Switching Channels

‘Bubble Gang’ still funny after all these years

Michael V and Ogie Alcasid (GMA Network and NPPA Images)Michael V and Ogie Alcasid (GMA Network and NPPA Images)It all started with "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" back in the 1960s. The show deviated from the usual sitcoms with its cast of regular characters and a continuing storyline. They were called sitcoms because the regular characters are placed in a funny situation each week. "I Love Lucy" was a prime example where Lucille Ball would always get entangled in difficult but rib-tickling situations. "Laugh-In" tried something new by coming up with a series of unrelated mini-gags where the actors usually portrayed different zany characters each week.

On the local scene, ABS-CBN's "Super Laff-in" adopted the same format back in the 70s and clicked with the audience. Now on its 15th year, "Bubble Gang" carries on with the "Laugh-In" tradition with its mini-gags, spoofs of TV shows, commercials and pop tunes and other crazy antics. Some of the gags may fall flat but its batting average is quite high, more hits than misses. Fifteen years is an enviable record because comedies are harder to sustain than dramas.

"Bubble Gang's" Rowan and Martin, Ogie Alcasid and Michael V, are the major reasons for the success of the show. Michael V, in particular, is unbeatable when it comes to portraying many zany characters Ogie makes a good partner for Michael V. In fact they've already appeared in a movie based on characters from "BG."
"BG" doesn't seem to run out of hilarious ideas. Of course, it helps that the show has a writing pool composed of nine people headed by two creative directors, Michael V and Caesar Cosme. That's a rarity in local comedy shows because most local sitcoms have one or two, maybe three writers and they usually run out of ideas after the first season, sometimes even earlier.

Let me therefore take my hat off to the writers of "BG," creative directors Michael V and Caesar,  Ogle Alcasid, direk Uro de la Cruz, Chito Francisco, Mon Roco, Henry Maceda, Manny Pavia, Ferdi Aguas and Eri Neeman. Take a bow, gentlemen.

I watched "BG" recently to find out how the show was doing and I'm happy to report that I laughed more than I yawned (the show airs 11 p.m.) Some of the gags  fell flat but there were more hits than misses. What elicited the most laughter from me was a takeoff on a popular Dolphy-Panchito routine. Dolphy would sing a Tagalog song and Panchito would translate the song into English and vice versa with hilarious results.

Instead of singing, Ogie delivered a newscast in Tagalog while Michael V translated the news item into English with hysterical results. Some examples: Pamilya nagnakaw ng alak. (Family rubbing alcohol); Mananahi nagwawalis, natagpuang buhay sa Maynila (Taylor Swift Live in Manila); Bukas ng umaga (What's for breakfast?), maliwanag ang sikat ng araw.(sunny side up). Lilindol sa Manggahan (mango shake) at Masbate (scrambled eggs). What I didn't like about the skit was Michael V explaining the translation to Ogie. This is a common sickness of Pinoy comedians, explaining a joke. because they think the audience did not understand the punch line.

Another outstanding skit was the spoof of the UFC anything-goes boxing match which is more violent than Manny Pacquiao's fights. "BG's" version was called TLC which stands for Tender Loving Championship. Instead of hurting each other, the competitors tried to outdo each other giving tender loving care.

I must also commend Uro de la Cruz for the fast pace of the show and his mastery of special effects. Some comedies hardly pay attention to the look of the show but Uro tries very hard to make the visuals interesting.

Now for some downers. I already mentioned Michael V explaining the joke in the Dolphy-Panchito routine. There's also a tendency to create humor through the introduction of gay characters. A guy falling for another guy is considered funny? Then, there's the very Filipino type of comedy where ugly characters are made fun of. Slapstick is not particularly funny to me unless it's done by Charlie Chaplin.

On the whole, however, as I explained earlier, I had a pleasant time watching the show and I hope "BG" lasts another 15 years or more.

Disclaimer: The views and observations of the author do not represent the position of Yahoo! Southeast Asia on the issue or topic being discussed.


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