GTH filmmaker Songyos "Yong" Sukmakanan never expected his TV debut, "Hormones the Series" on GMM One, to be a hit. He figured it would run its teen-drama course and end up on YouTube and get maybe a quarter-million views. "And I'd be happy," he says.
But five episodes in, the series is a hit every Saturday night, and not just with teenagers. The first episode drew more than two million viewers and the rest have balanced out at around a million.
Yong can be relieved now, but he was fretting about the responsibility of handling youth violence and sex issues on TV. “We had to show the issues through their eyes, not adults’. We wanted to show the problems as they really are and show the kids the consequences of their actions, but we also wanted to avoid preaching.”
Yong did a lot of research on the Internet, but admits the young actors provided by GTH have been a fount of information. “I talked to a lot of them about today’s teens, and then I developed the characters based on their own real experiences. There were things I didn’t understand about teen behaviour, so I’d go back and ask my cast.”
Yes, Yong was a teenager once too, but times have changed, he says. “I was stunned by some of the information I gathered, like the fact that teens don’t go to motels now – they just have sex at home, sometimes even when their parents are around! And girls are often the first ones to make a move these days and invite the boys home.”
The series, spun off from Yong’s 2008 film, has drawn criticism from more conservatively minded viewers, but he says the response has been mostly positive. Still, he’s careful. “I’d say that what you see onscreen is about 70 per cent real.
“We don’t want to preach or condemn, but the series addresses problems that actually exist, and we hope teens watch it and understand. This is a series that’s really on the teens’ side.”