Thoughts On…Imagine You & Me

Imagine You & Me album cover

*Warning: Spoilers*

Spunky Gara (Maine Mendoza) admits she has tough luck when it comes to her love and life. Her potential boyfriend came out of the closet and, for reasons not cleared in the movie, she also had to leave her family to work in Italy as a housekeeper and dog walker. Bad luck seems to follow her to Italy as she meets Andrew (Alden Richards), a brooding guy who’s probably suffering from untreated PTSD after his dad died in a car accident and his proposal rejected by her girlfriend, Isay (Jasmine Curtis-Smith). After starting off on the wrong foot, they eventually fall for each other. Will Gara’s self-fulfilling prophesizing get in between her and Andrew?

Imagine You & Me was okay. It had the Kalyeserye callbacks from the dubsmashing, the pabebe wave, the splitscreen romance and the lines (“grabe siya”, “Regine! woooo!”). It surprised me that these references were smoothly inserted in the movie and weren’t abrupt as they were in My Bebe Love. Photography was well thought out more than the usual GMA film (my previous experience were from MMFF films). They had a lovely tracking shot in the early part of the movie that was a good translation of their split screen style to film.

Although what was off-putting was how the writers had to include all the possible melodramatic tropes in the movie. Stepson hates his stepmother? check. A “mahirap man ako pero hindi ako magnanakaw” monologue? check. Drunk videoke? check. The confide something while the other person’s drunk or sleeping? check. A car accident? check. I have no issues with using tropes. They make it easier for viewers to establish a connection with the movie; helping in setting up the possible permutations of events that can happen in the movie. But using tropes just to have drama doesn’t cut it for me. SPOILER TERRITORY: What was the purpose of Gara getting hit by a car at the end of the movie? Car accidents in pinoy movies are used to enact a change of heart in a character. It’s basically: “dapat patawarin mo na siya dahil pwedeng mamatay siya”. In the movie, Andrew was already all-in on Gara. Did we really need that scene

Also off-putting was Gara’s decision in the end. The movie could have been 30mins shorter if she just decided to be mum about Isay being in Italy. She rationalized that her decision to meddle in the lives of Andrew and Isay was for their own good. But was it really for them or just so she can continue her “malas sa lovelife” narrative? Andrew and Isay were already done with their romance! Isay wanted to die alone. Gara already cured Andrew’s PTSD with her energy! Wala nang kokontra! But she just couldn’t help but self-destruct. And just to add, forcing a trauma survivor to revisit their trauma is so unnecessary.

But overall, it was an okay try for a first movie. It had high-level production value, strong supporting cast but muddled by story decisions. It reminded me of how the first full-length John Lloyd-Bea film was also just okay. It doesn’t stand out compared to the other films they had afterwards. Again, it’s good that they started on the right footing. Just a few more reps and they might eventually hit their own One More Chance.

Shout Outs, Call Outs and Watch Outs:

  • Unrelated to the film,shout out to the new anti-piracy video. I loved that Dan Villegas/Tonet Jadaone troupe mainstays like Jerald Napoles, Nico Antonio, Ruby Ruiz and Bebeng (can’t find her real name!)
  • Shout out to Como, Italy. Whoever thought of shooting the film there was a genius
  • Shout out to Cai Cortez and Kakai Bautista playing good cop and bad cop to Maine’s Gara
  • Shout out for including Mojofly’s “Mata” in their soundtrack
  • Spotted Sponsors: Magnolia, McDonald’s, Nescafe, O+. To be fair, McDonald’s was the only overt placement there.
  • What’s with Gara’s dog analogies when talking with Isay? Is it because Isay loves dogs? I dunno, it was just odd.
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Thoughts On…Imagine You & Me

The Streamline Podcast 008: 2015 Year In Review

Bea, Mon and Euge discuss the significant people, events and things in Philippine Pop Culture last 2015.

