As you well know by now (you’re reading this, which means you’re on the internet—and when you’re on the internet, nothing viral ever passes you by) Jollibee released a trio of heart-wrenching videos for Valentine’s Day.
It’s safe to say that these videos went viral, mostly because anything love and romance-related will go viral when it comes to Filipinos, but also because some elements of the shorts inadvertently open up a Pandora’s box (Chickenjoy box?) of issues we need to examine right quick.
This is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do our journalistic duty and rank the three videos. These three are all we have so far, and we’re not actually sure if there’ll be any more considering Valentine’s Day is still four days away. If they put out any new ones, we’ll be on ’em like, uh, us on Chickenjoy.
Oh, Crush. It means well, it really does. But the story of a guy who has a crush on a girl with someone else, and tries to catch her attention with some anonymously well-placed (but not any less mysterious) ’70s/’80s versions of the Burger Yum. It’s trying to come off as sweet, which is no problem at all, but the way it goes about it kinda feels creepy. There are also a few missteps, such as the “Smile ka naman diyan!” Post-It note, which means well, but has been co-opted by catcallers in the real world to harass women on the street—so it does kind of trigger a lot of women. You’d think that there would have been a little self-awareness about this.
The fact that the conclusion (boy and girl do actually end up together, as a class reunion denouement scene shows) is rushed is both a boon and a bane to this story. It’s good because it doesn’t really prove that the dude goes through traditional yet shady tactics to woo the girl (like being abangers) but also bad because we don’t get to see how their love blossomed in a genuine way. There was a conflict, but we’re not really treated to how that’s solved, and that ultimately hamstrings this story.
Vow captured people’s hearts the moment it debuted, and it’s hard to blame them. It’s a story with the gist lifted from [RIVAL FASTFOOD CHAIN]’s advertisement featuring the Eraserheads, which means it’s about a dude who doesn’t end up getting together with the love of his life. (It’s implied that he never even confessed his feelings to try and get together, but it’s also not proven—it could also very well be that he tried and failed.) Like [RIVAL FASTFOOD CHAIN]’s commercial, the dude in this story simply and lovingly accepts the girl’s marriage to another man, because it makes her happy.
Vow does nothing overtly wrong. However, it can be argued that its subject matter and treatment (as well as Jollibee’s own online promotion of the video) indirectly encourage the entitled, poisonous culture that glorifies friendzone victims, even though they actually have homeboy be supportive of his girl and new man. But at the same time, that’s the viewer‘s interpretation, which doesn’t actually exist in the narrative—it’s just how some people view it based on their own experiences.
The worst hot take I’ve seen about Vow claims that the girl was just “using” our humble protagonist for convenience, perhaps because she might have known he loved her. Nowhere and nothing in the video suggest that this is actually the case; if the guy wants to be a good friend to her, even if because he’s in love with her, he’d just be a straight up good friend doing everything he did in the video. But also, a true friend would do what he did in the end. It may be triggering to those who have been on the receiving end of a guy’s friendship in hopes of a shot at love, but Vow seems to have taken great pains to make sure dude’s motivations were legit.
And assuming homeboy is a true friend, he’d stay being a friend, and that means respecting his love’s new marriage. Out of love. It may be strange and paradoxical to process, but it is possible for people to be mature enough about their feelings and relationships; and we assume that the world in advertisements is perfect. (Why wouldn’t they be?) If you were in the groom’s shoes, feeling threatened that your wife has a best friend who’s in love with her—even though he already said GGWP—you’ve got your own insecurity issues you need to fix.
SPOILER ALERT: You can’t ever go wrong when death is in the mix.
Date is just a revamped, rewritten version of last year’s Jollibee video Almusal, and if you have seen neither yet, I’ll give you a minute to watch Date.
Done? All right. The Pepe Diokno-directed Date is a winner because, like Almusal, you don’t ever see the swerve coming. You may have an idea, you might think that the kid is taking his mom out for a nice, innocent Valentine’s date, or the dad is an OFW, so you’re never truly prepared for the reality that the dad is dead and all of a sudden NO YOU’RE CRYING. That rug pulled from under our feet is where the waterworks come from.
Date is safe because it touches on an innocent kind of love that sees no potential problems popping up, so they knew what to do. Take the safe concept and make it as heartbreaking as possible. Well done, Jollibee. Nobody buys your “beeda ang saya” tagline anymore, but we’ll go eat our thigh parts through our tears now.