Forty forever

Perhaps the problem lies in the thinking that being complimentary of something means being complimentary of everything about it. So, no, this isn't a puff piece. This isn't an analytical piece, even - I am too lazy for that now. I'm likely to ramble, even.

And yes, it's worth also noting that not everybody likes this show; that some people think this show is the problem with Philippine television; that it harbors some old-fashioned thinking, if not an old-fashioned sense of entertainment; that it exploits poverty for entertainment; that it launched the political careers of people who probably shouldn't have launched political careers. Some most likely just don't like it to the point of disgust.

Still, you have to give credit to Eat Bulaga! for lasting forty years - the closest thing Philippine television has to an icon, if only for sheer longevity. Like perhaps tens of millions of Filipinos, I don't know of a life without Eat Bulaga! It's always been there, at lunch time, on the television, six days a week, so much so that I may have taken it for granted. It's been around for so long it transcends the television network it's on (although, again, it's been on three - the rare example of an independent production on our airwaves). It's been around for so long I was shocked to realize that its three main hosts are close to their seventies.

Being a television geek of sorts I just had to watch this afternoon's program, which coincides with forty years exactly since the show premiered. It wasn't much, but that's expected - they'd reserve the big celebrations for a Saturday, surely. Shorn of all segments (save the return of one, Bulagaan, which was on every day when I was young, and always told me the show's almost over) it celebrated the show's impact on the industry and on the people it's helped, particularly the students they supported exactly ten years ago. So, yeah, it eventually dragged. Shows are longer now, and commercial breaks are even longer.

But then you notice the shirts the cast and crew were wearing, the numbers in front indicating just how long they've been working on the show. Only five of them said "40" - that's for producers Antonio Tuviera and Malou Choa-Fagar, as well as for Tito, Vic and Joey - but there were a lot of double-digit numbers too. It just screamed history at you. It emphasized that they've been around for so long. Again, no memories without that show around. Love it or hate it, it's there. And maybe it'll be there forever, as they put it.

Writing this - aimlessly; again, not meant to be analytical - I realized that this might just be the last landmark anniversary of the show with the three main hosts. Maybe in the next ten years they'll die. That would be weird, you know, when your constants disappear, even if they're not really related to you by blood. I've had that thought a few times before. What if Dolphy dies? And he does, and while you move on, there is an emptiness you don't think about. You think of your memories as "when Dolphy was still alive" and "after Dolphy died". So perhaps soon we'll all have memories of "after Bossing died" or something. But Eat Bulaga! will still be there, I'm sure.

And your responses...

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