TV Show of ther Year

  • Master of None
  • On The Wings Of Love
  • Kalye Serye

Film of the Year

  • Heneral Luna
  • Inside Out
  • That Thing Called Tadhana
  • Star Wars Episode VII

OMG Event of The Year

  • Hasht5
  • Pulling out of the contraceptive budget
  • Metrohell – Carmageddon
  • Adele’s Comeback
  • Jon Snow’s death

Fail of the Year

  • It’s Showtime
  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Grace Poe’s Candidacy
  • Mockingjay part 2

Turnaround of the Year

  • Wally Bayola
  • Justin Bieber
  • Star Wars Episode VII
  • Gilas 3.0
  • Poy and Basha of A Second Chance

Character of the Year

  • Yaya Dub
  • Bingbong
  • Emo Kylo Ren
  • Heneral Antonio Luna
  • Finn X Poe

Person of the Year

  • Pia Wurtzbach
  • Alma Moreno
  • Pabebe Girls
  • Wally Bayola
  • Antonette Jadaone

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast either via soundcloud or iTunes and look up Lee Rosevere on fma.org!

 

The Streamline Podcast 008: 2015 Year In Review

The Streamline Podcast: Episode 007 Star Wars and MMFF 2015

The gang’s back to discuss their thoughts on Star Wars and the films of MMFF 2015 namely Honor Thy Father, My Bebe Love, All You Need Is Pag-ibig and Walang Forever.

Episode flow points:

Star Wars

  • Thoughts on Force Awakens
  • How it compares to the old films
  • The burning questions left by Force Awakens answered by Mon our resident Star Wars fan.
  • What we want to see in the next movies

 

MMFF 2015

  • Thoughts on Walang Forever and All You Need Is Pag-ibig
  • Thoughts on My Bebe Love
    • The pros and cons of the movie
  • Thoughts on Honor Thy Father
    • Elements that set it apart from the other MMFF movies
    • Some JLC fanboying/girling
    • Frustrations in Erik Matti films
    • Possible sequel or tie-in with On The Job

For our written coverage of MMFF:

 

Don’t forget to follow us on soundcloud!

And all the music used in the episode was from Lee Rosevere. You can find his other works here.

The Streamline Podcast: Episode 007 Star Wars and MMFF 2015

Thoughts On…Honor Thy Father and My Bebe Love

HTF MBL cover

For the second installment of our MMFF 2015 coverage, we watched two films that were often compared in social media, Honor Thy Father and My Bebe Love.

I’ll try to share my thoughts without spoiling the movies but, yeah, read at your own risk of getting spoiled.

HONOR THY FATHER

Honor Thy Father tells the story of Edgar (John Lloyd Cruz) trying to save his family from people who were duped to invest in his father-in-laws ponzi scheme.

  • Continues On The Job’s individual hero fighting against systemic issues theme
    • So many interesting visual cues throughout the film that highlighted its themes of “survival of the fittest” (i.e.  kids fighting for fried chicken, people jumping from a bridge to get stray money, etc.) and social stratification (i.e. Edgar watching a dog eat the scraps that he gave, Hummer vs. old truck, etc.)
    • “Tutusukin mo rin ba mga mata nila Papa?” SOOOO GOOD
  • It’s as depressing as On The Job
    • I felt the movie could have been soooooo much better if Kaye was given some form of redemption rather than being used as a plot device.
  • Yeshua’s an interesting interpretation of God’s name to use.
  • Interesting how all the other father figures aside from Edgar are either dead or incompetent
  • JOHN LLOYD CRUZ WAS DESTINED FOR INDIE MOVIES. STAR CINEMA Y U NO LET JOHN LLOYD ACT IN INDIE MOVIES????
  • After watching all the shit JLC had to do in this movie, I think he’s now the only actor who has the right to use the “Panoorin niyo po ang [pelikulang Y] ibang [actor X] ang makikita ninyo sa pelikulang ito” cliche promo
    • As much as I enjoyed Jericho’s performance in #Walang Forever, JLC should have won that Best Actor award. The guy displayed a wider acting range, and not to mention, LUMUSONG SIYA SA IMBURNAL. At partida, NANG WALANG ABS.
  • List of JLC’s Breadowns In Movies Ranked:
    1. A Second Chance’s “Can you love a failure” breakdown (painful for an egotistic man to get emasculated by his strong-willed wife)
    2. Honor Thy Father ending breakdown (a breakdown of a man trying to fight his futility)
    3. One More Chance’s “You had me at my best” breakdown (probably taught millions of male Filipino teenagers that it’s okay to cry [as long as it’s in the name of love])
    4. The Mistress’s “Ibang lalake kasama mo” breakdown (Had a good mix of anger and frustration)
    5. It Takes A Man And A Woman breakdown (had that feeling of a boy trying to look for emotional refuge when no one was available)
  • I would have loved some more backstory on Yayo Aguila’s family. It was interesting how an upper-class family was duped into a ponzi scheme
  • Masterful sound design in the bank scene.

