WE FILIPINOS are suckers for noontime shows. Noontime shows are the biggest daily event in our lives. A carenderia, a clinic, a bus terminal, a barbershop, a police station, a barangay hall that doesn’t have a TV set on at noon has a PR sense of a toad. We wonder how dull life would be without noontime shows to make us laugh, cry and look stupid.

Surprisingly, of the thousands of self-help books in the local market today, there’s not one on how to create a top-rating noontime show. So as a sucker for noontime shows myself, I wrote this initial draft on a book I will call “Act Stupid, You’re On Some Noontime Show.”

Since this is a draft, I’m open to your suggestions, readers. Let’s work on this book as one great people united under one great

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noontime show banner. The book will have “The Filipino People” as its author. This is going to be big. We will appear in Oprah’s “Ten Dumbest Countries Ever Because They Watch Noontime Shows” episode.

The following are some of the most important things to remember when creating a noontime show:

1) A noontime show is first and foremost a charitable institution. It is a show meant to help the country’s Great Unwashed. The games, the songs, everything in a noontime show should seek to improve the condition of our suffering brothers and sisters. This is the guiding principle in any top-rating noontime show.

2) Invite the poor as guests so viewers will know the show’s heart really bleeds for the indigents. Let the poor guests come to the show as they are: dazed, dirty, disheveled, toothless, wrinkled, sick and smelly. Monday: scavengers; Tuesday: sidewalk vendors; Wednesday: housemaids na Bisaya; Thursday: mga janitors na may pimples sa leeg; Friday: mga batang hindi pa nakatikim nang fried chicken; Saturday: mga fans ni Sharon Cuneta 70 taong gulang pataas. With the poor, the categories are limitless.

3) The poor are a dumb lot. The games in the show should highlight this fact because appearing dumb on TV sells. Require them to dance if they can’t dance or sing if they can’t sing. During the game, ask questions too profound for the poor to answer correctly. Like, “Kung ang ulo ay head, ilan ang iyong paa?”

4) Make sure the poor cry on TV. This is very important because tears, more than laughter, intimately connect the show to the viewers in real time. Only the most calloused viewer cannot sympathize with the daughter who failed in school because she has to sell sampaguita to put food on the table because mother is always drunk and father is in jail and grandmother has tuberculosis and grandfather is blind and this game show is her only chance at owning an MP3 player.

5) Because it is a charitable institution, a top-rating noontime show must be hosted by the nicest and most gracious personality in all Philippine television. Because he is nice and gracious, the host must not think twice about making fun of his poor guests because the poor don’t mind being made fun of. To inspire the poor, the host’s “from rags to riches” story must be occasionally shown on TV, with the host telling the poor guests how he owned all those luxury cars and mansions because of hard work, so stop looking stupid now and choose Pera o Bayong.

6) Lastly, choose a name for your show. There are many possible names, but the most effective are those that are derived from the names of their hosts. Forget “Wowowee.” That’s taken.

( SUN.STAR JAN. 27, 2009 )