Last August 6 at 4 p.m., we caught the new magazine show, “Mutya ng Masa,” on ABS-CBN, with Doris Bigornia hosting. As the new program’s title indicates, the gutsy host is being built up as a street-smart, straight-talking personality, as opposed to the usual “sweet” or perky lookers that the TV industry usually foists on viewers. We find that stereotype boring so we welcome the alternative that “Mutya ng Masa” is providing.
Truth to tell, the innovation isn’t all that new because some years ago, GMA 7 unveiled its own masa-oriented host, Susan Enriquez. We remember similarly welcoming Susan’s arrival on the TV scene because she represented a big sector that, in our view, deserved greater representation.
Of late, however, we note that Susan has been altering her signature masa look, and now comes off as more made-up, coiffed and well-dressed than before. That’s the way that she projects herself on her morning newscast, “Kape at Balita,” which she anchors with Mariz Umali. We haven’t really warmed up to Susan’s new look, because it makes her come off as less her own person and more like most everybody else on the tube—but then, that’s her call.
In any case, Susan’s recent “image tweak” makes Doris’ arrival all the more unique, and the gutsy new host is starting to make her own mark on the TV scene.
Last Tuesday’s telecast had her visiting the informal maritime recruitment area on TM Kalaw Street in Manila, where hundreds of sailors regularly converge to firm up their new service contracts.
She was in her masa element as she talked to the sailors, some of whom had to come up with “sidelines” to make money from while they awaited their next stint at sea.
One of them was a masseur who plied his trade on the benches at the park, and yearned to make enough money to buy a massage chair.
Well, lo and behold! The program, which had obviously preinterviewed him, gifted him with the prized contraption! Naturally, the masseur was ecstatic —and the show won “pogi points” for being sensitive to what the people it featured dreamed of having.
In this sense, the new program is coming off sort of like a wish-fulfillment show like “Wish Ko Lang”—except that it surprises the recipients of its gifts with its “instant delivery system.”
Aside from making “ordinary” people’s wishes come true, the new program bothers to learn about how they think and feel about their lives, problems, aspirations and prospects. So, all told, it provides a welcome mix of information, opinion and wish-fulfillment “surprises” that click with viewers, masa or otherwise.
Last Tuesday’s telecast ended on an emotional high when another sailor was interviewed and he shared that he longed to see his fiancée before he shipped out on his next assignment. Well, it was like he had waved a magic wand—because, lo and behold, his girlfriend promptly appeared and tapped him on the back!
Naturally, when the sailor turned and saw her, his shock and happiness knew no bounds, and the couple dissolved in tears—to everyone’s empathetic delight and “waterworks” display. Try topping that ending, huh?
“Mutya ng Masa” obviously has a good thing going, so as long as its “fantasy wish-fulfillment” element doesn’t overwhelm its other more “grounded” plus factors, it should settle in for a good, long run!