The “showbiz-ness” of it all

I was a captive audience earlier as my parents watch the usual Sunday entertainment program. While I was a passive most of the times, I just don’t get the business of show business. Or as the Pinoys call it, “showbiz.” The sheer hilarity and dumbness of some of the questions can make anyone barf in disgust and in the absurdity of it all.

Unlike in the US where people can hump like mad in their television shows (hello, Game of Thrones?) and go out into the real world like civilized, professional people with their separate private lives, Pinoys have a tendency to mix up make believe and reality about the respective personal lives of their favorite local actors and actresses. If the local fandom is to be believed, people who hump on-screen should also hump off-screen, and preferably live happily ever after too. This is a common practice among teenaged “love teams” where kids as young as fifteen are paired off to a potential reel-life sweet heart.

Thus, we have questions like “Handa ka na bang buksan ang puso mo para kay….? (Are you ready to open your heart to…?)” being asked to a snotty-nosed sixteen year old girl; or questions like “Sino kila actor A or actor B ang mas mahal mo ngayon? (Who do you love more, Actor A or Actor B?”) asked to another actress who is far from being in a relationship between any of the two guys; and yes, my favorite stupid question, “Nanliligaw ba sa iyo si….(Is ____ courting you?)” asked to a blushing girl. It’s cloying, annoying, stupid and fake — a product of the studio-hype that builds love teams (yes, that’s still common in local showbiz) and exterminates relationships not meant for public consumption. Plus, in Filipino culture — you really don’t ask a girl if a particular guy is courting her, you wait for the guy to make his intentions known instead.

When the young starlet was asked this question earlier, she blushed and answered that she’d rather wait for the guy to do the confirming. Of course, nothing reeks of desperation than being the girl who announced supposed courtship.

This propensity to pair off people and expect them to fall in love for real usually leads to broke hearts, irreparable broken friendships and usually former friends faking civility just for the sake of a TV show. And more importantly, it leads to very stupid questions being asked on national television.

The offshoot of stupid questions being asked is of course, the usual fake answers that you can see right through. Answers like, “friends lang kami (we’re just friends)” — this answer will eventually morph to “yes, we dated” after the break-up a few months after.

The channel I also watch has this weird habit of pairing people off, never mind if the lead actress was engaged and the lead actor is happily married for x number of years — you can pretty bet that the spin doctors will find a lovesick angle on their working relationship. Oh yes, the controversies do bring further publicity and buzz but can’t you guys do TV shows and drama professionally and without the need for the cheap angle?

Fed up on hearing the same answers to the same questions, I fled to the safety of my bedroom. I realized that it’s a blessing I didn’t pursue my stint as a showbiz reporter many years ago. After a two-month stint writing for the most famous showbiz rag in the Philippines, my internship ended and I didn’t see any reason to pursue it further. Just imagine the exciting possibilities should I ended up being assigned to writing about these young lovers and their reel and real love life.

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