 

MY BEBE LOVE

It’s a straight-up romcom about two couples (Vic-Ai-Ai and Maine-Alden). Nothing much to say besides that.

  • It’s not as bad as what the people in the internet say it is (I’m not even sure if they even watched it)
    • Based on the reaction of the crowd, there’s still a market for this kind of comedy movie
    • I can see an occasion when I’d be happy enough to watch this movie.
  • It was way longer than I expected (was expecting around 1hr 30mins a standard for romcoms, but this movie stretched to almost two full hours)
  • Why was Ai-Ai angry throughout the movie????
  • My Bebe Love is a movie about shoutouts
    • What’s cringeworthy in the film was blatant advertisement of brands. I do believe they earned so much from Kalye Serye (the no-commercial Tamang Panahon event) that they need not to have this much sponsors on-screen. I mean, I’ve watched Enteng Kabisote movies way back when and they didn’t have this much sponsors.
    • Here’s the list of all the sponsors we counted (22):
      1. Ber Brand Adult Plus
      2. Google (Google Search, Maps, YouTube)
      3. O+
      4. San Miguel (Pale Pilsen and Light)
      5. Glutamax
      6. Phoenix
      7. Ayala Country Club
      8. Sir George’s Bindo’s Best Print Shop
      9. Tide
      10. Goldilocks
      11. McDonald’s
      12. Talk N Text
      13. Solmux
      14. Kuse
      15. PLDT Home
      16. B Hotel
      17. Gumatay Hardware
      18. Coke
      19. Rebsico
      20. The brand that Vic and Alden wore throughout the film
      21. One Esplanade
      22. Posh Nails
    • Cameos by Eat Bulaga and other artistas
      • Lilia Cuntapay
      • Jose Manalo
      • Paolo Ballesteros
      • Ryan Yllana
      • Ryzza Mae Dizon
      • Pauleen Luna
      • Mikael Daez
      • Aegis
      • Wally Bayola (as Lola Nidora)
  • What is the definition of a family movie nowadays? This movie overtly talked about impotence and sex. Of course they used euphemisms, but still overt nonetheless.
  • I understand the development of Vic and Ai-Ai’s relationship; Maine and Alden’s, not so much
    • Justified na ba dahil love at first sight?
    • Maine and Alden could have been more effective if their characters were written better (plus pa sana sa #AlDubNation)
  • With his silent off-screen persona, I can totally see Vic Sotto as a jigsaw puzzle type of guy
  • Just echoing what Maine on twitter said: “bakit ako?”
    • Objectively speaking, I love her work on Kalye Serye and in her commercials but you can clearly see that she still needs more experience in playing a scripted character. Do I blame her? No, not at all.
    • Do I blame MMFF for giving her the Best Supporting Actress award compared to heavyweights who were more efficient in their respective movies such as Kim Molina and Nova Villa, definitely yes.
    • Don’t hate on Maine, she did what she could using her yet-honed movie talent and a so-so script. Hate on MMFF for pushing her to that pedestal of Best Supporting Actress. Kahit siya di niya nga alam kung bakit. She can win Best Support Actress or Best Actress in two or three years time, but winning it immediately with less than a year’s experience? MMFF, that’s overextending stuff.

