the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

They Watch Desperate Housewives in Manila?


I am so glad that the producers of “Desperate Housewives” have apologized for the racial slur against Filipino medical professionals that was on the show’s first episode of this season.

In the season premiere that aired Sunday on ABC, Teri Hatcher’s character, Susan, goes in for a medical checkup and is shocked when the doctor suggests she may be going through menopause.

“Listen, Susan, I know for a lot of women the word ‘menopause'” has negative connotations. You hear ‘aging,’ ‘brittle bones,’ ‘loss of sexual desire,'” the gynecologist tells her.

“OK, before we go any further, can I check these diplomas? Just to make sure they aren’t, like, from some med school in the Philippines?” Susan fires back.

There was an uproar in the Philippines.

The TV episode even became an international incident, with reports on it topping Philippine news shows and drawing newspaper headlines as officials there registered their displeasure. Filipinos could judge the scene for themselves when it was posted on YouTube.

In Manila, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he was writing the producers of the show to seek an apology and note the country’s “vehement protest.” Senior cabinet member Eduardo Ermita told reporters that an apology should be sought “on behalf of our Filipino professionals.”

“The producers of ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ABC Studios offer our sincere apologies for any offense caused by the brief reference in the season premiere,” cable news channnel ANC quoted the statement as saying.

“There was no intent to disparage the integrity of any aspect of the medical community in the Philippines,” they said.

I immediate called my family doctor, Dr. Mark Guinoo, a 1985 graduate of Manila Medical School, to hear his reaction. He was stunned.

“When will the negative stereotypes ever end?” he said.

Dr. Guinoo has truly been a lifesaver to me. Last year, during a bout with pnemonia, he prescribed “Dr. Scholl’s Foot Lotion” for me, and three months later I was cured.


Sorry, Leese, for the mediocre gag! I owe you some Puto Bumbong for Christmas!

P.S. — Do you know who really deserves an apology? Women with menopause! Teri Hatcher’s character acted as if she had just gotten a death sentence when she heard the news.

P.P.S. — I will keep my comment promises!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Donut Shop Redux


  1. tiff

    I now need to go back and read the post.

    But hey – I’m FIRST!! 🙂

  2. scarlet hip

    I’ll come back when I think of something really clever to say. Or when you comment on my blog, whichever comes first.

  3. patois

    How can I only be the third person to comment? Is your readership mostly Filipino?

    Anyway, I think the scriptwriters actually wrote “Grenada,” but Teri kept pronouncing it like Gra-na-da, so they changed it to the Philippines. She can pronounce that because that’s where she goes for her surgeries.

  4. teahouseblossom

    That is too hilarious. I think if Teri Hatcher’s character would just eat more, maybe her period would come back.

  5. Bre

    I think I’m the one who deserves an apology… after all, I had to suffer through the outrageously predictable plot twists!

  6. Neil

    You know, I’m thinking the punchline to the post could be better. Are there any professional comedians out there who could improve on it, maybe adding some funnier “k” or “p” sounds to the sentence?

  7. Frida

    I think TeaHouseBlossom may just have made the best diagnosis of the season.

    How anyone can watch that show without feeling the need to instantly rush to the kitchen and eat something beats me. Is it a political protest? Are the women of DH starving themselves in sympathy for the Afghan farmers and their families here in Ghor?

  8. Neil

    Frida — I agree. Real desperate housewives would be eating ice cream at night.

  9. LAA

    I would suggest Desperate Housewives should start packing up and stop the show in the Philippines. You just lose a big market my dearest ABC.

  10. churlita

    I’ll just sit here quietly waiting for you to fulfill your promise. I don’t have long, though. I might be heading toward menopause when my life will essenitally end.

  11. Caron

    Dr. Guinoo is awesome isn’t he? He cured my lumbago.

  12. kimananda

    I’m impressed with your range of post topics…is this your first one with a menopause joke in, that’s what I want to know.

