Growing Up in the 90’s: Home Along Da Riles and Autograph Books

Those who grew up in the 90s learned to  fill out autograph or slam books, years before Facebook profile pages. When some elementary school classmates were asked to fill out the question Who are your friends?, some would write TMTM  (short for Too Many To Mention), perhaps to be safe that no one who might get heartbroken gets left out of one’s Friends list on paper.

In 90s style autograph books, I would write Home Along Da Riles as my favorite TV show. The late comedy king Dolphy  played the lead role of Kevin Cosme as a widow who takes care of his five kids.

Home Along Da Riles also starred Claudine Baretto, Smokey Manaloto, Gio Alvarez and the Quizon brothers Boy2 and Vandolph as Kevin Cosme’s children. Nova Villa plays the role of Kevin’s sister-in-law who is totally deadset on getting Kevin to love him. She would often utter the line “Kevin, kailan tayo magpapakasal?” The cast had a unique chemistry playing a big family living near the train tracks that the viewer is bound to forget the travails of the life of the working class as epitomized by the character of Kevin, who works as a messenger in a recruitment agency. What makes the movie such a family classic is that every episode concludes with clear resolutions where everyone in the family or the community, the jobless tambays SunogBaga gang included, end up helping each other out or eating happily together. Moral lessons are also imparted by Kevin to his children, a part a lot of today’s TV writers and producers could probably find unconventional given the track of popular entertainment nowadays.

Everytime a train would pass the tracks beside the Cosme family house, the house would shake and Dolphy would be seen hanging on to whatever post he could grasp, creating a hilarious scene transition that ends with objects flying in the most unlikely of places.

Cita Astals had fresh vibe as the busy but congenial boss in the recruitment agency where Kevin works as messenger, and Bernardo Bernardo played well the part of a quite-tough-to-please office superior who is also a concerned colleague, way before gay identity in film and fiction was as widely problematized and offered its ideals as today. I remember one particularly special end scene wherein Kevin Cosme’s colleagues at work visited him at his house during a family gathering. Everyone who wanted to share in the celebration potluck style brought ice cream – so there was nothing else left to eat for the hosts and guests. Along comes Steve, the character played by Bernardo Bernardo, proudly declaring that he brought cake. Then they learned that it was ice cream cake. It was a classic Home Along Da Riles episode ending, spelling good old fun and exuding the warmth of Filipino connectivity before texting, social networking and Fil- American Idols’ love-your-own-color ethos enthralled us all.

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