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.
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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