It’s already been a few months and I’ve been meaning to write a review of it since it premiered. But now’s as good a time as any to talk about how GMA’s Munting Heredera is good, clean fun.
Let’s get it out of the way first. The story is pretty typical of a Filipino soap; lies and secrets, some violence here and there. But somehow, the series doesn’t feel as tired as many other identical plotlines out there.
And I can point to two things about the show that might explain why.
First off, I was very excited to hear Gloria Romero would finally get to be a lead star on a primetime soap instead of just playing the feeble old Lola she’d been getting recently. And though that was somewhat the case in the first few months of the series, lately, she’d definitely become who I believe is the lead actress of Munting Heredera.
Her character, Anna Montereal is the heart of the show. The center. We can talk about the title character, that little heiress, in a little bit. But Gloria Romero and her character are what threads everyone and everything together. And that is such a welcome sight to see.
Whether it is as the typical Lola caring for her grandchildren or as the savvy businesswoman or even as merely a woman falling in love for the first time in a long time, it is just simply awesome to see Gloria Romero on screen.
And the recent addition of the equally awesome Boots Anson- Roa has made for some excellent, juicy scenes. Seeing the verbal catfightery of two screen legends, two vets has been refreshing and a helluva lot more enjoyable than similar scenes from actresses half their age. Adding Boots Anson-Roa to the cast was an excellent decision.
And the other reason? The young stars of the series. Barbara Miguel as Calilla, Kyle Danielle Ocampo as Michelle, Migs Cuadermo as Tonton and the title character herself, Mona Louise Rey as Jennifer, are absolute winners. Though they are no Xyriel Manabat, the four of them have been hilarious, heartbreaking, and inspiring all at once.
Using a Tagalog word for which I have no idea the English equivalent is, the four kids are nakaktuwa. Their inexperience and admittedly raw performances make them all the more charming to watch. Their delivery of lines, from zingers and one-liners to emotional and dramatic, add to the overall enjoyement of the series. They don’t take themselves too seriously, but really that’s in line with the rest of the series.
(ETA thanks to Ronald’s comment below Also deserving to point out, Roderick Paulate and Mona Louise Rey’s chemistry is great. A wonderful and natural father-daughter chemistry that is more than believable. You feel their connection and when the show does dip into the extreme (buried alive!), it is the moments like those between Manny and Jennifer that keep the show grounded and relatable.
Munting Heredera is a drama. A straight drama, no magic or fantasy, just a good ol’ soap opera. There are times the drama can get a bit heavy, but never do I get the feeling that the series thinks it is any more than it is. It is a good, enjoyable, roller coaster of a drama. It may not be groundbreaking, but for what it does and what it is, it does it well.
And probably one of the best parts of the writing, these characters aren’t stupid. And they aren’t worthless imps. They fight back. They get knocked down, but never out. And that goes for both the bidas and kontrabidas. You’ll usually get the dumb, kawawang “woe is me” hero or heroine, but Munting Heredera has bidas that actually figure things out and aren’t afraid to fight back. What a novel idea, right?
Despite a huge extension, the show manages to keep the story moving forward. The twists are just enough to keep the series from wasting your time. And we all know how extensions can kill shows creatively. But Munting Heredera has surprisingly handled it well. With some genuine shockers (like the early death of Katrina Halilli’s Lynette) and creative additions (Boots Anson-Roa and Robert Arevalo), there’s no doubt they’ll have enough material for the next few months. And I’ll definitely keep watching.