Kara Mia lead stars Barbie Forteza and Mika dela Cruz are both happy over the attention given by netizens to their latest GMA-7 project.
When the Kapuso network released a teaser for Kara Mia, netizens made memes out of the lead characters who have two faces but share the same body.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and select reporters were able to ask for Mika and Barbie's reaction during the Kara Mia press launch held last January 24 at LAZAT Restaurant in Quezon City.
Mika first said with a laugh, "Diyos ko, nakakatawa!"
However, she believes that these memes can be used a gauge for their show's success.
She explained, "Kung ganito ka kakaiba yung project at hindi nila pinansin, kabahan tayo.
"Kung, 'Ay, dalawang ulo, dedma,' mahirap yun."
In fact, she and her fellow cast members even exchange memes in their conversations.
"Actually, nagpapasahan kami lagi. May bago na naman, nakakatawa! Yung mukha mo, bakit ganun!
"'Tapos ako, nakakainis kasi yung mukha ko, sana mas maganda, nakangiti ako! Sana mas maayos yung naplaster kung saan saan.
"Wala naman po akong problema so, nakaka-entertain.
"Alam naman po natin, matataba ang mga utak ng mga Pinoy, so goodluck na lang po, keep up the good work, guys!"
Even then, it's not all positive and funny for Kara Mia, since there are bashers who are doubting and laughing at the network's new concept.
Mika said about this, "Nakakatuwa kasi siguro sa ngayon, pinagtatawanan nila or dina-doubt nila, or binababa nila na, 'Ano ba yung ginagawa niyo?'
"Pero naniniwala kami na kapag nakita nila, dahil naintriga sila, dadating ang isang araw na kahit bully-bullyhin niyo pa ang Kara Mia, o dedma-dedmahin niyo, dadating ang isang araw na, 'Tignan ko nga!'
"Kahit for the sake na ma-entertain sila at makikita nilang maganda yung story, lilipat din kayo sa amin. Magugustuhan niyo rin!
"Naniniwala po kami na malaman yung story and worth it panuorin, worth it bigyan ng story."
For her part, Barbie is amazed by netizens who are able to think of turning their characters into witty memes, as well as those who curiously ask how Kara and Mia manage to sleep and take a bath.
"Ang galing, ang galing nang naiisip nilang ideas kasi kahit kami, yun yung tanong naming dalawa ni Mika sa istorya namin!
"Paano maligo, paano matulog, paano mag-drive, paano ma-in love? Lahat sila ganun din yung concern nila.
"At saka yung mga memes, yung mga trailer, ang gagaling! Pinag-e-effortan talaga nila, at saka feeling ko inaabangan din talaga nila yung Kara Mia.
"Kaya nakakatuwa kasi hindi pa man din kami pinapalabas, kalat na kalat na sa Facebook ang Kara Mia nang wala kaming ginagawa, puro sila lang."
But was she offended with the people's comments about their show?
Barbie answered, "Hindi naman po. Sabi nga po ni Miss Hazel [Abonita, program manager], good or bad publicity is still publicity.
"Ibig sabihin, pinag-uusapan, yung atensyon na sa amin. So good or bad, we take it, kung anuman yon."
Kara Mia's program manager, Hazel F. Abonita, explained the origins and inspiration for Kara Mia.
In a presentation she prepared, it was explained that Kara and Mia are born with the medical condition called Disprosopus or craniofacial duplication, a congenital defect wherein they have two faces but share the same body.
However, for the show's purposes, they added supernatural elements and superstition by showing that Kara and Mia's "father" is actually an engkanto named Iswal (played by Mike Tan).
During the press con proper, Abonita pointed out:
"There's an actual case in India, yung baby, although yung Diposoprus condition niya, yung mukha niya, parehas nasa harap.
"Hindi siya nabuhay past infant age because of complication ng internal organs."
There were two reported cases of babies born with craniofacial duplication in India: one in 2008 and one in 2014.
She continued, "Yung sa U.K. naman, it's an urban legend, Edward Mordake.
"Yung story ni Edward, he committed suicide kasi pag tulog daw siya, yung Mia niya sa likod, bumubulong, may criminal mind.
"Tinuturan siya kung anong gagawin na masama, hindi niya kinaya. So basically, that was the inspiration."
For the superstitious part, as represented by the engkanto Iswal, Abonita and Kara Mia's creative team took inspiration from a feature in Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho aired in November 2018.
Abonita elaborated, "Si Iswal, binase namin loosely doon sa KMJS feature na mga nawawalang panty sa Guimaras. 'Tapos nakita yung mga 80 plus na panty nakabaon sa lupa.
"That was the reason why we went to Negros Occidental, doon kami nagshoot ng pilot, kasi doon namin nilapit, ganun si Mike Tan dito.
"Pero hindi naman siya sleazy na engkanto, malaro lang siya dito.
"Plus siyempre, tayong mga Pilipino, naniniwala sa mga pamahiin, hindi ka pwede magtapon sa kung saan lalo't hindi mo kilala yung lugar. Huwag kang titingin ng diretso sa tao na hindi mo kilala."
She also said that the audience's concerns about Kara and Mia's lifestyle will be addressed in the story, like how they take a bath or how they sleep.
"Yes, actually we compiled the FAQs, tapos as much as we could, ita-try namin siyang i-address within the story para alam nilang pinapakinggan namin sila."
When it comes to the memes, Abonita admitted that they are also taking advantage of the show's popularity in social media.
One reporter then asked if she is afraid that these memes might backfire on the show's performance.
Abonita responded, "Acutally, na-realize namin as producers na whether it is a good or a bad reaction from the audience, it's still better than nothing.
"So yung mga negative, as much as we could, we try to keep an open mind and iniisipan namin paano sila sasagutin o bibigyan ng response na hindi naman namin sila ine-engage into an all-out fight.
"But the positive [comments], we take to help the program more."
Some might think that these memes are planted and are actually planned by the program, but Abonita assured that people's reactions to Kara Mia are organic.
"Sa awa ng Diyos, wala naman po, kasi even when we went to the regional, may mga masks sila na alam mong drinawing lang nila ng kamay, organic naman po yung reaction to the program."
Kara Mia is expected to air this February 2019 in GMA's Telebabad block.
Also part of the TV series are: Jak Roberto, Paul Salas, Carmina Villaroel, Glydel Mercado, John Estrada, Alicia Alonzo, and Gina Pareno.