Chewing it for 20 years with Bubble Gang

KAPUSO DAY (The Philippine Star) - November 26, 2015 - 9:00am

Filipino television viewers are surely familiar with Bubble Gang, GMA Network’s weekly gag show that has tickled the funny bone of Filipinos for 20 years now. Who can forget the memorable, long-running skits involving Angelina and her yaya, Ang Dating Doon, Boy Pick-Up or Muchas Grasas? Or even the spoofs of TV commercials that did not put off the show’s many advertisers at all? In fact, they relished the attention given to their products.

It’s been said that it’s easier to elicit tears than laughter from an audience. Many Filipinos are quick to shed tears when watching the latest drama program but getting them to laugh is another thing altogether. That’s why it’s a big thing for Bubble Gang to reach this milestone anniversary and it clearly appears that they’re in it for the long haul. Good news for us!

The people who make up the show are also psyched about the big anniversary. In fact, Michael V considers Bubble Gang a treasured part of his life. “It broke all records of comedy shows on Philippine TV. Awards-wise, marami na siyang nakuha. At saka parang kultura na siya eh. Kasama na siya sa kultura ng mga Pinoy.”

 Being the program’s creative director, Bitoy, as Michael V is fondly called, adds, “This is why our tagline for the 20th year is ‘I am BG.’ I am Bubble Gang. Kasi parang lahat naman ng ginagawa namin sa Bubble Gang, reflection ng kung ano ang estado ng Pilipino ngayon, ng bansa. So, there’s Bubble Gang in every Filipino and there’s a lot of Filipinos in our show.”

The reason for the success of the show might be difficult to pin down but the cast, the writers and their openness to try new things might be their recipe for success. It could also be their sense of playfulness when it comes to work.

 Director Uro de la Cruz will be the first to admit that he didn’t think the show would last this long. “When I started in Bubble Gang, I never imagined we would reach our 20th anniversary. Ang alam ko lang ginagawa ko ‘yung dapat kong gawin. The key (to its success) is we enjoy what we’re doing. We enjoy the challenge. You have the chance to be creative,” he said.

Direk Uro volunteers a guess for the show’s longevity and that is making sure you don’t repeat yourself. Always try to come up with something new that viewers can relate to, which is by keeping abreast of current events.

Kailangang nararamdaman mo ‘yung damdamin ng mga tao. Noong simula sinasabi ko sa mga writers na pumunta sila sa Quiapo, sakay kayo ng jeep, punta kayo sa mga barberya, tambay kayo sa mga palengke, sa malls para makuha ninyo ‘yung pulso ng tao, kung ano ‘yung uso ngayon … basta lumabas. Minsan kasi sikat dito sa Manila, but for example in Mindanao hindi pala.”

Aside from going out and getting a feel for what’s current, some of the creative team members also look closer to home. Writer Manny Pavia, who has been with the production for 13 years, came up with a skit for Angelina and her yaya played by Ogie Alcasid and Michael V after he saw his own daughter’s antics.

May episode kasi na nagsusulat sa wall si Angelina — nakuha ko ‘yun sa daughter ko. First time ko siyang nakita na nagsulat sa pader, so ‘yun ang naging inspiration ng episode na ‘yun,” Manny said.

For writer Henry Maceda, his most memorable gag is the internationally popular and long-running one of Antonietta portrayed by host-comedian Betong Sumaya. “Ako yung gumagawa noon. Actually, mga karaniwang nakikita natin sa mga drama, sa mga telenovela yung mga usual formula, yung palaging may nawawalang anak. Binabasag ni Antonietta ‘yung mga karaniwang eksena sa telenovela.

In a way, the writers and creatives behind the show simply hold up a mirror to the comical side of life. We’re familiar with it so we are able to laugh. “Pinapakita ng Bubble Gang ‘yung totoong nangyayari sa lipunan tapos ginagawa lang naming exaggerated lahat, so ‘yung mga tao kapag nanonood nasasabi nila na,Ay oo nga, ganyan nga.’ Minsan kasi nakakatawa na makita mo yung sarili mo sa mga sketch na ginagawa sa Bubble Gang,” Henry said.

It’s not all fun and games, however, as head writer Caesar Cosme sees it. “Tingin ko, merong mutual respect ng bawat isa kaya nagtagal. Tsaka nagka-terno-terno, ibang generation si Bitoy at Ogie (Alcasid), then kami nina Uro at Isko (Salvador) iba rin’yung kombinasyon ng iba-ibang generations. May respetuhan talaga.

Writer Mon Roco has a serious but well-meaning message to the team — one that will serve them well: “Umayos kayo. Umayos lang kasi may tendency to relax because it’s been 20 years already? That cannot be, the show must always step up.”

In celebration of its 20th year, a documentary special will be aired tonight with GMA News pillars Mike Enriquez and Jessica Soho interviewing the cast. The Bubble Gang team also put together a compilation of photos, stories and trivia of its hilarious gags, unforgettable sketches and knee-slapping parodies that have entertained their audiences since 1995. I Am Bubble Gang: The Bubble Gang 20th Anniversary Commemorative Comedy Chronicles will serve as a gift to everyone who at one point in their lives laughed with the Bubble Gang family.



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