Taiwan’s Public Television Station Aired Its First Gay Comedy
By Alex Panisch
PTS, Taiwan’s public television station, broadcast its first gay comedy on Sunday, the same day that rival demonstrators supporting and opposing same-sex marriage held a protest in Taipei’s Freedom Square.
Called Penguins at North Pole, the 30-minute short film takes a light-hearted take on the subject of homosexuality in Taiwan. PTS has broadcast other gay programs in the past, but these were all dramas.
The screwball comedy stars actress Tan Aizhen as a Taiwanese mother who wants her daughter Helen to marry a man and start a family. When she discovers that Helen's seeing a woman, she pretends to be accepting so she can eventually convince her daughter to marry a man. Of course miscommunications, awkward moments, and hi-jinks ensue.
The same day the program aired, protests were held in Taipei’s Freedom Square over same-sex marriage. The topic has been the subject of much debate ever since a draft bil legalizing same–sex marriage passed an initial vote in December. The deputy director of international development at TPS, Jessie Shih, told The Hollywood Reporter that the timing was coincidental and that they’d scheduled the film to air long beforehand.
Shih says the network hasn’t received any complaints from anti-gay groups and the film had a positive reception on social media. Even though the film aired at an 11:30 p.m. timeslot, it still garnered better than expected ratings.
Check out the trailer for Penguins at North Pole below: