From my personal view, I think that the new media is subjective, immersive, and unpredictable. I believe that there are variety of things and aspects to look at when we try to analyze the different faces of the internet. Day by day, people are introduced to various positive opportunities online. But one compelling matter to gaze at is how the new media becomes a tool to express intriguing pictures of idiocy in the contemporary times.
In this modern age, we welcome numerous ways and approaches on how to maximize and merge the form of new media with idiocy. Through short viral videos or memes, we notice that we are indeed pushing the envelope—but into positive or negative results?
With a bunch of materials to study about the new media idiocy, I have decided to take a closer look on another side: to know what a television, which is a classic form of media, can bring into the emerging platform of new media. With this, I want to have an examination about one of the most current and known spoof characters in a Philippine comedy television show, Bubble Gang:
I guess the character of Mr. Assimo is created to reflect, project, and subject a metaphorical and humorous situation of the everyday lives of a present-day Filipino individual.
The spoof is presented in different locations to show particular situations that can happen to an individual every day—in a spa, mall, house, ATM Machine line, cinema, salon, principal’s office, gasoline station, church, restaurant, taxi, bank, vacation house, airplane, and many other unexpected and random places. But one thing that makes this regular setting unique is Mr. Assimo’s funny and pessimistic attitude to every person that he meet in these places. Kindly watch and enjoy some of the best videos of Mr. Assimo:
But how these television comedic spoofs, specifically Mr. Assimo relates to the so-called new media idiocy? For me, it is more than just its humorous and viral appeal. First, I wonder—how Mr. Assimo became so relatable to many people when each episode is just purely and repetitively about a man who is in a regular and basic daily situation? When you come across Mr. Assimo’s videos, you will surely memorize the formulated and structured situation of his words and actions: he will annoy, have a bad communication with people, and say his signature and remarkable ending statement: “Hiyang-hiya naman ako sa iyo noh!”
In relation, I think that there are some factors why Mr. Assimo got the eyes of the modern viewers:
First, I consider that in this modern age, it is difficult to get the attention of the people. You need to have an interesting story or subject to show. And with Mr. Assimo’s case, I suppose that it provided an uncomplicated and effective presentation in a short amount of time in different and relatable situations.
Second, I would also like to indicate in this list the parodic aspect of Mr. Assimo. His character is a great mirror that most of the people can relate to, most especially with the addition of his humorous feelings.
And third: Simplicity. By watching these episodes, you will notice many uncomplicated elements indicated. First is the physical characterization of Mr. Assimo; the signature bob-like haircut, eyeglasses, and his way and tone of speaking. The production design is simple as well, leading only to focus to the dialogue between the characters. Third is the easy to get plot and location.
Having said, what are the advantages or benefits of these videos? With this, Mr. Assimo is a character from a local television show, and the new media, specifically the internet provided an extensive road and connection for more people to know his character around the globe. In relation, I think we now live in a world where there is a new definition of being ‘artistic’. In this age, gone are the days where ‘beauty’ is purely related to grace or delicacy of a particular medium or action—and as I foresee, it can now be converged with idiocy.
Furthermore, I see interesting subliminal thoughts with regard to the viewers’ reaction to Mr. Assimo. I believe that this spoof is only to cater one episode, but with the high demand and appreciation of the people, the spoof multiplied to more episodes. But how something like simple and repetitive like this manage to get the taste and eyes of the masses? How do we consider and look at the other side of the definition of ‘popularity’ in this case? Moreover, there is a hidden process of individuation with regards to Mr. Assimo—the purpose of idiocy in new media is not only with regards to the humorous, comedic and viral forms, but as well as to understand more the underlying conditions of human behaviors.
They say that one of the most difficult and challenging forms to visually communicate with different cultures is about comedy. Especially in movies, where there are various boundaries indicated because of misunderstandings when it comes to the usage of words, gestures, or actions which other people of nationalities cannot fully understand. But with the help of technology and the converging aspect of idiocy in the new media, interpreting jokes or other funny actions can now somehow be appreciated by other people. Meaning that idiocy can be a tool to grasp further understandings. In this case, the inane image of Mr. Assimo can be viewed in two different points—one can be the reflection of the present situation of the actions of people, and the second one is to unconsciously inform the people in an unconventional approach on how we negatively react to every simple everyday situation.
What makes Mr. Assimo even more interesting is its form and nature. As a character from a television show, in what way his image can greatly affect new media and idiocy? With the power of YouTube, which is a huge part of the new media, people around the globe can have a discourse online. But what’s more compelling is the kind of discourse that these people online are having. In the current virtual world, there is almost no limit—a simple, inane, and parodic re-enactment can tap and linger the minds of people to discuss and debate the good and the bad, and in this case, the character of Mr. Assimo, which is unimaginable in the last 30 or 40 years.
If you will take a closer look, new media idiocy is not only bounded in the sphere of just barely getting in and participating in the virtual world. Although the new media idiocy have a better impact for short comic relief purposes, it is unethical or not right to further mimic or copy the idiotic situation that can influence the actual and physical actions of people in the real world. One of the primary problems that the character of Mr. Assimo is facing is the the lack of ‘common sense’ with the people around him—which can symbolically represent today’s modern communicative problems.
But on the other side, although the comedic factors that are injected into the character of Mr. Assimo is relatable and connected most especially to the Filipino cultures and traditions, I guess there is still a quite hindrance when it comes to its appeal to the global arena. I think even when you put subtitles in every episode, the core understanding of the joke cannot be fully done by the international audience because there is a certain absence of cultural appreciation.
And importantly, although these videos and the like can trend online worldwide, there is still re-occurring situations where idiocy and laughter are not enough; and that ‘creative’ and ‘intelligent’ strategies should still be injected in these situations for the diverse audience to understand and recognize the message and content.
So where is the new media and its relation to idiocy leading? As we usually believe, new media should uplift our minds and understandings with various matters in the world. But then there is idiocy; a new way to further figure out what’s in store for the future of new media.