 


 

Watch out for our full discussion on MMFF 2015 in our upcoming podcast!

Thoughts On…Honor Thy Father and My Bebe Love

Ranking The AlDub Commercials

AlDub Power Rankings

 

(Last updated: Jan. 10, 2016)

Arguably, being the most in-demand loveteam of the year, it’s not surprising for AlDub to have a dozen or so commercials and endorsements to their name. But not all AlDub commercials are created equal. Some make perfect use of the couple’s gimmicks and talents while some just use their presence to get people’s attention. So I thought, why not rank the greatest to the not so great AlDub commercials? So to have a proper way of evaluating each commercial, I’ll be using these three parameters:

  • Enjoyability: Was the commercial enjoyable? Did it have other enjoyable qualities aside from seeing Maine and Alden’s faces?
  • AlDub-ness (Kwela+Kilig): Did the commercial retain the qualities that made the couple great? Also, plus points if the TVC included some Kalye Serye elements like the split screen, the lolas, etc.
  • Brand Fit: Was the TVC able to highlight the brand or product? It is a TVC after all. It should highlight the product and not just be a 15 or 30 second extension of Kalye Serye. Tying the product with AlDub is the most ideal

To be clear, the most romantic or funniest commercial DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN  the best commercial. The one that was able to translate the most into sales DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN the best commercial. Heck, my most favorite AlDub commercial here isn’t even #1.

I’ll update the list if other commercials still come up.

Numbers 15 – 11 (Ano ang relate?)

Zonrox Thick Bleach TVC

Enjoyable because of Maine’s dubsmash acting. But really, their segue from AlDub to Zonrox is that both couple and brand can induce kilig?A price drop of my preferred bleach brand wouldn’t be one of the top reasons for me to get the giggles. And what is it with that segue? It’s like saying John Lloyd Cruz and Donna Cruz are related because they have the same last name.

McDonald’s “Papa Na Kita” TVC

I was excited when it was announced that McDonald’s will be their first endorsement. Based on McDo’s track record of producing high quality ads, I was all hyped. Boy, was I disappointed. The AlDub-ness of the commercial was there. The song’s great and fit perfectly with the couple. But dang where’s the product connection? And if you think of the story of the ad, although they split-screened Maine and Alden, there was no proof that they knew each other, so basically, they were singing “ikaw ang aking mahal” to the chicken they were eating.

Datu Puti TVC

A common device used in AlDub commercials is bait and switch. TVCs will set up the tone in a romantic way but once it’s about to reach the climax, they’ll switch it with the product placement, just like this one. You’d think they’re on some formal date (their attire and the location), but then they introduce the product and start cooking barbecue in the middle of a garden. The transition between the product and endorser was rough. Also, isn’t wearing a suit or a dress an impractical way of cooking and eating barbecue? Just because Zonrox is considered by 9 out of 10 moms as “sulit” and priced at 16.10 PhP doesn’t mean you can start being reckless in your dates.

Talk ‘N Text “#AlDubEverAfter” TVC

Another bait and switch TVC, where they set it up like it was AlDub’s wedding video, only to show that they were just part of the bride and groom’s entourage. And just like the other commercials the product connection was rather vague. If it wasn’t for the TNT wallpaper and the tag at the end of the commercial, you’d think this is a commercial for Viber more than TNT because this commercial assumes that you already know the TNT promo they were endorsing from their first ad.

McDonald’s “Paniwalaan Mo” TVC

Their second TVC for McDo was far better than their first. It was able to clear up the story (okay Alden and Maine are together) and they added the lolas as chuwariwaps that added a Kalye Serye bonus. Although it’s weird that even when they’re already a couple (based on the locket and the pictures in the wallet), they still used the Missed Him By That Much trope. Can’t they whip out their O+ phones and call each other using their TNT sim? Then again, how does the product they’re endorsing, the fried chicken, relate to the story?

