"AlDub" is the name of the love team comprised of actor Alden Richards (real name Richard Faulkerson Jr.) and Yaya Dub, a fictional character (whose name stands for Divina Ursula Bukbukova Smash, which is just a play on the name of the popular app Dubsmash) played by internet sensation Maine Mendoza. These two can be seen on the renowned noontime show on GMA7, Eat Bulaga! on the portion of the "Juan For All, All For Juan" segment called "KalyeSerye."
How did this all start?
On the "Juan For All, All For Juan" segment, the show is split into two screens: on the left, the Dabarkads (hosts) such as Vic Sotto, Tito Sotto, and Joey de Leon, are shown live from their studio in Broadway; and on the right, comedians Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo, and Paolo Ballesteros, and recently added Maine Mendoza are shown, visiting various barangays in Metro Manila, giving away sponsored goodies to people in need. To make their segment more interesting, the comedians on the road play various comical characters in what they call "KalyeSerye" such as Lola Nidora (played by Bayola). Mendoza's character, Yaya Dub, is the assistant of Lola Nidora, only communicates through dubbing popular songs and lines from various media, and is known to be snobbish and haughty in the way she acts.
This had been going on for a couple weeks, until one fateful day, July 16, 2015 (yes, I know the exact date, shut up). Mendoza broke character upon seeing Richards on the other screen--she smiled brightly and acted all kilig (and honestly, who can blame her? I would've reacted the same way). This accidental character break prompted the writers and producers of Eat Bulaga! to create a pairing out of the two, and from there, the couple became a hit.
How does this work? I'm so confused?!
Don't worry; I was too, at first. Basically how it works is, Richards is in the Broadway studio on the left side of the split screen, while Mendoza (and Bayola, etc.) are going door-to-door on the right side of the split screen. They don't talk to each other directly. Instead they talk through dubbing and lip syncing a la Dubsmash, and through handwritten notes on clipboards that they just show to one another. Even though their love story is told in a slightly unconventional way, they still got the country hooked.
Despite what many claim, none of this is scripted. Sure, they have guidelines from the writers on how the story should flow in an episode, but the things they actually say--or in this case, Dubsmash and write--are all improvised and spontaneous. That goes for the other comedians (who all play various characters) as well. But, the main goal of this segment is ultimately, to help people and bring them joy, and occasionally poke fun at the hackneyed tropes that can be seen in television soap operas in the Philippines.
Can you bring me up to speed on their story, please?
It would take a while to give a full, detailed recount of their story so far, so I recommend going on YouTube and searching for the episodes and I'm sure you'll find them all.
But, long story short, it was really accidental at first. However, the producers saw the potential during that July 16 episode and began from there. At first, it was all in fun, flirting with each other through the split screen and being joked and teased by the other hosts. Eventually, an actual story was born, where Lola Nidora (Bayola) at first forbade them from seeing each other, saying that they can only see each other "sa tamang panahon" (at the right time).
The first time they ever saw each other was almost two months after they first "met," in the Broadway studio during the Bulaga Pa More contest between the two. They were walking towards each other in a hallway when a wall dropped down between them just as they were approaching each other. They saw each other again the following week, this time as part of a bit where they were both kidnapped by DuhRizz (also played by Bayola) and they were allowed to see each other briefly in a parking lot.
The next time they saw each other was during the following week, on their first official date. There were rules given by Lola Nidora (Bayola) that they should follow and several matchmaker questions they had to answer before they were able to even see each other, and even then, their date was cut quite short. Even so, this episode was well received and broke records, not just in ratings but also in tweet count. This record was broken yet another week later, during their second date, where Richards went over to their mansion; this episode trended worldwide with over 25 million tweets.
Currently, their last meeting was the week following that, where Mendoza and the Lolas (Bayola and Manalo) visited Broadway, and they again met and talked completely out of character. Recent episodes have them doing Dubsmash bits together and singing duets, including one of Richards' own hit singles "Wish I May." An event is coming up on October 24, 2015, where they would see each other at a live event at the Philippine Arena, and over 50,000 are predicted to be in attendance. I honestly don't know how they intend for the story to pan out over the upcoming episodes, but it's surely going to be a hit, what with the current success the tandem is receiving.
To be honest, it's difficult to pinpoint what it is exactly that made these two a phenomenal success. One factor could be the spontaneity of it, that they don't really follow a script and just act in any way they feel appropriate. It also helps that they have Bayola, Manalo, and Ballesteros, who are witty and good improvisers. Another could be the use of pop culture references to capture the attention of their audiences. And let's be real, having two good-looking people who aren't ashamed to make funny faces on live television also helps add charm to it.
Some people like it because apparently, they're relatable, especially for Filipinos who have loved ones in far places. Their split screen interaction is similar to the way many Filipinos interact with their loved ones in other provinces or countries via videocalling services like Skype and FaceTime. Another appealing factor of the KalyeSerye is that it teaches traditional Filipino values of family, courtship, and chastity--although I don't necessarily agree with every single thing they say about these things, it doesn't hurt that they use their popularity to send good messages to the impressionable youth who mostly make up their audience.
What I think is the real kicker that drives audiences crazy about these two, though, is the mystery--the "will they or won't they" thought lingering at the back of people's minds when they watch their interactions on TV. Sometimes, when you watch them, you'll think that oh, that's obviously scripted, they're doing it all for show and publicity. But another, more romantic part of you might think that maybe their unorthodox, accidental romance might be for real. There's certainly evidence to prove that--some body language experts have commented that their interactions with each other show true feelings, they call each other by their actual nicknames now and not just by their stage names, and there was this one, mysterious tweet sent by Richards in August which he quickly deleted which said, "I think I'm falling for MM" that had fans everywhere reeling. Whether or not those things have you convinced, these still make them a love team unique from the rest. I think it's exactly this uniqueness that has made them so popular that they have multiple commercial deals, worldwide records, a record and film deal, songs written about them, social media awards, and a sold out show at the largest arena in the country.
Obviously, this pairing isn't for everyone. Yeah, they're really popular right now and all, but this kind of love story might not just be every single person's cup of tea, and that's okay. Sometimes, things just sneak up on you and the next thing you know you're hooked, which is exactly what happened to me with this. I just accidentally saw an episode on TV once, and now I watch it as soon as someone uploads the episode of the day on YouTube that night (because sadly, I cannot watch it live due to school). But, if you are looking for a hilarious, stress-relieving, and kilig-inducing couple to root for, join the #AlDubNation!
- Isis Evangelista
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