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


  1. My husband and myself have always resent the exploitation of the audience in a variety show like Wowowee, the reason we stopped watching long before it ended.We have witnessed how people with physical deformities or less endowed,even the disabled are being laughed at including by the hosts of the show. Having lived in Australia where the discrimination law is in full force, we are appalled by what we witness in these shows.And I agree that the participants are doing these for the hope of winning the prized monies but if TV producers keep encouraging such shows, I am wondering what kind future does our youth have. Surely there are other wholesome entertainment that can give money to the audience.
    We are also disgusted of the dancing women gyrating to entertain audience. it is a job for them but really quite demeaning.
    For an expatriate like me, I can only give my comment with the hope that I can also be heard.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about our variety shows. I think the reason why such tasteless shows proliferate is because many continue to patronize them.

  3. Hello Joyce!

    I have never been a fan of the Wowowee Show. Never!

    I always believed that poverty is not our society's problem; poverty mentality is. No matter how much money you give to the poor (that includes me) most will always go back to poverty. Because lack of money is not the real problem.

    People's mindset about money and material things is the real problem: how we respond with too much money, with enough money; or with lack of money. That's the problem—our ability to respond!

    Wowowee Show does not help the poor to have a different or a better "money mindset" instead, the show perpetuates the mentality of the poor by offering them instant money—that is, money without work and responsibility. I think the show only helps the poor to remain poor.

    The worse part is, they even manipulate people's "emotions" for the sake of "entertainment." Most "cries" in the show are not genuine!

    I hope we can develop another show that will really help the poor change their (our) poverty mindset, our paradigms, and educate us "How not to stay being poor." I hope they teach us to fish instead of giving us fish.

    Thanks for this post Joyce! You are doing favor!