Admiration, excitement, and a taste for revenge — these are just few things that the pilot week of La Vida Lena left us with. With the new face of karma unveiled in this gripping teleserye, fans and viewers are fueled with anticipation as to how the story of Magda a.k.a. Lena (Erich Gonzales) will unfold.
A powerful start to an intriguing story
It’s expected that the first few episodes of a series will set the pace of the story and introduce its characters. With La Vida Lena’s storytelling, the audience is instantly hooked.
From the get-go, we are introduced to Magda’s two sides – the young and kindhearted Magda who endured struggles in life and the empowered Lena who is ready to rightfully take what is hers. Even with just that short glimpse into the future Lena and a flashback of Magda’s tragic past, we are burning to know all the details in between.
Magda, a resilient and inspiring lead character
While we await Magda’s transformation into Lena, the pilot week episodes introduced us to Magda at her core, and it's everything we want in a lead character. Despite growing up with an unflattering facial scar, Magda didn’t let it damage her spirit. With Lolo Dado’s (Soliman Cruz) good upbringing of her granddaughter, Magda didn’t let the bullies and hateful comments get to her. In fact, she remains at the top of her class.
She also developed a mindset that for her dreams to come true, she has to do the dirty work. Even if she’s still in Senior High School, Magda already had plans for her and her family’s future — graduate as Valedictorian, get a scholarship, become a great chemist, and use her knowledge to flourish her soap business.
Packs us for a ride of rivalry and revenge
However, our lead character doesn’t have a perfect life. We can see that she is in the midst of the greatest challenges that will test the values we admire in her.
During Magda’s school years, her classmate Rachel (Sofia Andres) already had her vengeful eyes set on her. After she lost the top spot in their class to Magda, Rachel started terrorizing Magda in any way she can, including resorting to personal comments on her appearance. Even if Magda tried to brush it off, the sparking jealousy led to Rachel to physically hurt Magda, steal her Valedictorian honor, and the opportunity to get the prized scholarship.
Not being able to take it anymore, Magda attempts a menial form of revenge — exploding ketchup all over Rachel and her dress. Was this a small prank or her first taste of revenge that she will need to slowly satisfy?
We are at the edges of the seat to find out. Right now, Magda is trying to continue on with life and focus on her slowly succeeding small soap business. In her venture to offer and sell her soap formula to the owners of the already prominent beauty soap brand Royal Wellness, Vanessa Narciso (Agot Isidro) and Lucas Narciso (Raymond Bagatsing), Magda may be in for something more than an innocent sale. It’s apparent that the Narcisos are plotting something fishy and she will be left to fend for herself yet again.
With this scene set, La Vida Lena is preparing for a rollercoaster of rivalry and craving for revenge. Magda and Rachel’s relationship is surely unfixable, and Magda’s impending deal with the Narcisos smells like nothing but trouble. It leaves us with questions as to how the sweet, innocent Magda will be dealing with all the difficult tragedies ahead.
Remarkable acting from the powerhouse cast
As expected, having a cast composed of the industry’s top actors could only produce magnificent performances. First of all, Erich proves that her big primetime comeback as Magda/Lena is the right choice. She knows exactly how to bring out the right emotion in her warmhearted character, Magda, and we can trust that she can unleash the feisty claws in her when she transforms into Lena.
Sofia Andres also amazes us with her flawless cattiness as Rachel. It’s so easy for us to feel distaste for Rachel’s unpleasant personality because of how she portrays it. The same goes for the other nemeses in this story. The Narcisos, played by Agot Isidro and Raymond Bagatsing, and Rachel’s father played by Christian Vasquez are impressive antagonists because of how the artists developed and brought life to their characters.
Rising stars Hasna Cabral and Renshi de Guzman also deserve praise for their notable performance in their supporting roles. They definitely caught the audience’s attention and will be ones to look out for later in the series.
Of course, the seasoned actor Carlo Aquino will not go unnoticed as well. He smoothly built an undeniable chemistry between his character Jordan and Magda. Since their first scene together, with the witty banter and playful jokes, Carlo knew how to sway the conversation enough to show that there’s a romantic tension in the air. By the time we watched the after-prom scene, where Jordan prepared a sweet dance at the park for Magda, we'd already fallen for the charms Carlo gave Jordan. While the fact remains that there will be two other leading men in La Vida Lena, it will be hard to not root for Jordan given how Carlo plays him.
Nuggets of wisdom and life lessons
The revenge story within La Vida Lena already shows that it beholds lessons early on, and we have yet to see it manifest in the story or in its characters. Lolo Dado is one of the influential voices for such. He constantly reminds Magda of the rightful values to have and pushes her to take control of it. These are little things that we, as viewers, hold onto because it lets us rethink our own values and really understand our life.
Furthermore, Magda’s adversities, such as bullying, discrimination, and disrespect as well as how she overcomes them call us to reflect on ourselves and how we treat other people. It is definitely just the beginning of the story, but we know that this storyline will lead us to learn more about ourselves and society.
La Vida Lena’s directors Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Jojo Saguin for the pilot week deserve tremendous applause for shelling out the beginning of a great story and showcasing top talent with just a few episodes in. It’s also major props to creator Reggie Amigo and writers Mari Lamasan, Mariami Tanangco-Domingo, Camille Anne De La Cruz, and Chris Tan for building the story that many are excited to see what’s next.
La Vida Lena indeed treated us to a delighting and explosive start on its pilot week. Although it is slated in the 10PM slot, viewers still hold onto it and joined Magda in the beginning of her vengeful journey.
Proving that are the rave reactions of the netizens on Twitter using the hashtags assigned in each episode. In fact, #LaVidaLena and the pilot episode’s #LVLSimulaNgLaban made it to the top trending topics that evening. Here are some of those:
Never miss an episode of La Vida Lena, weeknights after Init Sa Magdamag on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z Channel 11, and TV5! You may also binge-watch past episodes on iWant TFC and see episode highlights on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s official website and YouTube channel.