What Aldub got right (and wrong) about courtship, love and romance

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You probably have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Philippine television’s current most popular characters from the noontime show Eat Bulaga, Alden Richards and Yaya Dub (Maine Mendoza in real life), better known by the portmanteau ‘Aldub’.

It’s very hard to ignore the buzz surrounding the celebrity “couple” Aldub particularly since they were a top-trending topic on social networking site Twitter for weeks. Millions of Filipinos from all walks of life are obsessed with them and, yes, even some Filipinos who live overseas. The producers of the show claim that the creation of the “love team” was unintentional.

Serendipitous love: Alden Richards and Maine 'Yaya Dub' Mendoza
Serendipitous love: Alden Richards and Maine ‘Yaya Dub’ Mendoza
The fictitious love story began when Yaya Dub was caught on camera acting giddy when she first saw Alden’s image on the show’s screen. Of course the producers saw the potential to milk the romantic angle when they realized the emerging attraction between the two TV characters melted the hearts of the audience. This spontaneity in the beginning obviously played a small part in the show’s success.

For those who are familiar with the formula for hit romance on a lot of TV series, you should already know that a big part of what gets audiences hooked is the thrill of the chase. Think of Jim and Pam in the international hit TV show The Office or Rachel and Ross in Friends. Audiences around the world tuned in because they were excited to see how the love story unfolded and how the lovebirds will finally get together. To quote relationship expert Dr. Pam Spurr: “Almost everyone – men and women – put a certain added ‘value’ on to something that’s not easily attainable”.

Unfortunately for the show’s producers, the audience’s interests in most shows popular for their onscreen romance also start to wane when the couple does finally end up together – when the thrill of the chase is gone. It’s the reason why producers wrap up the show after the couple consummate their relationship. Maybe it has to do with the fact that in a lot of relationships, whether in reel or real life, after the courtship is over, couples tend to start bickering. Who wants to see couples bickering on TV anyway? Not a lot of people do because most people watch TV to escape reality.

The challenge for Aldub producers is how to prolong the “courtship” without boring audiences. There is only so much Lola Nidora – the show’s voice of reason – can do to keep the frustrated couple apart before audiences start demanding they finally get together. And this is the part where the audiences don’t really know what they want. They don’t know that it will get boring once they are finally a couple.

If I were to be honest, the show’s concept is already getting a bit tired for me even before Alden and Yaya Dub become a couple. There is only so much teasing I can take by the Eat Bulaga hosts who act as voiceovers trying to explain or speculate on what the two characters are “thinking”. The pabebe wave, the sound effects and canned laughter can also be mind-numbing. In one episode, one of the hosts even said that Yaya Dub’s mouth is so big that it can cover the whole of Alden’s face. I mean, he was talking about someone’s real mouth – Maine Mendoza’s real mouth – and not a fake mouth. I thought it was rude of him to describe a lady’s mouth that way. To be fair, while Mendoza has a pretty face, when she is in character and does her dubsmash with her distorted mouth, she reminds me of Jim Carey in the film The Mask. Some people find that uncomfortable to look at.

Let’s talk about what the show gets right and wrong about individuals and relationships.

In the show’s Aldub segment, Yaya Dub is being guided by Lola Nidora to act like a lady and to practice a little subtlety by not showing too much of her feelings towards her object of affection. Coming from a lower class, Yaya Dub’s character had to take Lola Nidora’s advice on how to behave properly on the dining table and how to dress appropriately for their first date.

While the show was commended by certain sectors of Philippine society for teaching the “proper” values to younger audiences, on the other hand, it discourages the individual from being herself and being accepted for who she is. Lola Nidora will not be around for Yaya Dub forever to guide her. So, unless she is a quick learner, the question will be: How will Yaya Dub cope when Lola Nidora is gone? Yaya Dub will most likely revert back to how she truly is. The next question is, will Alden still like her if he finds out she has been faking it? The answer to that depends on what type of person Alden is. If he is a shallow individual, he’ll probably get turned off. Having said that, a discerning person would have picked up early enough in the courtship if the other party were being genuine or fake.

On the subject of subtlety or not being too eager to show your love interest that you are into him or her, as mentioned earlier, most people love the thrill of the chase. Here’s something about that from the Huffington Post article cited earlier:

It’s the same with sex and the classic chase – many men find the chase exciting and it strikes their ego to feel they’re the one who is finally going to get her attention – and into bed. Add to this the fact that men are very goal focused and an elusive goal can seem all that much more interesting.

