The Willie Revillame Show

Where there is a stink of shit
There is a smell of being.

– Antonin Artaud, The Pursuit of Fecality (1947)

It was essentially the same kitsch and kaboodle of dancing girls and free money, the game show antithetical to the whole idea of the game.  The Willie Revillame Show is back on air, as with the poor old people given P500 bills and the down-on-their-luck placing all their hopes and dreams on live televised parlor games.

Somehow, The Willie Revillame Show has perfected the science of spectacle.  Theater is a recreation of life, but as Artaud posits it, it’s a recreation of that center that fragile center that forms cannot reach.  Therefore, everything is exaggerated, idealized, and even distorted; in a word, spectacular.  Theater and spectacle is not confined to the stage, but it extends to the viewers as well.

That’s where The Willie Revillame show succeeded in, and perhaps where it is most powerful and even at its most dangerous: that the stage is not that glimmering plexiglass floor, but society itself.

No other show has exploited the plight of the poor and the oppressed more successfully than The Willie Revillame Show, transforming itself to the theatrical embodiment of hope.  It puts the seal of approval on false consciousness: that being informed (for all its flaws) should only be secondary to saya and pag-asa, with all the frenetic and frantic frivolities of families popping balloons with their butts – and with hooks while dazed and blindfolded – for cash prizes.

The people in the balconies wave tarpaulins and signs, going chutchurutchurut for every tantaran, with yet another hope of being there.  Not much different from rapes and murders on the six-o-clock news, but more “positive.”

Make no mistake about it: it is garbage.  It is not good television.  It does nothing more than mire the poor deeper into the hallucinogenic effects of The Willie Revillame Show, and of course, make The Willie Revillame Machine run again for the benefits of celebrity and ratings.  The fireworks, dance steps, and games of the new and improved Willie Revillame Show obscure the acts and incidences that preceded the here-and-now.

Every balloon popped for a dream should underscore 71 others, crushed by the ULTRA stampede.  Every dance step is to dance to the tune of impunity and ignominy.  Every clap is to raise the level of barrel-scraping hope among the poor: that education, good governance, and sound economic policies matter little to them, so those above should instead give them game shows for sustenance.  Every dancing girl wipes clear the pornographic lens by which some of us view women.  All this, on a pilot program that featured and highlighted seas of garbage from past memories.

It is a misuse of hope that is damning and almost criminal, that a concept that led to homicide still lives in the airwaves.  The powerful feed on the powerless by feeding them ideas, notions, and hopes that keep them there.

In a society where the television is on for 18 hours a day, where it is the centerpiece of the living room, the return to dominance of The Willie Revillame Show is not surprising; in many ways, it indicts our relationship with the TV set.  Somehow we are petrified by what is shown, we consent because it is shown.  It only takes one well-informed decision from the big TV stations to stop showing The Willie Revillame Show, and one well-informed decision from the viewer to stop watching it, for those who have options.

Until then, the stink of shit will always be the smell of being on primetime.

Marck

ID for almost everything: @marocharim

17 Comments

  1. It doesn’t seem fair to indict only Willie who is perhaps the master of the noontime game show– or late afternoon, if you will. Truth to tell is that every broadcasting entity is in desperate search of a Willie to put on the air. What we have failed to do is bring the networks to their knees for confining the use of those broadcast licenses to profit raking via crass commercialism, in the process ensuring the intellectual atrophy of our society. Not even the “godsend” PNoy has the balls to chastise broadcast media for the murder of the Luneta hostages. To be sure, it doesn’t matter if Lim, Yerba, Magtibay , etc. were near the bus or not. The outcome would not have changed much. Rest assured, however, if media had not been there at all, the outcome would have been totally different. PNoy didn’t have the guts to punish the media for this shameful disaster. Will the Filipino audience ever wake up to the perennial dulling of its intellect? So, dear friend, I’m a bit disheartened that you insinuate poor Willy is a piece of shit. He’s just a huckster trying to make a buck. Its the networks (ABS and ABC) who have taken this huckster, taking advantage of their influence and selling him to us, packaged like a golden genius. Now, who’s the real shit?

