There's a Hilarious New Series About a Gay OFW in Nashville
A new comedy series Trying Hard, created by and starring newcomer Maki Bonifacio, debuted on October 11 (National Coming Out Day) on YouTube. New episodes are set to be released every Wednesday, 8 p.m. in the Philippines. Trying Hard premiered during LGBT History Month and Filipino-American History Month in the U.S.
Bonifacio was born and raised in the Philippines. He worked as a news producer for GMA Network Inc. from 2011 to 2014. The team won a George Foster Peabody Award for their 2013 coverage of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Trying Hard Synopsis
Trying Hard follows the intimate story of Maki—a gay person of color from the Philippines working and living in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the course of the series, Maki, played by Bonifacio, attempts to navigate dating in the U.S., while trying to overcome insecurities and familial pressure amid the challenges brought forth by his sexual orientation and status as a foreign worker.
The eight-episode series tackles a variety of issues surrounding queer foreigners in the U.S. such as cultural and language barriers, identity crisis, stereotypes, body image, and assimilation.
Set in the South, filmed in Nashville, Trying Hard incorporates the music of both indie and established female, LGBT, and BIPOC artists from Nashville, New York City, Montreal, Toronto, and Manila.
Trying Hard comes on the heels of the release of the annual Change the Narrative, Change the World report by Jose Antonio Vargas’ media advocacy group, Define American and Norman Lear Center at University of South California Annenberg. The report reveals the portrayal of immigrants on U.S. television has slightly improved but there’s work to be done for more accurate representation.
The report showed that 22 percent of immigrant characters are associated with some sort of crime—an overrepresentation—although it is down from 34 percent in 2018. In addition, 63 percent of immigrant-identifying characters were undocumented, while the real-world figure is only 37 percent. Immigrants who are Asian or Pacific Islanders continue to be underrepresented with 12 percent in 2019, while in reality, it is 26 percent.
Watch Episode 1 of Trying Hard below: