03 May 2012

PBB Unlimited v Teen Edition

It is not easy to make something of PBB Teen Edition; but it is fun to watch. Watching PBB, whatever the edition, is not unlike watching fish through the glass of an aquarium. As everyone knows, watching fish swim round and round inside the confines of an aquarium can not only be fascinating but downright hypnotic.

With the Teen Edition, I do not enjoy the benefit of the 24/7 broadcast. Thus, I do not – or at least, as yet – enjoy the same sort of affinity that I somehow felt for the likes of Slater, Pamu, Biggel, Paco and everyone else in the Unlimited Edition.

The advantage of watching the 24/7 broadcast is that you get to see the housemates at their most unguarded and, ultimately, most vulnerable. There was Slater with puffy eyebags, yawning all the time from either exhaustion or lack of sleep.

What about Carlo farting right into Biggel’s face like a silly child, drawing the funniest expressions of disgust from the housemates present in the bedroom? From where did Pamu draw all her energy? When everyone else was trying to snatch some shuteye, there she was still dancing the hours away!

In contrast, with the Teen Edition, I only get to see the canned broadcast late at night. Thematically, this edition is – naturally – so much more shallow. Still, it is no more than what one can expect of teenagers.

In the beginning, I was not sure at all that there was enough in it to sustain my interest; and, indeed, I sometimes felt that my brain would atrophy from watching.

The kids scream a lot. They fight a lot. They flirt a lot. They laugh a lot. They gossip a lot. Pretty much like what other teenagers do anywhere and everywhere else.

One wonders if they get anything done at all; and Kuya, for one, has had to put his foot down on more than one occasion because his assigned tasks were only being treated half-heartedly.

As the days – or, rather, the nights – went by and the personalities started to emerge, I inevitably started to get into groove of the show.

There is Myrtle who is pretty, smart, kind and so out-of-this-world weird. I have heard of this thing that the kids themselves invented which is called cosplay. I do not like it and think it is so not of this world. How an apparently smart kid like Myrtle would want to detach herself from reality by taking on the look of an animé character, you explain to me!

Then there is the outspoken Claire from Makati who cried and pouted to the death in the early days, made a meal of her growing up without a father and picked a fight whenever she could with Myrtle over the attentions of the young testosterone-rich hunk Yves. Her outspokenness was enough to make one viewer create a Facebook page called ‘I Hate Claire.’ Imagine.

Surprisingly, among the girls, the apparently strongest character and most mature is this tiny 13-year old Clodet who, it must be said, was how PGMA must have looked like in her teens. When she talks, the others – even the boys – listen; and on more than one occasion has been sought for her ‘wisdom.’

Among the boys, airtime is dominated by the Fil-New Zealander Kit. He is always trying to annoy somebody and probably spends most of his waking time flirting with Claire – in the beginning – and then Myrtle. For such a big lad, he is also such a crybaby.

Then, there is the Fil-Brit Ryan – a football player who figured in an almost-fatal vehicular accident – whose personal mission inside Kuya’s house seemed to be to prove that he had never heard of the word ‘serious.’ I knew that there was more to all the attention-seeking than met the eye. When his ageing father initially declined to come to Kuya’s house to help with the construction of a miniature house, and Ryan broke into tears, I understood.

I am happy that Roy, a construction worker from Bicol, is starting to get some airtime. Lack of this can be fatal, as Vince discovered. The latter hardly ever spoke; and so did not get noticed. It was hardly surprising that he was the first evictee, even if Toni Gonzaga announced that ‘Why Vince’ trended on Twitter on the first eviction night.

If you do not talk, you do not create a story. If you have no story, you do not get airtime. If you do not get airtime, people forget you. It is as simple as that.

To get back to Roy, I am glad that he was chosen to lead one of the groups that were tasked to construct miniature houses. At the confession room with Kuya early in the show, Roy was candid enough to tell Kuya that he felt overwhelmed by having to live in the same house with fellow teenagers who obviously came from well-to-do familial backgrounds. Naturally, I empathized with the underdog.

Oh well, it is still an unfolding story and truth be told, it is early days yet. I am starting to realize that the fun that I am now deriving from watching the show is the same fun that made me stay for so long in a school littered with teenagers.

For all their pettiness, their emotional instability and their quickness to make a mountain out of a molehill, teenagers are still indeed a lot of fun! That is why teachers do not grow old. Being surrounded by teenagers and listening to their silliness keeps them forever young!

Albeit, occasionally while watching the show, I feel this almost overwhelming urge to get into Kuya’s house and knock somebody’s forehead. Pretty much how any other teacher will feel when some rascal oversteps the limit.

Not that I have to make a choice, but if at all I will probably say that I like the Unlimited Edition just a hair more than the Teen Edition. Not only did I get to ‘know’ the housemates better because of the 24/7 broadcast which my cable provider does not now provide, I feel that the personalities in the Unlimited Edition were kinder and, thus, more pleasant.

The positivism among the housemates made for better teamwork and even the competitions that Kuya set up for them seldom boiled over into outright conflicts. There were one or two rogue personalities; but by an large the group was made up of levelheaded people.

Of course, it can be said that the Teen Edition is made up of younger housemates. My guess, however, is that except for the really young housemates like Clodet, the teenagers in Kuya’s house will still be pretty much like what they are now when they become adults. Those who watched the Unlimited Edition will know that Biggel was merely nineteen when he entered the house; yet even then, he was remarkably pleasant.

Then, there is the Unlimited Edition Big Winner Jan Slater Young who is hopping from one project into another in the entertainment world so soon after the Big Night. No small thanks, I would surmise, to his having a most agreeable personality.

We will all see, I guess. I do not mind the feisty characters in the Teen Edition; but as each will discover even long after they leave PBB House, there can be a lot more to be had from life if one learns to get along with others than to perpetually be in conflict not only with others but – ultimately – with one’s own self.

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