How can you compel people to watch a TV show about cheating and not leave them feeling cheated?
Ask the creators of Ika-6 na Utos, the GMA afternoon soap that has been ravaging the ratings since it aired last December. These guys seem to have found the right formula in making a well-worn theme interesting.
It isn't just its cast of decorated actors—Gabby Concepcion, Sunshine Dizon, and Angelika Dela Cruz—that makes it a must-watch. Those names are automatic draws, yes, but the show's true appeal lies in its execution, notably pitting strong young matriarchs, Sunshine (Emma) and Ryza Cenon (Georgia), against each other...in over-the-top confrontations that have become the hit teleserye's signature move.
Even award-winning director Joey Reyes can't stop gushing over the show's hypnotic pull.
He wrote: "Say what you will but for me this is the BEST SHOW on commercial TV today!! High unabashed, unapologetic CAMP that brings flashbacks of the 70s sensibilities of Elwood Perez & Joey Gosiengfiao! Screw subtlety! Catfights galore!"
Although Direk Joey may only be one of few to openly praise something critics would normally frown upon, we get why Ika-6 na Utos is fast becoming everyone's not-so-secret ultimate guilty pleasure today.
The ingredients that make it one are everywhere:
a) The overall banality of the afternoon drama is weirdly fascinating
b) You can't help but watch it
c) This is something you won't openly admit to enjoying
But then again scratch indicator C: Go ahead and proclaim your love for this unapologetically off-the-wall drama; everyone has a right to not feel guilty about what they like, after all.
We admit, we're mesmerized by how those gloriously inventive tussles between Georgia and Emma—or any character for that matter—are choreographed. You know they're coming and yet the showrunners are clever enough to introduce elements that will surprise us and keep us glued.
You know a TV fight worth-replaying over and over, for example, is about to go down when you start hearing that familiar instrumental—seemingly, Ika-6 na Utos' official catfight song—in the background. Setting is somewhat irrelevant as our favorite main attractions always manage to bump into each other at some random location and treat it like it's their MGM Grand.
Even GMA Network's YouTube channel plays its part in hyping these bouts, calling them "Burol brawl," "Bakbakan sa damuhan," and "Hugasan ang kaluluwa ni Georgia!" and putting the oomph in online streaming.
These intense skirmishes go beyond mere slapping and lethal exchanges of harsh words, of course. Punches will be thrown. Bodies will fly, punctuated with balletic, if not goofy, stunts reminiscent of The Jerry Springer Show and TV's Funniest Home Videos. That the actresses involved in these scuffles fully commit to these scenes is what's admirable. Sunshine actually suffered a muscle tear on her arm while filming one of these moments. Such dedication will have FPJ rolling in his grave in pride.
But what stood out from the theatrical absurdity of Ika-6 na Utos is its shameless "weaponizing" of everyday items—from the world-renowned balot to colorful nerf guns and stability balls. Everything can deliver a good hurtin' in this show. These clips have proven to be nothing short of TV gold with the way they took over social media.
As Direk Joey puts it, "So cheesy that it becomes deliciously creamy!"
Netizens aren't shy sharing their two cents about Ika-6 na Utos, which has been the subject of ridicule for the most part. But in the words of The Joker, why (does it have to be) so serious?
ABS-CBN's Wildflower may have caught our attention with that priceless Mexican Standoff scene between the Ardientes, but it is still a far second compared with the unbridled glee Ika-6 na Utos bestows upon us daily.
So we say, let it bask in its campy gloriousness for as long as it can. We can always deal with far more harrowing real-life hassles later.