Numbers 10 – 5 (Gets naman ng kaunti)

Bingo “#MaiDenKiligSaSweet” TVC

This ad got in the top 10 because of the clear connection of the brand and the couple (Bingo and MaiDen are sweet therefore kilig!) But aside from that, Maine and Alden, were standard endorsers and were pretty much underutilized. No display of any of their talents. The music reinforced the kilig aspect of the ad rather than to add kwela, like the other commercials. And I’m not going to count the improbable touching of pinky fingers as kwela at all.

 

Downy “#DownyRuBAEDEBango” TVC

So this is a straightforward Missed Him by That Much scene but at least here it’s evident that they’re a couple. What’s also good is how they used the music to connect AlDub and product together. They knew the importance of music in the couple’s gimmick so they made full use of it. And the visualization of Downy’s proposition of rubadubango was clear. This could have ranked higher if not for the use of a little girl as a breathing stage marker (more on this in a different write-up).

Maine Rejoice “Ready For Destiny” TVC

The connection of the brand with Maine is clear here, “to be ready for destiny (meaning meeting Mr. Right is part of a woman’s destiny), use Rejoice!”. But they were weird elements in the video. Why did we need to see Maine’s old pictures? To highlight her readiness for her destiny at a young age? Or to say that she wasn’t ready for destiny until she used Rejoice? And why was she watching herself on Youtube? Why sell the Megapack using this tone? Rejoice has been known for their upbeat and light commercials, why change it now? Especially when Maine and AlDub’s strengths are their upbeat mix of romance and comedy?

Maine 555 TVC

It’s a solid ad because it was effective in embracing all three parameters. The song Maine dubbed was clear in establishing the tension between choosing from two of 555’s supposedly delicious products.

Hapee Toothpaste TVC

Probably the most striking, most unique and most effective use of the couple’s dubbing abilities. Sadly though, you need to watch all four minutes of it to appreciate its greatness, which meant this was expensive to translate on TV. I’ve watched the 30s version of this commercial and it lacked the oomph (the Hotline Bling reference didn’t make the cut). Also it wasn’t clear how the product affected their dubbing? Using Hapee would make you a better dubber?

Tide “#AlDubBabaTide6” TVC

This is an example of a commercial achieving the AlDub-ness personality without being mushy or serious. It’s light, fun and made perfect use of the couple’s talents. Plus points for retooling Shaggy’s “Mr. Boombastic” to connect the product and AlDub (seems a commonality between their P&G laundry endorsements). Plus points for the laundering ladies as back-up dancers.

Numbers 4 – 1 (Achib na achib!)

Talk N’ Text “Extended Ang Saya” TVC

Their  first TNT ad was solid. It was able to setup the service they were selling with the couple’s story in the commercial. Considering that what they were selling was a service that’s intangible (as compared to bleach, or fried chicken), the ad was able to succinctly sell the service without compromising the AlDub-ness. Plus points for using Carly Rae Jepsen. Minus points for using a different version of God Gave Me You.

O+ Plus Ultra TVC

Probably the ad that got most out of its source material. So much additional points for smoothly including Kalye Serye elements into the story as well as the product being sold (maglalast ang battery ng O+ Plus Ultra mo hanggang umabot ka sa Tamang Panahon).

 

Coke “Pasarapin Ang Moment Ngayong Pasko” TVC

Continuing their long line of quality Christmas commercials, Coke made effective you of the bait and switch to deliver a surprise funny ending; pretty much like an RKO outta nowhere. Product message was also clearly established. Although, like the Hapee commercial, I’m not sure if this can deliver the same impact if it’s cut into a 15s – 45s commercial.

Bear Brand Adult Plus “Combo” TVC

And the best AlDub commercial, so far, goes to Bear Brand Adult Plus. It has kwela. It has kilig. It made use of the split screen gimik perfectly. It sold the product all throughout the ad, without a bait and switch. Also, didn’t use a kid as a breathing marker.

