Monday, March 28, 2011

Willie Revillame and the Philippine Variety Show

The Jan-Jan incident on Willing Willie is not the first of its kind. As Atty. Ted Te puts it on his Facebook note -- the discovering of talented kids who would dress up like adults and would sing and dance like adults didn't start with Revillame. Likewise, Atty. Te points out that the formula of showing scantily-clad women gyrating their hips in unison for no discernible purpose didn't start with Revillame.

He couldn't have said it any better.

The Philippine variety show indeed lives up to its name. It's a show of all sorts. We see men and women spilling their sad stories on national TV and forcing themselves to cry in exchange of a few thousand pesos. We watch albeit, helplessly, those who sing, dance and make a fool of themselves again, for a few thousand pesos and with some luck, maybe a Kabuhayan Showcase. Of course, we hear about those who shamelessly borrow money from their neighbors and relatives just to be seen on TV as well as to catch a glimpse and chance a whiff of their dear idol, whoever he is.

My take on this is that our variety shows are glaring manifestations of how our society falsely associates poverty with indecency. At the same time, these shows perpetuate and worsen the dilemma as they have the power to influence personal values and behavior. People start to think that winning on games in such shows are their only way out of poverty. At some point, violence against women and children continue because these shows promote false machismo and dangerous perceptions.

Crying women, gyrating children, jeering audience, crude hosts and indifferent citizens -- are these what we'd like to eat with at noon or in the case of Willing Willie, at supper?

(Nonetheless, wholesome entertainment shows are worth the cheers.)

1. Complaint Letter filed by concerned citizens
2. Press Statement, DSWD
3. Willie, TV5 Apology