Manny Pacquiao’s new TV show, “Para sa Iyo ang Laban Ko,” had its debut telecast last Feb. 3, giving viewers an updated impression of the boxing icon, no longer as a brash dispenser of cash and other freebies, but as a “life coach” of sorts, helping two single mothers each week to take better care of their children, after their irresponsible and improvident partners have flown the coop.
Initially, we’re grateful for Pacquiao’s change of heart, and for his decision to come up with a more “relevant” show that viewers can draw empathetic lessons from to redirect their own unfocused and problematic lives.
After a while, however, we note that he and cohost Jean Garcia dispense mostly “motherhood” and “fatherhood” statements and advice, so our appreciation is progressively diminished.
The targets of their well-meaning sermons have enough problems in their lives without their being piously lectured at or to by cohosts who are more earnest than actually helpful and insightful.
In addition, the show presents the single mothers’ back stories so melodramatically and weepily, that the results feel a mite exploitative. Misery is bad enough without its being “pushed” by way of the show’s turgidly weepy “reenactments.”
Another distraction is the fact that the dramatizations cast starlets and stars in key roles. Their hokey acting styles weigh the show down even more, and end up doing a disservice to the single mothers’ all too real and painful miseries.
To be sure, at the end of the show, it does help empower the mothers to take a firmer hold of their lives and prospects. Very welcome, too, are the gifts that the production dispenses, by way of groceries, educational scholarships and medical keep, to lessen the impoverished mothers’ woes.
We trust that financial assistance is also part of the show’s package of benefits, although it isn’t described as such. Now, as to the “motherhood” or “fatherhood” nature of the hosts’ advice, its credibility would be enhanced if Pacquiao is shown not just commiserating with the suffering mothers, but actually experiencing their families’ grim living conditions for at least a day—and night.
He says he was also dirt-poor when he was a small boy, but he’s done much, much better since then—and perhaps can remind himself of his own impoverished past by sharing in the woes of his show’s chosen beneficiaries.
More than anything else, this would graphically prove his total solidarity with the people he says he wants to help.
Other TV hosts have taken this extra step in the past, to exceedingly powerful effect, but if somebody like Pacquiao does it, it would be even more persuasive and convincing. Would Pacquiao be up to it?
Finally, cohost Garcia is not a perfect fit for the show, because she does little more than agree with the lead host’s unctuous statements and advice.
The show needs a cohost who is known to be a concerned and engaged helper of the poor in his or her own right, so its projection of applied social conscience is enhanced.
It would also help counter quibbles about Pacquiao’s own actual commitment to his new program’s cause.