men. As much as possible they must preserve the famiy. Umeng (Susan Africa), the mother of the other Mrs. Real, Shiela (Lovi Poe) also chose to stick by her husband, Tino, even if she discovered that the latter, just like Anthony, had another woman and actually fathered a child.
Millet and the other Mrs. Real, Shiela (Lovi Poe) and her mother Umeng (Susan Africa) represent women who are at the receiving end of an ongoing notion that it is okay for a man to have another woman. Like many women in society, they unwillingly embrace the dictum that men will always be men. Or maybe they are drowned by fear that life may not go on without their husbands.
Aurora (Celeste Legazpi) and Sonia (Conie Reyes) are the typical mothers protective of their children. They are pained to see their children suffer and they would do anything to alleviate their suffering.
In real life, we criticize people for the things they say and do. We do the same in the drama series, we pass judgment on the characters.
We approved the positions taken by each of the families affected. They did what they needed to do to protect their loved ones.
But while we expressed sympathy for some characters, most especially Millet, we criticized some. The harshest criticism fell, not on Anthony, but perhaps on Henry.
Why not on Anthony? He is the most sinful of all the characters. He caused all the troubles. But why was he not crucified. To err is human to forgive is divine. Anthony committed mistakes but tried to correct them. He tried to put things in order thereby earning the forgiveness and sympathy of the viewers.
And why on Henry? Because he is so unforgiving. He plays his moralism to the extreme. He did not forgive Anthony and sued him for bigamy despite the pleas made by his wife and his daughter and Anthony’s mother.
When Millet fell into depression we considered it to foreshadow the possibility of Henry finally forgiving Anthony. But the story did not give the audience what it expected. Millet getting ill all the more strengthened Henry’s resolve to go hard against Anthony. The case Henry filed prospered.
The viewers disliked Henry for such a hardline stance, although it was out of love for his daughter that he ought to do what he did. Any father would want to punish anybody who would hurt their children.
While Anthony went into catharsis starting from the moment he got caught for his infidelity and culminating in what he did during the trial when he retracted from his “not guilty plea” declaring his willingness to go to prison and be punished for his wrongdoings for the troubles he created that even led to his father’s death, Jaime on his part, took until the time that Anthony finished serving his prison time to have his own catharsis and finally forgive him.
The hatred and passion for revenge simmered down as the story march to its denouement. There was reconciliation and acceptance at the end. “All’s well that ends well!”
The lesson is clear, when you do something wrong, brace for the consequences.
The TV drama may have changed the way people look at the plight of women crying a river while languishing helplessly in the shadows of their husbands’ infidelity. It may have also sent a clear signal to Anthonys out there that they could be chewing more than they could swallow.