I’d never advocate game playing but if you’re interested in a long-term thing it’s only sensible to hold back a little bit. A little bit of mystery can go far and after all, if the tables are turned most women don’t want a man to confesses undying love and interest after the first date or two.

There are actually men who lose interest as soon as they find out that the woman also finds them attractive. It seems that some men are just in it for the chase – to challenge themselves to get that “unattainable” girl but disappear from the picture once they succeed. This can be confusing for the girl and can be disastrous when you are dealing with a sociopath. As a general rule, men should be careful when it comes to playing with emotions if they don’t want to get in trouble.

As for the show Aldub, it would be good if the producers develop the characters of the two as strong, independent and able to decide what is best for them. This could send a message to young kids in Philippine society to be self-reliant. But that would be asking too much from a show that uses dubsmashing to popular songs to communicate.

Some people were quick to say that Aldub could become a classic in Philippine society much like Shakespeare’s plays. That is highly doubtful considering Yaya Dub’s Cinderella-like character was a Disney original and Lola Nidora’s attempts to teach appropriate behavior to a woman from the lower class is straight out of the play My Fair Lady.

Some of those who laud the show for teaching the “right” values are being overly-generous especially since some of the men who host the noon time show still behave inappropriately, in particular, with the way they treat women in reel and real life. Like with most TV shows, people should just take it with a grain of salt and try to avoid taking it too seriously.

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25 Comments on “What Aldub got right (and wrong) about courtship, love and romance”

  1. Maybe the show teaches the right values but unfortunately, the viewers are more tune in with the “kilig” the show offers. Fans only remember the values when they feel the need to defend the show and the love team. One proof that they’re not learning the right values is their senseless bashing of other people in social media as if they don’t learn any good manners and right conduct. One lesson should lead to another, isn’t it, if you’re really learning. So they should’ve been learning to respect other people and communicate with other people in civilized, if not intelligent, manner. They must’ve got their inspiration from the hosts, to quote again, “some of the men who host the noon time show still behave inappropriately, in particular, with the way they treat women in reel and real life.”

      1. Throwback: http://getrealphilippines.com/2015/01/showbiz-kilig-is-not-intelligent/

        That’s a spot-on article. Hehe. Somehow it follows that when the person aren’t conscientious or lack or shun intelligence, they easily get butthurt and respond rabidly. Without the time and effort to perceive the given knowledge or information and generate ideas of their own, they will give a knee-jerk reaction to criticism. Grim said, “We (Filipinos) are too lazy to think”. I think the Filipinos repulsion to intelligence, aayaw na agad kapag too deep o hindi naintindihan, mas gusto mababaw or masaya, has also something to do with what they are used to or more exposed into. I lend sci-fi and Bob Ong books to friends who only read romance pocketbooks and they have more good things to say about the sci-fi and Bob Ong books. They are amazed with the new things they learned, as if their mind got a new set of eyes and after reading “Bakit Baliktad Magbasa ng Libro ang mga Pilipino?” they readily gave their 2 cents about dirty politics. It would help if Filipinos expand or get out of their comfort zones.

        1. You know what, I actually think it is hard for us, Filipinos, to “move on”. Seriously many cannot move on from Kathniel or Jadine that the media continues to create more movies and teleserye of them. American movies have different main actors and actresses for different movies, except for series, sagas, or whatever they call it (no matter how much one loves to seem them on screen). Korean series is the same. Well the only love team I know from Korea is the Monday Couple who clearly states that they do it for business (again, no matter how much we want them to be together). But in the Philippines, the love teams rule! Even in commercials, you’ll see them.

          So yeah, I really think we are not moving on. :))

  2. True that Ilda. If you keep a critical mind, no matter what you watch or enjoy, you will always know what’s important and right and which portions are not. Unfortunately, because of lack of critical thought, Pinoy media is more like a RELIGION now rather than just entertainment.

  3. Aldub showed to me that many “intellectuals” in the country are easily swayed and forget that the show is just a show. There were so many articles in Rappler and other online news/opinion sites from UP Law professors or The Head of the Philosophy Dept in some other high-brow Philippine University who came to Aldub’s defense after a comic in the Philippine Inquier was published portraying Aldub as having occupied the Filipino people’s consciousness while issues of national interest are set aside. I’m glad there’s always someone in GRP I can rely on to issue sensible arguments against the crippling escapism many of our countrymen indulge in.

    1. @Ralph

      Yeah, it seems so bizarre that even so-called “intellectuals” in Ph fell for the marketing gimmick. They all know it’s manufactured anyway.