Ranking The AlDub Commercials

8 Filipino Pop Culture Costume Ideas for Halloween

Pop Culture Costume Ideas for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, which means a night or two when people can go out as superhero characters or sexy versions of inanimate objects (see: sexy coke can or sexy sriracha bottle). If you want something different and to standout from the crowd, why not try out Filipino pop culture-themed costumes? I know 8list already made a listicle on the topic. It was pretty good, but it was more classic pinoy pop culture. This list is going to be more 2015 pinoy pop culture.

I suck at drawing, so I’ll do my best to add image pegs

1. heneral articuno

 

Someone already made this joke on the internet, but why not go full-on punny with it? And you can do it in two ways! (1) Dress up like a turn-of-the-century general with a legendary Pokemon for a head. Or, (2) Dress up like a legendary Pokemon with a military cap and a bushy moustache.

Try this out if: You’re flying solo (pun intended)

For additional authenticity: Go around the party and start demanding for drinks. If anyone doesn’t give in to your demands, threaten them with an Ice Beam.

2. the kalyeserye split screen

You want something KalyeSerye-themed without being Alden or Yaya Dub? Why not try and become the KalyeSerye split screen, the consistent villain to the phenomenal couple’s love life (Too bad Lola Nidora already made a babyface turn).

Try this out if: You’re third-wheeling a couple or just bitter not having a date.

For additional authenticity: Barge in between couples PDA-ing couples at the party. Better yet, also bring La Pacita biscuits, masarap ipambaon daw eh.

3. queen edsa, the traffic queen

Try this out if: You want some twist to the staple Disney princess get-up during Halloween. Like a more stressed or helpless look compared to your 5-year old niece’s Queen Elsa costume.

For additional authenticity: Instead of snowflake prints, print out a Waze map of EDSA and stick it on to your cape.

EDSA cape
Make sure to take use an image of EDSA on a weekday, really adds authenticity to it

4. MR. PASTILLAS HEAD

It’s Showtime’s ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas” segment is pretty much Angelica “Ms. Pastillas” Yap looking for the pastillas that can sweep her off her feet. Why search for Mr. Pastillas when you can be ANY type of pastillas???

Try this out if: If you’re planning to woo the ladies. Nothing’s sexier than a sugarcoated milky treat with a daddy-stache and googly eyes.

For additional authenticity: Only wear red or yellow cellophane, take your pick.

5. ICING TO KIM CHIU’S CUPCAKE

Mr. Right Icing and Kim Chiu Cupcake
Kim Chiu’s limbs scaled perfectly

“Ikaw na ba ang icing sa ibabaw ng cupcake ko?” could be the most creative, or the utterly cheesiest metaphor of 2015. So for uber lovey-dovey couples out there, try this out. A Heneral Luna alternative can be dressing up as queso and ensaymada ala Rusca.

Try this out if: If you’ve done other food pairing couple costumes (i.e. bacon and eggs, Peanut Butter and Jelly ) and want a local alternative. Try dinuguan at puto next year.

For additional authenticity: Play Hide and Seek with the cupcake as “it”. Cupcake goes around the party asking, “ikaw na ba si Mr. Right?”.

6. FULL ARMOR intergalactic earth ambassador

People laughed at this guy for claiming to be an Intergalactic Earth Ambassador when he filed his candidacy for president. Well, weapons aren’t allowed so of course he didn’t wear his Intergalactic Earth Ambassador garb! You know where you can wear that? In a party!

Try this out if: You feel you can be part of the solution to the problem that is our government.

For additional authenticity: Ask a friend to dress up as your co-Intergalactic Earth Ambassador Annie.

7. JIGSFREY BARATHEON

Jigsfrey Baratheon

Who says US pop culture and Pinoy pop culture can’t unite? Jigs of On The Wings Of Love and Joffrey Baratheon (yes Baratheon, I follow the books not the TV series) of Game of Thrones are both one-dimensional and self-entitled brats without any redeeming value.Jigs is a thorn to Lea’s side, while Joffrey did the same to Sansa before he died horribly. Why not celebrate this intersection by coming as both?

