Yes, you heard it (read it) right. This is my extensive view of one of the most controversial noontime show in the history of noontime shows.
Disclaimer: This entry does not intend to glorify Willie Revillame or appraise the network for creating such show. I am here to shed light to the people who makes the show, in one way or another, wonderful.
My initial reaction to Wowowee was pissed - and I'm afraid, on the verge of disgust, really. And honestly, seeing Filipinas in skimpy spandex, gyrating in primetime TV for the whole world to see is not something that I welcome while eating lunch. Then there's those annoying 'pakulo' and games, those cringe-inducing numbers from various one hit wonders. Then there's the high-pitched voices of the female hosts. Another reason would be Willie Revillame (need I say more?).
Ok, so here comes the epiphany.
After lunch one day at my sister-in-law-to-be's house, I had no other choice but to watch the show with the rest of her family. This is the part where the contestants, before guessing the name of the song being played, need to show off their talents or tell their life story.
(while writing this, all of my playlists were deleted. great. just great.)
So, the first one that I caught was a dance instructor who is already in his 50's. He welcomed the audience with bravado (oh ,believe me, you should've watched it. You will feel as if you're a really, really special person - like a politician or royalty - when he mentions your name), said hello to almost everyone in the Philippines - in at least five different vernaculars. He was wearing one of his costumes that he used in competitions, I suppose: those long-sleeved shirts with hints of lace and gayness in it. His hair was slick back with either Pomada or some strange and sticky formulation. He is gap-toothed and was smiling all throughout his dialogue, which took about 3 minutes of the show. The whole time I was watching this, um, entertainment, I was thinking, what a show this guy is making! He's faking it, playing a mascot for the sake of the the host and the show. But I was wrong. When Willie asked him how he was, what is his life story, the mask - the jolly, blithe one - just fell off, then the tears fell automatically. Suddenly, I was crying with him. I was there with him when his wife left her family to work, while he did all the household chores for his children, while he filled his duties to his family in the absence of a mother, while he had to endure three years to be away from the woman that she loves. He was a different person, the one who is in tune with his sorrow, failures, and all things he thought he lacked.
There are actually more contestants who shared a glimpse of their story. None was the same, yet the heart was there. There's this woman who is good at belting out songs, and as her husband was being interviewed, he told her that he still loves her after almost five decades of marriage. She has six kids from her previous husband. He has none with her. Yet they lived lives with a story worthy of a Sunday frontpage feature. Amazing.
And I thought, these people are truer to themselves than I am. They are not trying to be anyone or imply anything except for who they really are as a person, as a human. They are not trying to put up this image, as if dignity comes with it. Nothing is suppressed in their feelings: they gave the audience complete access to their soul. Maybe it's in their pride from the fact that despite all things happening in their life, no matter how ugly it may seem, they survived it and they're happy that they didn't give up. Their happiness, as I have observed, did not lie on anything material or financial, or even social status - it was all about the desires of the heart.
It's very Filipino of them, and I'm proud to be a Filipino just by watching this. That was the moment I got hooked.
I don't mind the people who runs the show anymore.
Now, if only everyone adapts this mindset of accepting oneself (there's a pretty good reason why I thought this show was tacky, and that's because it challenges me to be tacky as well by being true to myself. and I'm scared with what other people will think), then I bet this will be one great nation full of funky Filipinos. Now I see us as a crowd of ice-cold-beer-loving, videoke addicts who can't get enough of fiestas and any other occasions that can be an excuse for celebration. Nevermind baduy, it's just me being a Pinay. It's just me being me.