      Thanks for reading GRP. 😉

    2. I made that point: many watchers of “bakya” TV shows are actually the middle and upper class, and even supposed intellectuals. Others likely made that point before me, too.

  4. Ralph,

    These so-called “intellectuals” are really not that intelligent, especially when they can be easily swayed (“starstrucked”) by well-known celebrities.

    The only things that separates the “intellectuals” from the uneducated masses is the fact they were formally schooled, can read and write better, and have the confidence to express themselves in public forums like “Get Real Philippines.”

    Compared to people from other countries, Filipinos (intellectual or not) are still carried away by their customs, traditions, and their emotions, rather than by objectivity.

    Aeta

  5. When we start building perceptions based on our own experiences and judgments and not by the influence of fake media reports, that’s the indication of our transformation into a mature society.

  6. Unfortunately for our people, though, they have allowed the media to shape their judgement because they are too lazy to search for the truth themselves. And the truth is we Filipinos have no sense of genuine cultural identity to bind our loyalty to each other, and our moral compass are dysfunctional because we are too self-serving and arrogant.

  7. Right you are Ilda that about 85% of our population ~my own opinion ~ does not know that there is such a thing as critical thinking. They have been all their adult life been told what to think and not how to think the scientific way like collecting facts as to what, where, when, who, how and why. Before making assent to what they study, to what they have heard authorities on the subject have said, to what scriptures all over world have said or proposed as the last word on the matter at hand. I suppose that the transformation of our national psyche towards critical thinking shall require several generations to effect it, but let us begin now. What sayeth?

    1. @Tony

      It seems to me, technology is not helping Philippine society mature and progress. A lot of Filipinos use it for the wrong things.

  8. Ang nangyari nakakita ang mga tao ng isang lugar kung saan makakangiti at makakatawa sa loob ng ilang minuto.makakalimutan kahit sandali ang mga problema sa ating bansa,mga kapalpakan na ginagawa ng mga taoong gobyerno araw araw sa atin…. Ipagkakait pb natin ito sa kanila.

  9. Correct me if Im wrong but I do believe that most of the followers of this loveteam are very naive. Sometimes I just think that they are Highschoolers who cannot value greater things than this one. And that their time is only alloted by making such a hashtag trends in no time by having sleepless nights of tweeting and retweeting.It’s very unproductive.

    1. Beg to differ. I love the show and i am a ph d graduate from columbia university,new york. The kalye serye is one of its kind and i think we have to at least give credit to the creativity. Instead of being cynical and if you truly are claiming to know it all, why dont you take a moment and examine what makes the formula work.

  10. As you can see, so far they are not running out of ideas. Maine mendoza is phenomenal, what seems to be lacking in talent (which can be developed) more than make up for her big personality. You are overthinking and not in the zone. This is kalye serye and not a soap/tele serye. And aldub fans are fully aware of it. We are enjoying,watching the hot mess without judging. Loosen up

    1. Very well said marivic esteban…instead of watching politicians blah blah,y not take a moment to watch kalyeserye. But,i am fully aware of what is happening in our country. Besides,it takes only 2hours to watch that live kalyerserye. It can take ur stress away…

  11. We all have reasons why we love/like — hate/dislike things. Some people might not need our opinions because they have their own.
    Forgive me if I’ll share mine 🙂
    as I come to think about it.. Majority of people
    are mediocre, there are more poor ones than rich…
    AND PHILIPPINE MEDIA IS ALWAYS GRANTING THE REQUEST OF THE CROWD..

    Look! we have awesome artists and writers..
    but their works aren’t highly appreciated by the crowd because they just like to read the Precious Hearts Romance! They just want to post the famous hashtags rather the creative quote which is not about love love love, always~…

    I don’t wanna add more words…
    I might cry thinking about it~ 🙁

  12. We all have reasons why we love/like — hate/dislike things. Some people might not need our opinions because they have their own.
    Forgive me if I’ll share mine 🙂
    as I come to think about it.. Majority of people
    are mediocre, there are more poor ones than rich…
    AND PHILIPPINE MEDIA IS ALWAYS GRANTING THE REQUEST OF THE CROWD..

    We have awesome artists and writers..
    but their works aren’t highly appreciated by the crowd because they just like to read the Precious Hearts Romance! They just want to post the famous hashtags rather the creative quote which is not about love love love, always~…

    I don’t wanna add more words…
    I might cry thinking about it~ 🙁

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