In one of the better intentational articles about the #AlDub phenomenon in the Philippines, the Singapore Straits Times headlines “Old Style Love Story has Modern Philippines in a Tizzy.” . The high point of the article includes some excellent observations:
Sociologists and marketers are now poring over this pop culture phenomenon to find out what makes it tick.
Experts say AlDub has been a huge success because it resonates with Filipinos pining for a return to old-fashioned values as a counter-balance to the crass culture that has become pervasive online.
The loose plot is based on the now anachronistic Filipino tradition of “pamanhikan” – a long, supervised courtship – and all the virtues that go with it: Respect for elders, loyalty, fidelity and a well-earned reward for hard work.
Beyond the storyline, the two lead stars appeal to millions because they come off as believable bearers of the values their show represents, unlike many other celebrities, who are regarded as caricatures of excess and superficiality.
“They are redefining what it means to be a celebrity: Not snobbish, but kinder, more approachable, more sincere, and morally upright citizens,” said TV writer Elmer Gatchalian.
I think “believable bearers of the values the show represents” is right on target. There is a confluence of the show’s values and what Maine and Alden seem to actually be. The fact that Maine rose up through social media outside the Philippine star machine adds to that impression. And Wally Bayola’s Lola Nidora is the perfect foil and driving force for it.
The more I think about it, the more I think that Wally and Lola Nidora may be the key to keeping this phenomenon on track. I wonder how much of what Lola Nidora does is coming from Wally, and how much from the Eat Bulaga writers? In other words, who is truly the author of Lola Nidora? My impression is that the writers provide an outline, suggestions, major plot points, but Wally adlibs a lot of it. We’ll see. Meantime — congrats on more international recognition.