He's Into Her is a Teen Drama series that premiered on May 28, 2021 and airs on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z and TFC. (with episodes posted early on iWantTFC) It stars Belle Mariano as Maxpein "Max" del Valle, a girl from small-town Mindoro whose rich father invites her to move to a cushy new life in Manila. Max reluctantly accepts and finds herself thrust into the brutal world of Benison International School.
Benison is stratified by clique. Max angers Deib Lohr Enrile (Donny Pangilinan), leader of the most popular clique of all. As with many Asian teen dramas founded on a similar premise, this prompts Deib to incite a pattern of bullying against Max. But also... Puppy Love!
The source material is a 2013 Wattpad novel by Maxinejiji. Despite technical issues on the day of premiere, ABS-CBN reported record-breaking viewership rates for He's Into Her. The series was renewed for Season 2 as early as the second week, thanks to the phenomenal success that may prove instrumental to ABS-CBN surviving its franchise loss and becoming a global entertainment company.
BEWARE OF SPOILERS.
He's Into Her contains examples of the following tropes:
- Aerith and Bob: Lampshaded. Max's stepmother laughs at how strange a name "Maxpein" is. Oddly, no one comments on the other characters' names, even though a name like "Deib Lohr" is plenty weird too.
- Adaptational Nice Girl: Ysay seems to be a much more wholesome person in this version, though the possibility of her still being a covert minor antagonist is teased nonetheless. In Episode 5, she befriends Max and Deib, even shipping them. However, Max winds up in the hospital because somebody hit her head with a baseball bat. In the book, Ysay did this — but she did not do this to Max, she did it to Deib, which makes many believe that she may have not done it in the show. It's left ambiguous who actually did it to Max, but signs point to Choco. In the book, Choco bullied Max specifically; he shoved her against a locker. So it's not implausible that Ysay's big antagonistic moment was given to Choco instead in this manner, especially because vengeful Aimee was shown ordering him around before the incident.
- All Just a Dream:
- Played for Laughs in Episode 2. Deib has a romantic dream about Max. It derails into him being confronted by his ex-girlfriend Kim, and Max about to punch the shit out of him. Again.
- Also lighthearted in Episode 5, but played less for comedy. In Episode 5, Deib has the same dream about Max, which is amusing, but he's sincerely falling for her.
- Beautiful Singing Voice: As Deib is falling for Max, he hears her sing, and obviously this leads to him listening to her with puppy eyes.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Max and Deib have this in spades.
- But Not Too Foreign: Khloe Gomez has an obvious Australian accent, but her actress Ashley del Mundo is of fully Filipino ancestry. (Ashley del Mundo truly did, however, live in Australia.)
- Coming-of-Age Story: Max is in her senior year of high school.
- Determinator: "Ang matapang umiiyak, pero hindi nagpapasindak." (A brave person cries, but does not give up.) This is Max's motto.
- Fangirl/Shipper on Deck: Ysay Baylon is a major fangirl and shipper for Deib and his ex-girlfriend, Kim. Overnight, she apparently starts shipping "TagSen" (Max and Deib) instead — though it still remains to be seen if this is real or if she's actually still loyal to Kim x Deib.
- In-Universe Nickname: Max is nicknamed "Taguro" and Deib is nicknamed "Sensui," a Shout-Out to two antagonists from YuYu Hakusho.
- Faux Affably Evil: Max's stepmom pretends to be sweet while bullying her teenage stepdaughter, but Max can clearly tell that she is barely able to tolerate her presence.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: Max's father Maxim has Han Chinese heritage, and her mother didn't. This made Maxim's family disapprove of Max's mother.
- Manly Tears: A Gender-Inverted Trope. Max, a girl, cries when she's upset. But they aren't Tender Tears. She cries, but won't give up, according to her and her uncle's personal creed.
- Mixed Ancestry:
- Given that Benison International School is mostly populated by rich people, and being mixed-race is linked to greater social status in the Philippines. Of course there are loads of students who are visibly mixed.
- Max's paternal family (the Lunas) is a somewhat notable example in that their mixed heritage is specified and actively shown rather than being a footnote and something we can simply infer from their physical appearance. (This is usually the case for Ambiguously Brown Filipino leads — visibly mixed but culturally "pure" Filipino — so that they don't feel too foreign while upholding Eurocentric/colorist beauty standards.) The Luna family's Chinese-Filipino heritage is regularly displayed onscreen. Her half-brother even calls her "Atse" instead of "Ate" ("Atse" is the Hokkien root word for "Ate," the Filipino honorific for older sister). This is downright confirmed halfway through the series; Max says that her father Maxim is Chinese-Filipino, and her mother was just Filipino. That fact made Maxim's family disapprove of Max's mother.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer implies that Max calling Deib handsome ("gwapo") then pretending she called him an idiot ("gago") is a Did I Just Say That Out Loud? moment. In the series itself, Max actually calls him handsome to distract him during a game of pool, which works. Her calling him an idiot is not just her pretending; she's being smug in the scene.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Maxpein is often shortened to simply Max.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Deib is One Head Taller than Max, yet her swift punch was enough to leave a visible mark on his face.
- Race Lift: Of a sort. Max was North Korean (for some reason...?) in the source material; Max is a much more practical mix of Chinese and Filipino in the show.
- Rivalry as Courtship: The scenes leading up to Max and Deib's Once an Episode fights are practically video game cutscene-worthy.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The series uses an alternative transliteration for Toguro ("Taguro").
- Wicked Stepmother: Max's stepmother is the Faux Affably Evil sort.