  13. tiff



    (faints dead away, but not before “squee”ing like a schoolgirl)

  14. psychomom

    Is it me or is it hot in here?

    Fanning my ‘glistening’ self.

  15. better safe than sorry

    i did the menopause thing already, no big deal. i can’t watch dh anymore, those women are all so pathetic, i’n not sure if it’s supposed to be a comedy or drama but whatever it is, i just don’t get the interest in it.

  16. Leese

    Actually I don’t eat puto bumbong. 🙁 Never really liked it. But I’ll be up for some ensaymada or some sapin-sapin.

    And yeah, they watch Desperate Housewives there. I heard Grey’s Anatomy is huge too. And like LAA said, they could actually be alienating a nice-sized market there so it’ll be interesting to see what the impact is.

    And let’s hope that writer doesn’t get sick anytime soon and require the care of a nurse who DIDN’T get his/her degree from the Philippines, or require any sort of lab work done by a clinical lab scientist who didn’t get his/her degree from the Philippines.

  17. miriam

    Those hot flashes enable you to save big on your gas and electric bill. You have your own built-in furnace.

  18. Jenny from Chicago

    Uh. They were offended by American Television? I just thought up a new stereotype. Is that wrong?

  19. DJB Rizalist

    this may be a bit off topic, but Britney Spears has new song out and it mentions the Philippines in a kind of flattering light as a place to run away to.

    Regarding the Desperate Housewives thing, the real culprits are the greedy commercial review centers and corrupt govt regulators who let them get away with the nursing exam leak last year, which really damaged the reputations of all Filipina nurses. Filams are just paying for their crimes.

  20. Neil

    I actually think the writers said the Philippines because they were afraid of saying what they really thought — like El Salvador or someplace in South America, considering the large Spanish-speaking population that watches Desperate Housewives. I think the network finally realizes that Filipinos don’t like jokes at their expense either.

    Still, I don’t think anyone really takes what they said as serious. I would have no problem going to a doctor who got his degree in the Philippines. I would have my doubts, though, if he went to Medical School in Idaho.

  21. mrsmogul

    My canadian friend lives in Manila!! He loves the white man sex tourist thing. YES DR SCHOLL’s is amazing!! He once came to my home and actually gave me a foot rub!

  22. cruisin-mom

    thank you for mentioning that real housewives sit and eat icecream at night

  23. Bec

    Considering we’ll probably only get this ep in 6 months or so. I’ll wait for the shock to hit here… Oh, no, wait. I live in the UK where we only get excited about rrrrrrrrrubbish rrrrrrrrreality TV nonsense. Am calm, am fine.
    Am wondering is people in the Phillipines have got anything better to do than get upset at a not particularly good joke?!

  24. Elisabeth

    Tuns out Susan was pregnant. Her gynecologist with a Harvard degree did a really fine job with the menopause diagnosis. One with a degree from the Philippines would undeniably have done a much better job!

    And yes, Susan does need to eat more. Also, I’m just curious about this, but do men find Teri Hatcher that attractive?

  25. mckay

    my prediction.. desperate housewives will introduce a very smart and sexy doctor during this year’s season.

    if i were a suit at that network, that’s what i would do.

  26. JanePoe (aka Deborah)

    It’s a small world afterall. Oy. JP/deb

  27. nelumbo

    Actually I know an American woman who went to med school in a 3rd world country because she couldn’t get into an American Med school. This seems like a real problem to me.

  28. genghis2510

    What apology are we talking about? Of course and for marketing purposes, ABC has to apologize and will laugh their hearts out thereafter. The DH pun on flips served to gain media mileage as the show was going pfffft. The brouhaha is a shot in the arm. Their researchers are good to choose Flip migrants to target the pun.

  29. labx

    It’s “in menopause” – not “with menopause”… it’s not a disease..

  30. Neil

    LABX — Thanks. You’re right.

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