Try this out if: If you plan to stick it to TV show elitists out there who judge the current quality of PH entertainment without immersing themselves in it.

For additional authenticity: Shout every single word you say. Also add a bit of snarl to it.

8. the councilor

Councilor vanity plate

You know in every party there’s always that loud and wasted guy that feels like he owns the party? Well why not legitimize that feeling by bringing a councilor vanity plate! Let everyone know you’re the biggest dick in the room!

Try this out if: If you plan to YOLO the night away with drinking and dancing. But it also goes without saying, don’t ever try to freaking drive afterwards.

For additional authenticity: Curse like a high school student playing DotA with lines like “Putangina siraulo yan brad!”, “Ako laseng? tangina mo gago, pakyu!”

Have any other pinoy pop culture ideas? Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

8 Filipino Pop Culture Costume Ideas for Halloween

The Trouble In Labelling Entertainment as “Mababaw”

The Trouble With Labeling Entertainment as -Kababawan-

A few weeks ago, Lea Salonga was under fire when she unwittingly tweeted this while almost half of the Philippines was glued to their TVs watching Kalye Serye on Eat Bulaga:

People responded to her question (#NagtatanongLangPo) . Here’s a snapshot of the first five replies

Lea Salonga Twitter Reactions

The comments were diverse: persons 1 and 2 disagreed, with #1 assuming it was about AlDub, persons 3 and 4 agreed, while #5 clarified the question. The succeeding replies were pretty much assuming, heavily defensive AlDub fans being colorful with their accusations and insults.

A lot of people have given their opinions on the incident. Most have chastised these heavily defensive AlDub fans for jumping the gun. Filipino Director Mike Sandejas has given his support to Lea. On the other hand, Joey De Leon has passive-aggressively conceded in being “mababaw” with this tweet:

Since it has already been a few weeks after the issue, I think it’s time to do a post-mortem examination. Why waste time on this? Lea Salonga and Joey De Leon have already put this to rest, why still open this up? Why? Because I feel we can learn a few things from this situation regarding the state of entertainment in our country.

Social media and mass media are painting a bleak picture of local entertainment. The theme? DIVIDE. Some people are clamoring for a revolution in quality–their muse, Heneral Luna. The people they’re chastising? those they feel who are deep in the trenches of the network war, identifying AlDub and Pastillas Girl as their muses. Both sides aren’t budging one bit. This issue with Lea can hopefully point us in the right direction

As much as I love and admire Lea Salonga as an actress (loved her in Captain Barbell opposite Herbert Bautista and her time in Disney of course), as a gamer (Assassin’s Creed yo) and as a person with firm beliefs, truth be told, I am disappointed with her use of the label of “kababawan”. This hullabaloo would have not have happened if the word wasn’t used in this context. Especially when the idea of the tweet was to invite everyone to an honest to goodness dialogue to examine the entertainment we enjoy. I am 100% in support of that intention. Heck, the reason why I even have this blog is for that same purpose– to examine the entertainment (and culture) us Filipinos enjoy. But, as much as the intention was sincere, the message was distorted because of that single word. Here’s why the label of “kababawan”, I feel, has no place in a proper dialogue.

