Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hysteria over Wisteria

Last night I heard that Cesar Montano is demanding that Teri Hatcher apologize to the Filipino people for the so-called "racial slur" she uttered on ABC's TV series Desperate Housewives. Now, I don't watch the show, and I'm no fan of Teri Hatcher (I have no respect for anyone who has dated Ryan Seacrest), but 1) the woman was just reciting lines written for her character, and 2) does Cesar Montano really expect a Hollywood celeb like Teri Hatcher to apologize to an actor from a Third World country who thinks he can bat in the big leagues just because he starred in some forgettable movie with Benjamin Bratt?

Cesar pomposity aside, I read in the papers today that the Philippine government has also asked for an apology from the producers of Desperate Housewives, with Department of Health secretary Francisco Duque saying:

"They should apologize for a seemingly blanket statement that we all find very offensive. And I'd like to register that protest in behalf of all our Filipino doctors, not just in America but all over the world. There's really no basis... Filipino doctors are among the best in the world.

"We're one of the best and in fact we're probably the second largest doctor-professionals in the US and many Americans have acknowledged in countless ways that our doctors are really very professional, competent and with excellent bedside manners and good rapport with patients and patients' relatives."
Ignoring his atrocious grammar, I commend Secretary Duque's expression of outrage on behalf of all Filipino doctors. The snide statement about our medical schools was a joke made in poor taste, and offended parties should be gratified to know that ABC has already issued an apology "
for any offense caused by the brief reference", adding, "There was no intent to disparage the integrity of any aspect of the medical community in the Philippines."

I hope this placates all the people the Desperate Housewives episode angered, and squelches the ludicrous proposal to ban the show in our country. Let's not overreact. It was only one passing joke on a TV show featuring frivolous middle-aged women stuck in suburbia (it might very well have been intended to reflect the ditziness of Teri Hatcher's character). I've heard much worse from other shows and movies. The now-defunct sitcom Will and Grace made allusions to gay Filipino escorts more than once, while the indie war flick Jarhead made mention of Filipina mail-order brides. If a CNN correspondent or Discovery Channel host had made a derogatory remark about our people, I could understand how we'd be infuriated. But come on, it's just Desperate Housewives. Who in the world takes that show seriously? Its popularity is waning, and it didn't even win a single Emmy this year.

Personally, I think we made too big a deal out of the whole thing, and we only succeeded in giving Desperate Housewives undeserved publicity (albeit negative publicity, but in Hollywood, that distinction doesn't matter). Besides, milking the issue only goes to show how overly defensive and selectively sensitive we are as a people. Why make it appear as if we're making a mountain out of a molehill? We know we have good med schools, we know we have good doctors. That ignorant and politically incorrect American writers choose to use our country as material for their lame jokes in their lame TV shows is a reflection of their ineptitude, not ours.


At Tuesday, October 09, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree. but i hear they're filing a class action suit against ABC, so i'm expecting e-mail forwards about this issue to be piling up in my inbox for the next few months.


At Tuesday, October 09, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Oh for Pete's sake. Could this issue possibly get any more overblown?? In today's Philippine Star, Butch Jimenez devoted an entire column to suggestions on how Filipinos can be integrated into the series. My favorite: "Marry off [Eva Longoria]'s character to a Filipino doctor.... Maybe the Filipino doctor-husband could also teach her some spirituality (Gabrielle is Catholic since she is of Hispanic origin). That should put an end to her lust for wealth and conceit." Good effing grief.


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