Friday, September 11, 2015

52. #AlDub is a Script from Shakespeare

I've caught two clips on YouTube of this phenomenal #AlDub segment of Eat Bulaga, Philippine TV's long-time running lunch show, and I can understand why its viewership is approximating a Pacquiao fight. It's Romeo and Juliet. It bears the theme of prohibited love like Hemingway's Farewell to Arms or Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera: two lovers separated by time, distance, or conflicting social interests fighting for their love. Shakespeare sets it up against the family wars of his time, and breaks it with a stupid mistake of a messenger that ended in the lovers committing suicide one after the other. Hemingway puts it in the backdrop of World War I, and it ends in the death of the lady after giving birth. Marquez frames it in South America as the young lovers wait till they get old to fulfill their love on a steamship going back and forth a South American river. The highlight of the story is Marquez's description of two old people making love. Yet, with the comedic genius of Eat Bulaga's talents, this tired old theme gets a social media twist in #AlDub with live audience and online internet participation to boot. They made the plot as simple as possible. Boy (Al) meets girl (Yaya Dub), but only on camera. Grandmother (Lola Nidora) objects and sets the obstacles and conditions for the two to meet and fulfill their promise of love. And with that simple plot, they've milked it of all its dramatic and comic possibilities. People are hooked.  Children think the story is true and they hate Lola Nidora with all their souls. The Inquirer even made it a banner headline -- an implied admission that fictitious tales roam their front pages. #AlDub is trending topic on Twitter and Facebook. Office workers, household folks, drivers, managers, doctors, lawyers, and industry leaders are talking about it. Of late, concerns are being raised that the phenomenon might be used to propel a politician's career. Yet, this will end soon for sure. I'm betting it should go the way of Marquez. To paraphrase him as he wrote in Love in the Time of Cholera, that when a woman decides to love a man, "there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.” I can imagine how Philippine TV and internet is going to break out into ecstasy when it happens. Eat Bulaga has everyone itching for this ending; it better fulfill that itch. For if it goes  the way of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet or Hemingway's Farewell to Arms where the lovers die, we might have a revolution.

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