When a fitness instructor named Kirk removes his shirt and gamely flexes for gratuitous shots of his torso flashed again and again, I know I'm watching an excellent show. The Good Times! is the spin-off of the popular radio talk program Good Times with Mo on Metro Manila's 89.9, and -- surprise! -- it makes for fun late-night television. Director RA Rivera and producer Angel Rivero -- minds behind the defunct cultish TV show Strangebrew -- bring the same idiosyncratic flavor to the magazine format; They capture the frenetic, anything-goes energy of radio gab.
The hosts -- a straight guy, a gay guy, and a girl -- don't seem to be as concerned about imparting "information" as they are about being their talkative, goofy selves. Mojo Jojo is a refreshing gay host, in our culture where TV homosexuals often only talk about showbiz gossip or take so much pains to be asexual upstanding role models. Here's an openly gay guy who can carry a show just fine with a flamboyant, sexual, witty personality. He's just like many gay best friends we know. In this week's episode, in which a Fitness First gym is transformed into a playground, Mojo casually claims to have been a former runner and a martial artist, but admits to being misshapen, and can laugh at himself when he can't work the Hercules bar. He begs another trainer for a peek at his abdominals and gluteus maximus, yet he doesn't come off as offensive at all. Plus, his rapport with the straight guy, Mo Twister, is unprecedented in Philippine television: a platonic, comfortable camaraderie in which the straight guy and the gay guy can compete as equals, make fun of each other, and still look like they genuinely love each other as friends.
The Good Times! airs Tuesdays at 11:30 PM on Studio 23.