Weighing On Wowowee’s Woes

28 May

Published in HerWord.com on May 29, 2010

I am not a big fan of noontime shows. With the full force of summer bearing down viciously on us, watching television at midday does not strike me as the least bit of fun. However, in the last few months, I have been watching Wowowee quite regularly because my son Alphonse and his nannies seem to enjoy the show. Alphonse, in particular, likes the Hep-hep Hooray portion and can be coaxed to imitate the players onscreen. The nannies, on the other hand, love Questune (where contestants guess the title of a song from its melody) and try to outguess each other each time. I watch with them and not entirely for entertainment reasons. In truth, I like hearing about the stories of the contestants they choose on the show. While I realize that money is the most compelling reason for many to patronize the show, hearing about the lives of our less fortunate countrymen reminds me all the more to be grateful and appreciative of what I have in life and compels me to do my share in making the lives of others better.

I have no love lost for the host, however. Willie Revillame strikes me as arrogant and a little too full of himself, acting as if the whole show revolves solely around him, and perhaps it does, what with all his endorsements eating up major airtime. Admittedly, he can be funny and witty, and these are the times I enjoy watching him most. Sometimes, however, even his good intentions become twisted with some sort of messianic complex. By believing too much in the line that he feeds his viewers – that he does nothing but think of ways he can help his audience- he has become a victim of his own grand delusions. We forget that Mr. Revillame gets paid for what he does and that the money he gives away does not come from his own pocket but from the generous sponsors of the show, as well as kindhearted viewers, both locally and abroad.

Mr. Revillame resigned from the show last week. His resignation letter is widely circulated in the Net and was an offshoot of his dispute with another ABS-CBN talent who critiqued his show and its decision to feature students with poor grades as contestants. The following is an excerpt from his letter:

 Hence, it is very painful to hear every time my show is the target of unwanted and unnecessary tirades. I do not think that these people even have the slightest clue of what I go through to put together a show like “Wowowee”’. The show is not for me, but for those people who dream of a better life. Is it too much to ask that we be respected for what we do? Is it too much to ask that we be defended from such attacks? (from Mr. Revillame’s resignation letter, seen here)

Mr. Revillame and Wowowee needed no defending, except from his own mistakes. He could have taken the higher road by simply explaining himself. It would have certainly ended any discussion right then and there, instead of fueling a disagreement and creating uproar. As much as I also believe that the show’s decision encourages mediocrity in students (remember that thousands line up every day just to be in the show and if poor grades were all it took to be a contestant, what’s to encourage these kids from aiming for high grades?), I could also see where he was coming from. He could have said that in this instance, the show was giving a chance to students who would not otherwise get a fair shake in life, and that they meant to give hope to these kids. However, as was his style, Mr. Revillame ranted on air in the heat of anger. Worse, by giving his own employers an ultimatum and following it up with statements that alluded to his willingness to jump networks, he displayed ingratitude and boorishness. Many opine that he also guaranteed himself a one-way ticket out of the show. His were actions that are not so easy to forgive and forget.

This week, Mr. Revillame met with management and apologized in person. He has been granted indefinite leave from the show and his future with the network remains uncertain. The truth is, I feel sorry for Mr. Revillame, who has the love and support of many common folk. In the end, however, he is responsible for his own actions. And while he continues to try to undo the harm done to his character and to the show, perhaps it is best to remind him that he should first take accountability for his rashness and his swellheaded pronouncements. For what does it tell us of the man when even his own resignation letter, while sounding contrite, paints him as a victim?

 There was the “Wilyonaryo” incident wherein we were accused of deceiving contestants about their winnings; the Ultra stampede wherein I was blamed and severely criticized; the misunderstanding about my remarks when the coverage of the funeral of the late Pres. Corazon Aquino was unexpectedly shown in the giling-giling portion of “Wowowee”’s airing, for which I have apologized. In all these incidents, I took responsibility even if I was not at fault.   (underline mine)

Much has been said about these incidents he mentioned. Sadly, he fails to realize that unless he owns up to his faults, there can be no real forgiveness. Without a sincere apology, all he does is shift blame and play the martyr. And of that, we have too many already who died for causes far more worthy than his.   


One Response to “Weighing On Wowowee’s Woes”

  1. ernst May 28, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    wow, wish i could write as well as you do, kittymama! idol!! i also wish i could sound as objective when writing about willie revillame. 🙂

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