Is Over-Romanticism A Problem?

As a commenter previously mentioned, the unprecedented success of the show Mari-Mar prompted the rise of modern teleseryes. Ever since then, local TV had never been the same again. Now, all you really see on local channels are shows of similar nature or at least contains elements thereof. While I have never developed a liking for such programs, the fact that they now dominate just about every channel throughout an entire day makes me more than a little worried for the young minds who have no access or have no knowledge of any other media asides from our local channels.

romanceGoing past teleseryes and the cheesy themes of many local films, let’s take a look at the many “values” that our society allegedly has. Again, during the latter years of my college life, I began to see the nature of shows changing with the times. Of course, one can note that romance will always be part of any show. After all, you need variety if you want to make things work. There’s action for the people who like to see folks fighting, there’s the occasional Halloween episode for people who want to see some horror and, let’s not forget, there’s always a need for couples in any given show.

However, there is something definitely wrong when just about every show you see revolves around romance and nothing more. When I began to notice that local TV was becoming more and more romance-centric, I complained to a guidance councilor about the way that it seemed to be the only thing that’s popular and all she could say was: “What can you do? Filipinos are a romantic people.” To this day, I am still dumbfounded by that statement and I’m more than a little at a loss on how to think things through.

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Well, it is true after all. The Spaniards, to whom we owe some of our heritage, are a very romantic and passionate people. One can tell from the dances they created that seem more than a little risque for some and their poetry can be placed alongside that of the French’s when it comes to its romantic content. No doubt that the Spanish passed their ideals unto us along with their other colonies like Mexico, a large portion of Latin America and Morocco which has received plenty of influence from Spain.

Besides, romanticism isn’t just common to the Philippines or any of our other Hispanic cousins. A lot of films and books these days possess “romantic plot tumors”, romantic scenes that seem out of place in a setting that would otherwise have very little time for such things. Take for instance the focus on the romantic aspects of the Hunger Games films as well as the romantic relationship between Mr. Spock and Uhura in the new Star Trek films. Then there’s the ever growing popularity of romance books like TwilightThe Fault in our Stars and (the highly dubious) Fifty Shades of Grey. Even video games aren’t entirely free from this kind of thing as a lot of people in my generation went “squee” at the sight of Squall Leonheart and Rinoa Heartilly of Final Fantasy VIII. Indeed, it’s quite clear that just about everyone is trying to cash in on the popularity of romance.

It’s certainly okay to have romance flicks but it’s a bit different when it’s the only thing on. Of course, you guys can always call me a single and bitter old coot, I’ve been called worse things believe me, so I don’t mind. But look, for every Twilight, there’s something like 30 Days of Night. For every Fifty Shades of Grey, there’s probably something like Atrocity Archives. Most foreign media probably have plenty of entries when it comes to the romance genre, but it probably isn’t all. They will likely have a lot of action, horror, sci-fi and comedy to go with it that have little or no romance in it whatsoever.

As the saying goes: “Too much of anything is never good.” And I will say the same about our media and our people’s inexplicable and illogical tendency to prefer romance over everything else. Yes, it’s true that we probably are a “romantic people” as my guidance councilor said all those years ago, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to sacrifice everything else just because romance is all we want. Even our music industry gets a similar treatment with majority of listeners preferring to avoid songs that aren’t “love songs” and some even outright demonize them without knowing all that much about them. As I said in a previous article, all most people want these days are the pleasant things in life while they try to block out everything else. It’s like wanting only the sweet things in your meal and rejecting all the bitter but nutritious vegetables. Our emotions and intellect also need food like our bodies and I think that too much sweets for your mind will have its own consequences in the long run as well.

If you want a good idea of what these consequences are, just note how the number of teen pregnancies seem to rise on an almost annual basis and they all seem to be getting younger and younger too. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in the romance genre, it wouldn’t be good to have it as the only thing on all the time asides from the neuron-destroying noon-time shows that we have. I can only name a small number of shows that aren’t entirely centered on romance and they tend to be very few and far between.

What’s worse is that people tend to misinterpret a lot of things as well. I can mention a lot of young couples out there who tend to imagine themselves as Romeo and Juliet without ever realizing that the play was actually a tragedy. I have also met a good number of people who are completely mesmerized by Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey without ever really realizing that the male leads in both stories would otherwise be considered dangerous and deranged individuals. Our media also does not help things by showing weddings (both the real thing and those in teleseryes) as the “happy ending” to people’s lives when any married couple can tell you that it’s another part of life, albeit an important one, but it’s just up there along with one’s birth, parenthood and death.

Romanticism may indeed be part of our culture but is it all there is when it comes to Pinoy mindset? Is marriage really the most important part of a person’s life or is it just one among many? Does love really solve everything?

These are questions we really need to ask ourselves if we want what’s best for our country and its youth…

28 Replies to “Is Over-Romanticism A Problem?”

  1. Romance is sometimes good. However, if all you think is romance…you will become a “Nut Case”.
    Filipino “teleryas and Movies” are Dumb. They make people dumb and dumber…

    There is the same plot and ending in the stories. They use Child actors, to behave like adults…the screen writers are mentally bankrupt…

  2. Many young people are of the opinion that “love will conquer all.” Unfortunately, most teen romances end in an unintended pregnancy and when the young man is unable to support the new wife and child, the baby gets passed to the nearest relative who will take it.

    The high of love gets cancelled by the bitterness of hunger.

  3. Yep – overly romantic and emotional people we are. Just look at the comments from Kate Natividad’s latest blog post on the Chiz-Heart wedding and you’ll see clearly how emotional Filipinos can become. Being overly emotional is a problem for the simple reason that it clouds judgment. It makes intelligent people look stupid.