  • KABABAWAN IS SUBJECTIVE: Going back to the sample of reactions we have above, this was what person #5 was somehow pertaining to. “Kababawan” entertainment is not concrete. In truth, any form of entertainment can be considered as mababaw depending on the person you’re talking to. AlDub and Pastillas Girl can be mababaw. Heneral Luna can be mababaw. The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad can be mababaw. Watching Gilas, PBA, NBA, NCAA or UAAP can be mababaw. Watching Les Miserables, listening to Chopin or reading Foucault can be mababaw. My point is that if we want an objective dialogue, we need to use terms or labels that can be understood by all parties. We need to find a level were we can all meet before we can all state our cases. Which also brings me to my next point:
  • KABABAWAN PASSES JUDGMENT: This is the reason why we have reactions like persons #1 and #2 above. If we discuss mababaw entertainment, it entails a certain standard that was not passed. Or something that is distant. Something that you don’t identify with. Again, if we want to have a dialogue or a convergence of ideas, it doesn’t help that we’re disassociating ourselves and reinforcing this DIVIDE. That’s why Lea received accusations of being a “self-righteous prick” or “kataas-taasan”. The people felt like Lea was imposing her standards to their taste of entertainment. No one likes that. And then some people accuse them of being butthurt when they become defensive. Of course they’ll be defensive, you just insulted their taste!

“anong pake mo ba kung mahilig ako sa mababaw na entertainment? i don’t see anything wrong with it.”

This is the kind of reaction a person wounded by a mababaw comment would say. A reaction that is one-part confused, and two-parts resigned. Confused as to why they’re told that it’s a negative to like mababaw entertainment. And to avoid any further argument, resigned to the idea that a set of people has labeled his/her taste as  mababaw. But it’s obvious that this person gets more than MERE enjoyment from mababaw entertainment. And really, the difficult thing here is that this person would be inclined to take a MORE defensive stance and to be less open to a dialogue, therefore, adding more distance to the divide.

so if not kababawan or mababaw entertainment, what do we call it then?

My suggestion, call it as it is. What we’re all pertaining to is the quality of mass media or mass entertainment. And what I meant by “mass” here is not “masa” but media or entertainment intended to be consumed by a large number of people. Or we can call it as just entertainment for entertainment’s sake? Or pure entertainment? See? there are a number of different ways of labeling it without looking like a snob in the process

Okay lang sa akin ang entertainment for entertainment’s sake, pero hanggang doon na lamang ba tayo?

With the kababawan thing settled, I think we can move on to Lea’s challenge. Again, I totally agree with what she’s advocating. She’s urging us all to examine the entertainment that we consume and broaden our choices–striking a balance between the purely entertaining with the critical form of entertainment. There’s so much the world of entertainment has to offer and yet some people would gravitate towards what’s accessible or comfortable to them. This continued consumption of the same content creates some kind of fanaticism in some people.

Hypothetical example: a Game of Thrones fan may scoff at the idea that Kalye Serye is quality entertainment because it looks cheaply produced and only follows the usual teleserye tropes (typified as elitists). Or, the other way around, a Kalye Serye fan may dismiss Game of Thrones as entertainment because of its heavy atmosphere and its abundance of secondary and tertiary characters (typified as anti-intellectuals). Sadly, these stubborn perspectives of consuming entertainment are the root of the DIVIDE. A lot of the misunderstandings and rage come from a lack of exposure and effort in understanding other forms of available entertainment. Which I find totally absurd because we live in a time where a variety of entertainment is readily available in our fingertips (read: the internet).

Here’s an analogy: why not think of entertainment as food? Food comes in different forms, styles and cuisines. Some are carefully crafted; with every ingredient chosen with purpose. While some are made with the intention of being sold in a massive scale. But regardless of how it is prepared, we eat food to satisfy our hunger. That’s its most basic function. However, food has the potential to be more than just tummy fill. Us FIlipinos, we all know  it doesn’t stop there. Food can lift our mood, can enrich moments or be our expression of love. We carefully scour for the next big restaurant and share our experience on social media. We’re not afraid to expand our palate when it comes to food.

Entertainment also works like that. Be it a carefully-crafted niche one-man play or a run-of-the-mill telenovela, all forms of entertainment are created to provide enjoyment. Listening to Broken Social Scene or the Diary Ng Panget soundtrack can lift your mood. Watching Game of Thrones or Kalye Serye can be THE water cooler topic with your office mates. Maybe if we can be more open to try out other forms of entertainment and enjoy them by their own merits, then maybe we can narrow that DIVIDE.

The Trouble In Labelling Entertainment as “Mababaw”