Wheel of Love: Weekend to Remember is… interesting.
Weekend to Remember is a Pinoy BL drama series that centres on four brothers of the Asuncion family as they navigate their love lives and also plan a surprise birthday party for their beloved mother. Since the episodes are quite short – the first three episodes ten minutes disregarding the opening and ending, and the fourth with fifteen minutes – the series is burdened with the responsibility of packing as much character and exposition as possible in the limited time. And on this matter, it pretty much succeeds.
The first episode introduces you to the entire Asuncion household – the four brothers and their sister, as well as the two members of their household help. It sets in place their dynamic and also gives us small aspects of their personalities through a scene where they all delegate their respective duties for planning the upcoming party without their mother learning of their intention. We also learn that Jenevie (Keijee Mesina), one of their staff, is in love with Romeo (John Cortez).
Jenevie is a character I’m going to have to withhold judgement on at present because in these first few episodes I am not entirely sure if his and Romeo’s relationship is meant to be serious or just a source of comic relief, because Jenevie displays many characteristics of the stereotypical, effeminate gay man. Which in itself is not necessarily a negative trope, but becomes one when played for laughs. When the second episode and third episodes gave me not one but two scenes of Jenevie envisioning himself with a wig of long blonde hair, you can probably understand why I was concerned about this going forward. However, wig scene aside, the scenes of Romeo and Jenevie’s relationship are cute and the actors’ chemistry is strong enough to keep you interested in the pairing. It will be interesting to see how the series takes it from now on, especially given the clear power imbalance and social standing of the two.
If the first three episodes are mostly taken up by Romeo and Jenevie, the fourth introduces the possible love interests of two more brothers. The oldest brother Miguel (Nico Nicolas) is in love with his best friend Jane (Kristine Hammond) but doesn’t want to confess because of that old time cliché of not wanting to lose her friendship. In a parallel storyline, Mateo (Sam Cafranca) is competing with his high school rival for the affections of his friend.
I appreciate what the series seems to be trying to do by presenting all these different romances – the suggestion that queer romances are as everyday as straight ones and that everyone faces the same struggles in love is always a welcome one in media. What remains to be seen is how the series incorporates these ideas in the remaining episodes; the first four have already suggested that Miguel is homophobic – visible in his remarks towards his brother Markie (Enzo Santiago who, as the trailer suggests, will have a gay relationship of his own in forthcoming episodes) and his attitude towards Romeo and Jenevie – and this will definitely be a point of conflict between the brothers.
Weekend to Remember is, so far, a series with its heart mostly in the right place (I’m looking at you, Jenevie). The cast delivers strong performances all around, which is a definite point in its favour. Even characters who have not been given much screen time – like Enzo Santiago’s Markie – have managed to capture my interest. The brevity of the episodes has not been an obstacle to storytelling so far, but it is still early in the series, so it will be worth seeing how it continues to work around the time limitations. The series sets out with the promise of exploring themes of love and familial bonds and it will be worth watching to see how it follows up on that going forward.