  2. a smart guy who is obviously consumed by his personal dislikes on willie. nonetheless, he still put a smile to old people and special children who’s in their state is compromised but could still feel joy because of willie, having said that conclusion arouse about my claim you being a smart person.

  3. ang dami mo pang explanations dyan,anu nlng ba ang tawag mo s mga nsa posisyon ng pangungurakot at lihim na ngpapapatay ng kapwa pilipino.yun ang dapat pag tuunan ng pansin.si willie nkakapagbigay ng tulong at saya sa karamihan.ofkors hes a businessman,kailangan nyang kumita at mgtrabaho s maayos na pamamaraan at hindi yung pnglalamang sa kapwa! kung di mo sya gusto wag mo syang suportahan!!!!idiot ka! bwaaaa!

    1. 1. madami talagang explanations. salamat binasa mo.

      2. yung topic ng entry tungkol sa show. marami na kong nasulat tungkol sa nangungurakot at pumapatay sa pilipino. sorry, pero yung show yung topic.

      3. yung show nakakapagbigay ng “tulong” at “saya” sa mga nandoon at yung gustong pumunta doon at yung pilit pumupunta doon. pati yung 71 tao sa ultra noon, tulong at saya yung hinahanap. yung masaklap doon, namatay sila dahil sa stampede. parang nakalimutan lang.

      4. siyempre kailangan niyang kumita at magtrabaho sa maayos na pamamaraan. di yung nanlalamang sa kapwa, yung mga daya. yung mga stampede. yung mga pag-twist sa rules ng game na sila-sila na rin mismo gumawa para magbigay. yung nakakatulong na rin sa ibang pangangailangan ng mga mahihirap, di lang yung simpleng aktong magbigay ng pera.

      5. hindi talaga. paano na yung mga walang pagpipilian sa tv? it’s your level, girl.

      1. I thought you are a smart guy! but did you think enough how it happened? did you ever think that, that was abs-cbn show?
        did you ever think that, that was produced and managed by abs-cbn? why did you have the nerve to put the blame on willie, which he’s only the talent? he wasn’t the one that planned the show! it was abs-cbn! right? mr, if you don’t like willie, don’t waste your time to write about something that’s nonsense! hater!

  4. You’ve made a good case with Willie and his show. It’s not good TV to feed on the poors’ condition and “sell” them false hopes, hopes that might favor only one individual-in most cases, the game winners. Hope that does not work for the good of the many, hope which at its best is selective, and even exclusive as Willie’s show always had to single out participants in a game so they could come up with a winner, “one” that they could give what they nicely call “hope” to. Where is the sincerity? To think blood was shed and so many lives were lost one Saturday noon at ULTRA because of this “hope” that Willie’s show tried to offer or lure its patronizers. It’s not good television at all to use the poor for one’s own personal interests or purposes, especially that the poor are the ones who are most vulnerable in society..You have also noticed the plight of lady dancers in Willie’s show, how they are engaged to dance in such a manner that to us and I know, to many others seem to trespass already the border that separates fine entertainment from the cheap and crass. For the more discriminating (audience) the call or plea for T.V grace or ethics is reasonable and imperative.. One does not become a hater or a basher simply by saying things contrary to majority liking. I think, it’s about time the country promotes audience awareness, responsible media, and responsible censorship. Peace Pilipinas.

  5. demn people, they don’t read. do not be haste to react.

    does our youth even read nowadays? wish we have more intellectual/critical thinker from the younger generation. thanks for this neat piece. until the next post..

  6. Maro, most of the people who commented on this post have no understanding of what they had just read.

    Says a lot about the current Filipino audience.

  7. How dare you, foul knave, to so much as insinuate that Willie Revillame is anything but generosity made flesh? The man gives so much of himself to this nation that it’s a crime he hasn’t been made a saint yet! Surely, these words cut into the very core of his being, and as he goes home to his private island aboard his private yacht flanked by twenty underage schoolgirls he will have his way with tonight, he will shed a tear over these unkind, unflattering words.

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