Monday, July 14, 2008

"Showbiz Ako Ngayon!"

In the 70's through the 80's there was John and Marsha, until Dolphy the laughing lothario of primetime television became embroiled in scandalous affairs that prompted even the church to question his worth to stand symbolic of the father that we all look up to, and while his fall from grace was later bestowed the forgiveness of a people infected with short-term memory, the death of Nida Blanca prevented all hope of reconciliation for the Puruntong couple in the teevee screens. John did make a television comeback but life, and the ratings were never the same again without Marsha. The '80's saw the tandem of Martin and Pops inherit the mantle albeit in a somewhat different genre, and with a major twist that saw the romantic script being played out in real life, leading to marriage, but ending in annulment.

More than two decades later, the emerging King and Queen of Philippine television are an odd-couple. Kris and Boy will never be an item for the loveteam-hungry fans, and thank God for that because , as everyone knows, only his name makes Boy a boy and nothing else will. Unlike Martin and Pops, or John and Marsha Boy and Kris can never play man and wife. To begin with, Boy was never a man. But together they make for a powerful tandem that could hold the masses in the palm of their hand and influence the way the people think, the food they eat, and who they vote for during the elections.

The confession of Kris, of getting STD from Joey and the quarrel with James Yap over his allegedly having dangerous liaisons with an attendant at Vicky Belo's clinic became national events. Meantime, Boy Abunda in modulated voice would continue to trump up the latest showbiz gossip at The Buzz and people pay attention more intently than they ever would at Sunday's gospel.

We have to understand that showbusiness is not the right place to expect moral sobriety. But at the same time it is quite disappointing to realize how far we have regressed instead of moving forward in our understanding of what entertainment is all about. The glory days of John and Marsha represented what could be considered as a lost period in pop culture in which the televiewers still possessed the sensibilities to appreciate a brilliant interplay of good acting and a good script in the comic portrayal of wholesome family values that espouses the virtues of marriage and parenthood while reinforcing the greater importance of happiness over money.

When John and Marsha faded from the scene, and Martin and Pops took over, entertainment value slowly took precedence over substance but at least we have a tandem that can truly deliver the entertainment that we crave for. They cannot act or become the role model that John and Marsha used to be at one point but Martin and Pops sure as hell can sing.

In contrast, Kris and Boy have little to offer acting-wise or in entertainment value, and even less so in terms of substance. And they don't even fit the image of role models who can at least contribute something to the betterment of society, or the education of the masses. In many ways, they actually represent the opposite. Kris never seemed willing to outgrow the ebullient, if prepubescent tendencies that once upon a time were endearing but not anymore when being flaunted by a woman not far from approaching menopausal stage which is what she is today. As for Boy Abunda, it is a sheer marvel to behold that one with neither the looks nor the talent can find a niche in showbusiness and even get paid millions just like that. Exposing scandalous affairs should not count for talent, but that is all he does. In fact not a few people actually find his antics completely annoying rather than entertaining.

But then again, maybe his limitations are the very attributes that make Boy Abunda appealing to the masses, perhaps by just being himself he is personifying the ambitions of the average joe that even without the looks or the slightest capability to entertain, anyone can hit paydirt by just being at the right place at the right time. Meantime, Boy and Kris, already the multi-millionaires that they are will continue to make more money because we just can't help but to keep watching them.

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