Merce is an LOL worthy web series created by Charles Sanchez with a simple but profound message: Life can be positive when you’re positive! The show, now in its second season, is a hilarious, award-winning musical comedy series about a middle-aged, HIV-positive man living in New York City. He is unashamedly and flamboyantly gay, a Pollyanna who sees some events in his life through an MGM lens.
Merce shows a perspective on life with HIV that’s rarely depicted in mainstream media. So often when we encounter HIV positive characters, their stories are overwhelmingly sad and tragic. There are, of course, sad stories to tell, but the goal of Merce is to show that a happy and fulfilled life with HIV is possible.
In a 2016 article for thebody.com, Charles Sanchez describes his reaction to finding out he was HIV positive:
“I wasn’t going to die of AIDS in 2003.”
“But I still had to figure out how to live. I didn’t know what to do or what it all meant. Once my family and the doctors and nurses left the room, I was left alone with my thoughts. “Well,” I said to myself, “I guess that’s it. It’s all over. Now I’m just a pathetic AIDS victim. I’ll just have to sit quietly in the corner, a living red ribbon, sipping herbal tea and mournfully humming songs from Rent all my days.”
“Then another voice (perhaps my inner Jennifer Holliday?) thought, “WHAT? Quiet in the corner, Cinderella?? That’s not who you’ve ever been! Why start now?”
“I remembered that I have a big mouth, and that I’m funny, and I can write, and I’m not afraid to get up in front of people. What if I used those talents for good? What if I could be the guy who has HIV but is okay? What if I could show a positive view of positive people?”
And that’s exactly what he’s doing. Season 2 of Merce wrapped up shooting last fall and will be available soon. You can stay up to day on all Merce-related developments (and binge season 1) on their website.