Well, it was bound to happen ... sooner or later. And when it did, it came from left field, leaving everyone shell-shocked and smiling. Almost everyone, that is.
Just my ten cents worth: Alden Richards should have been a big star by now.
Why? Let me count my take.
First, he has the looks. Better yet, he has the height. Some have the looks but not the tindig to distinguish them from those destined to do supporting roles. Not that being vertically-challenged is a curse to those who intend to pursue careers in front of the camera (think Danny DeVito ... and, no, I will not name the local counterparts lest I be physically attacked by their fans because I called their idols punggok) but it helps. It helps that the suit or the gown falls well on a tall lean body. And with the case of Mr. Richards, there are those dimples.
I mean ... who in the world can resist those dimples? There is something on the verge of weird as to how indentations in the cheeks can generate so much swooning and the loosening of underwear garters.
Second, he knows his camera. Oh, yes: Alden knows his camera very well ... and it has got nothing to do with his winning Mister Laguna sometime in the earlier part of this century. The point is that when he does those little waves on tv ... there is a collective sigh from womankind (and the wanna be womankind as well) because they have been charmed. That's it: he is charming. He is not only good looking but he is charming. Which leads me to the third point ...
Third, he is well-mannered. There is something of that gentleman in him that brings back the virtues of being decent and educated. After all, the young man is schooled --- and it shows not only in his demeanor but the fact that it is not a put-on. As contrasted with a great number of his peers, Mr. Richards is both old school and up to date. He is old school since he resembles the matinee idols of the past --- when good grooming, right conduct and respect for women mattered a lot. He is up to date because he can still cut across the young audience while wanting to be mothered by anyone above thirty years of age.
And lastly ... the kid's got what it takes. He's got talent --- and it completely befuddles/confuses/discombobulates me as to why his mother studio never made the most of what he has to turn him into a much bigger star than he has become in the here and now. What's that? It only took Eat Bulaga two months to turn him into the Bae ng Bayan where he has been around for ... uh, years?
This was the boy eliminated from a talent search but was brought back to life by the network's management. But then again, the potential was not maximized as he was relegated to the more-of-the-same roles that yielded just-so-so reaction from audiences. The sad part is that Mr. Richards could have been the next big thing in that network --- alongside Dingdong Dantes and the other leading men who have been in the forefront. Sad to say, it took an "accident" like co-hosting in their iconic noontime show to reveal to the world that, "Hey, this kid is not just a pretty face. He sells. "
Yes, he sells so much that now everybody is falling all over each other to get a piece of him.
The Universe has a way of providing its own sweet time.
That included Maine Mendoza, now known to the rest of the planet --- including competition --- as the Phenomenal Yaya Dub.
OK, I never got the thrill of Dubsmashing --- but then kanya-kanyang trip so let that be so. If someone wants to go miming quotable quotes or memorable lines from movies, eh, di fine. But ever since Ms. Mendoza started dubsmashing scenes immortalized by no less than the unchallenged Massacre Movie Queen herself, specifically in the Rono film, Feng Shui, she had people hitting her YouTube uploads by the millions.
The difference between Ms. Mendoza and about 90% of the wannabe-artistas out there is that she does not need it. Come to think of it, we are not even sure if this is what she really wanted since the girl is a graduate of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the De la Salle College of Saint Benilde. Get this: she did her apprenticeship in a food establishment in upstate New York City, OK? Like the rest of the graduates of SHRM of CSB, she isn't out there to cook burgers or doughnuts.
Her rise to fame is accidental and she seems to be having fun. Her addition to Eat Bulaga's roster of Kabarkads is a case of absolutely perfect timing. When she assumed the character of Yaya Dub, much harassed caregiver to Wally Bayola's hilarious Lola Nidora, that whole gang with Jose Manalo and master chameleon Paolo Ballesteros raiding the baranggays of Manila exploded with a new adrenaline overload.
Yaya Dub and Lola Nidora were enough to generate fresh interest in the 36 year old noontime show but the inclusion of Alden and Yaya Dub's lampungan and kiligan literally brought the house down ... and the ratings flying off the roof. Just at the time when people thought Eat Bulaga was already showing wear and tear and audience fatigue .... WHAPPAK! Suddenly the planet reversed its somewhat predictable orbit and nobody was prepared for the phenomenon that has become of Aldub.
On their first monthsary, Maine Mendoza found herself on the banner photo of the front page of Philippine Daily Inquirer right above the headline. Alden Richards is featured in Ricky Lo's column on the same day occupying an entire page of pure dimple power. And people are categorically enthralled by a simulated Romeo and Juliet kalyeserye because of so many reasons.
Others find this banal, cheap and shallow but then the diversity of perception comes from how you look at pop cult phenomena and not how they stand in one's personal taste or order of priorities.
The Aldub phenomenon is taking place because it is happening at the right time and at the right place.
The common reason is that they give good vibes. They herald the return to innocence. To fun. To good clean fun that does not involve insulting or downgrading anyone for looks, reputations or whatever. They are a breath of recycled fresh air because they provide the same template of Cinderella's motif, the Senyorito in the dashing Alden and the portrayal of a rubber-faced yaya in Maine. In other words, they are a reaction to the negativity that is surrounding media --- with endless news of dishonesty and corruption in politics, the game of thrones in the presidential elections of 2016 and the unforgivable traffic leaving residents of the Metro in a state of nervous breakdown.
Aldub exploded into the phenomenon that it is ... because it provided good and clean respite from the polluted air we inhale by reading the news ... or simply going out of our houses.
People may think it is so mababaw to be fascinated by all these ... but give it some thought and you know it is not.
Nothing happens by accident ... including pop cult sensations. Everything is a response to a much larger issue.
And all the audience really wanted was a return to good old falling in love.