So, I was there in the taxi with my youngest brother Brian. And I brought up the topic of the noontime TV show Wowowee, which we had just seen about half an hour of before we got in the taxi.
I told him that I thought of it as a really terrible show. Sure, poor people win relatively-large cash prizes and stuff from it, but it feels so exploitative. Hundreds, maybe thousands of poor folk from god-knows-how-far-away queue up outside the studios every day hoping to get into the studio audience to participate in the cash giveaways. There are probably people that see all these "lucky" scrubs earning free cash on TV, so that instead of spending their time looking for work or ways to earn a decent, continuous income, they stand around the ABS-CBN studios day in and day out hoping to get lucky. And hope they don't get caught in a stampede of course.
And I wish someone would do a survey on how well the "winners" of these noontime shows (yeah, we also caught a bit of Eat Bulaga!) fare a few months after their windfall of cash. Methinks that giving out cash to poor families, while certainly good intent, is nowhere near enough to guarantee that they rise above their station. "Teach a man to fish... ". Alongside their exploitative nature and promotion of cheap barbs and slapsticks, I doubt whether such shows actually have a net positive effect on society.
Now Brian, as it were, has never been the most opinionated of my brothers. In fact, he's more of the laid-back type, seemingly not caring about what's going on in the world at large, so I was a bit surprised when we got into a discussion on the cheap lows that Philippine media has sunk to. Apparently he had caught a TV interview of "Mr. Shoo-Li" Jun Urbano that he really liked, where the old comedian compared the Philippines of yesterdays to our current dire straits. I was pleasantly surprised with the level of our discussion, and I said to myself: "No matter how bad things get in our country, as long as we have kids that are able to think about things like this, we'll always have hope."
In short (and this may be obvious anyway), noontime shows are really bad and shockingly exploitative. Seriously, anyone who looks at these noontime shows with at least 1% of a critical eye would agree.