“I’ve seen the 50 Shades of Gray Theory. Ang Ganda.” My friend looks beyond the horizon, nodding her head as she remembers The Film Theorists’ take on the movie. Yes, it was profound.
“Right? Right?” I beam; too wide-eyed for someone having a conversation over 50 Shades of Gray. Our friends look at us begrudgingly.
“You know, what if all love stories are actually like that?”
And what if indeed.
Love Teams are the bread and butter of the local entertainment industry. Even though some are at the stage of denial, all Filipinos have a favorite on-screen couple, are following a TV series that always promotes a love team, or ship celebrities as canon partners. And whether you’re a Kapamilya, Kapuso, or Ka-TV5, you can’t deny that the most popular love team of today is Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza (more popularly known as Yaya Dub), aka AlDub of Eat Bulaga’s KalyeSerye.
But who are these people? And what is this Love Team?
To begin with, Alden Richards was already part of a noontime show, a regular TV celebrity. He has done a few modeling and commercial jobs, and has even done some mall or grocery – my mother swears he went to Unimec Guadalupe once – tours. So, to be fair, he was already well-to-do before Maine Mendoza came to the picture.
Now, who is Maine Mendoza? Before she was dubbed Dubsmash Queen, testimonials say (yes, I mean that video clip they played during Tamang Panahon) that Maine used to be shy, liked to stay inside her room with her laptop. In the same testimonial, she also claimed that she didn’t sing nor dance. But through all these, she managed to come out of her cocoon using a lip synching application, making herself oh so present in the World Wide Web. Hence, Dubsmash Queen. So, to be fair, before all the glamor that befell on her, her background shows that was insecure — the perfect subject for Thought Reform or Indoctrination.
For those who haven’t seen The Film Theorists’ 50 Shades of Gray clip, Indoctrination is basically an 8-step method of cult recruitment. With my good friend’s idea, let’s see if this Aldub Love Story may not be what it seems.
I. Invitation to a Non-Threatening Event
The first step to gain someone’s trust is to get them to say “Yes.” In Maine’s case, she claimed not being able to sing nor dance, but somehow, somewhere along the way, she did both – just with the singing part a little bit too silent and too animated.
I think with this video, we can safely assume that she said yes to the producers.
II. Love Bomb
Love bombing means showing someone incredible affection, giving unnecessary but very thoughtful gifts, or basically offering a very nice and extravagant bribe. Even though Maine, as a young girl, was shy and a bit introverted, she dreamt of becoming a TV celebrity. She said so herself.
In the AlDub Kalyeserye, Love Bombs come in the form of the celebrity alalay kit, costumes and makeup included, talent fees, and, of course, exposure.
III. Dangling the Prize
Now, this one is pretty clear. In my other post, I talked about how the Grecian Urn theory can be applied to the KalyeSerye and how “dangling the prize” is a great hook to the viewers. But here, let’s examine “dangling the prize” from a different light.
It is pretty clear that the prize for Maine is Alden. He is after all her chance to be part of a Love Team. Obviously, the show has given both of them a tough time to be together and part of a couple. You see, Love Team is a device to get around the entertainment industry. Once you get a partner and become an on-screen couple, TV stations promote you better because – again – Love Teams are what the masses want. Prize, at first, meant Alden; but the ultimate prize, really, is stardom. To be a celebrity.
IV. Extracting an Agreement
According to my source, “after introducing the price, [the cult, in this case the noon time show,] gets you to agree that you want it.” I think it’s pretty clear that this is really, literally, the contract part.
V. Shutting down the dissent by threatening to withhold the prize and VI. Establishment of Guilt Now, these might be too extreme for afternoon TV, so I’m going to say this never happened. *wink wink*
VII. Carrot and Stick
For the unfamiliar, Carrot and Stick is an age old method used by those who teach. The carrot, essentially, is a prize for students who answer correctly, while the stick is the punishment for those who answer incorrectly. Once, the carrot and stick were real and literal, but over time, people figured that prizes could vary and that this method could be subtle.
In the KalyeSerye, the teacher is Lola Nidora (Wally Bayola). This character is the ultimate judge whether to give Maine the carrot or the stick. Remember the conditions instilled before Alden and Maine could meet? Remember all those silly questions, answers, and tasks they need to complete before Tamang Panahon (lit. Right Time)? Those are the tests given by Teacher Nidora.
VIII. Control of Identity, Information, and Environment
Now, there is an extreme to this stage wherein the subject is isolated from her family, friends, and all relationships from her “old life” made outside the cult. But in light of the KalyeSerye, this simply means that Maine is to be under the care of the show. The tapings, the guestings, and all the media exposure she has achieved after undergoing these Indoctrination stages are actually taking her from her “old life.” She has become a member, changed anew, and fully indoctrinated.
Congratulations for being indoctrinated to the local entertainment industry, Maine Mendoza Yaya Dub.