    P.S. I hope you had a better guidance counselor.

  4. Is over-romanticism a problem? No.

    Drug addiction is a problem. Government corruption, population explosion and poverty are problems. Unemployment and cramped and sluggish economy are problems. Perceived government incompetence and coup rumors are problems. Rampant criminality is a problem. National security – on disputed islands in the South China Sea and our dealings with Muslim insurgents, etc. – is a problem.

    Romance and love themes on TV soaps and dramas are fine. They maybe annoying to a certain degree for they flood the medium but they do what they’re suppose to do: entertain.

    1. Oversaturation of romanticism adds to the corruption, population explosion and poverty as well, in fact they are inter-related because allowing emotion to cloud your judgment lets unqualified people in the office and shape the negative mentality of people to not strive for better treatment.

      Too much romantic is like one of the dominoes part of the cascade fall.

  5. Hook line and sinker. The Philippine media definitely is over-saturated with Love and Romance. Hell, every single radio station here plays love songs all the time with the occasional pop song.

    Which leads to hilarity when some pop songs are not the type you want to hear in public.

    Such as the one time where a teenage girl pageant played the song “Tonight I’m fucking you.” during the entire competition.

    You’re definitely correct that Filipinos tune out any song that’s not pop or love. Experienced it many times here. Once in my office when I tried playing rap, industrial metal or any non-love song. Once in my office where they tried telling me to turn it down or put my earpieces on, or in the Jeepney where they simply turn up the volume.

    Bottom line, the Filipinos have become a very close-minded bunch trained to love the stuff their media tells them. Not unlike Pavlov’s dog.

    1. Forgot to add, during the time they told me to turn it down in the office, they were playing yet another love song. Didn’t like it, so I tried playing my own.

  6. I think the whole tension about romanticism is the way it builds and builds, and the moment it’s consummated, the tension’s over.

  7. I would Love to see a Romance that is something like Romance of the Three Kingdoms being popular in the Philippines or anything that has themes of political and military strategies. Sadly, the average Filipino struggles to appreciate anything above soaps. Even soft Sci-fi sounds like a tall order for them.

    1. Good news, Game of Thrones is slowly picking up popularity in the Philippines. Bad news, they’re not really getting the whole message. Only see it for medieval action and tits.

      1. Thus why shows like Star Trek, Firefly or Doctor Who will never make it big over there. Just goes to show what the public really wants. They’re treating GoT as the next Panday or something. I can see Breaking Bad as a potential seller there too since it deals with a lot of “pedestrian” themes Filipinos obsess over.

        1. And by Star Trek and Doctor Who, I mean classic pre-Next Generation for the former and before the 8th Doctor for the latter.

        2. If my fellow Filipino FB friends’ likes are anything to go by, I would conclude that the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad (in that order) are the most popular Hollywood TV series among my friends at the moment…

  8. Looks like you’d enjoy stuff from the Russians. Dostoevsky, Nabokov and Tolstoy wrote stuff that isn’t entirely romance and if there were crafted it skillfully in their writing. I would caution that Russian literature tends to be overly bleak and depressing which as mentioned, isn’t a good thing in huge doses.

    I’ve also heard Nordic stories eschews romance over adventure and intellectual skepticism. As expected from Scandinavia where metal still holds relevant significance.

  9. This over-romanticism Filipino media has is actually more reminiscent of 1800s romanticism than modern. The melodrama, irrational reactions and non-thinking are so… Neanderthal era even. Because of such inordinate preference of primitivity over intellectualism, our country and its culture remain backward and immature.

  10. This is why I stick to anime and Japanese dorama. Its because they explore a lot of genre while it still has romance.

    But the local channels still keep butchering animes, doramas, and tokusatsus by cutting off their airtime to make money to pay for these foreign shows and treated them like fillers.

  11. We’re all about the heart, we have forgotten to think. For the masses, thinking is a chore that they refuse to do.

    Look at the Gilas ad (not a fan nor a hater) but it’s all #puso. Pusong Pilipino, pusong kung ano ano, hell puso ng saging even.

    It’s easier to feel than to think is probably why telenovelas with romantic themes are so big here.

    If you serialize MacGyver here (again), it would be canceled within a few weeks.

  12. Romanticism never existed in my platter. I’d rather satisfy my curiosity through Avant-Gardes, Erotic Thrillers, Offbeat dramas 😉

  13. One of the things I’d love to see from a Filipino author is something more along the lines of a post-apocalyptic novel set in the Philippines! I’d pay to read that and see how their idea of post-apocalyptic Philippines would compare to mine! 🙂

    1. PS: Yours truly on the other hand doesn’t really care much about TV series! I don’t think I have the patience to follow them fully anymore! I’m more content to sticking to watching NHL hockey, football (the FIFA/UEFA/Azkals kind), and Nat Geo/Discovery channel-type documentaries! 😉

  14. Romance if done right can actually be great. A few South Korean movies have done this.

    What I don’t like is the seeming lack of alternatives from the two networks. All there is are drama shows from morning to evening. Gone are the days when you can watch a series like Millenium or Star Trek: The Next Generation; now it’s all these teeny bopper garbage catering to the mentalities of jejemon fucktards.

    Another is the so-called music channel “Myx”. All they show are videos of shitty pop bands and boy groups or mundane and empty songs by Ariana slutty Grande or some other Illuminati tool.

    Entertainment for the sheeple.

    1. Well at least in other nations, you’ve got a lot to pick from: romance, action, comedy, sci-fi, etc. but in the Failippines, you’re definitely out of luck, that’s why we tend to prefer foreign films instead, yet those idiots will blame us for the retarded “colonial mentality” crap – well I call it incompetence on their part.

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