I was ambivalent about Wowowee up until the end of January of this year. I have avoided attending (against the wishes of almost everyone else) a taping of it when in Manila, in part because of my fear of being called up by Pokwang to win money in the Hip Hip Hooray contest. Although meeting Pokwang sounds fun and making dancing with Willie Revillame could be fun, not doing it front of the entire bansa or, worse, the global pinoy community. In every rural setting I've spent extended periods of time in, I'm quite an extreme introvert. Wowowee is like the town plaza except that the audience is not just your family from your barangay. It's everyone's family from every barangay in the world.
I have read a few blogs really trashing Wowowee. Looking at it as a globalized version of the plaza ng poblacion, an argument could be made that it is trashing rural life (or perhaps Tolentino's attack of bourgeois trashing of the masa/bakya life). The most consistent criticism from this particular chorus is that it is "mindless." However, the Hip Hip Hooray contest involves determining, in a somewhat random way, which of the people selected have the most flexibility in not being stuck in habit and being creative in an intellectually attentive way.
Trivia (Game Ka Na Ba?) is not the highest form of intellectual achievement on day time television -- if there is a highest form of intellectual achievement at all.
But what really sold me on Wowowee was the amount of time devoted to Wilmer and Red at the end of January. I was watching with my partner and Red slipped in "asawa" and quickly corrected himself "kaibigan" referring to Wilmer. The camera panned to Wilmer and I turned to my partner and said, "I think they're together... bading sila." Oo, talaga!
... kung gusto mong problema nyo ay mawala!