To whom ‘Eat Bulaga’ belongs?

By Reni M. Valenzuela

The name belongs to where it belongs. It appertains to an emblem or a badge.

Eat Bulaga is more than a TV program, having evolved to become an institution in noontime household entertainment, transcending competitions and enduring one generation in its decades long existence. It has been a consistent top-rating show since its inception in July of 1979 – just as it has grown to be intrinsically a part of the lunch time of ordinary Filipinos for 44 years now.

But what is Eat Bulaga if it is not Tito, Vic and Joey (TVJ)? The program’s endowment/success and popularity is not about an entertainment outfit, management company or broadcast station. Take the three wacky men out of the show and it is not Eat Bulaga. TVJ are not only the originators and pioneers of the show. They are the heart and soul of it.

I am not a fan of Tito, Vic and Joey, but watching the current, recast “Eat Bulaga” on GMA 7 is awkward, seeing the new hosts (capable as they are), much less with a losing presidential candidate who is known for_________ campaign contributions as one of the three men that replaced TVJ – doing a lot of mimicking. “Wackier.”

The people will be surprised (mabubulaga) if TVJ would lose in their legal battle to get what rightfully and morally belongs to them – not just the show title – but including every bit of every single part of the show – its fun, gimmicks, jokes, games, stratagems, etc. All supporting hosts of Eat Bulaga and everything that comes with it as a noontime show are dispensable, but not TVJ.

There is nothing like the original. And there is no such thing as two originals. One must be a mere copycat. Originals are irreplaceable, unbeatable.

By the way, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) which is the government agency handling the legal tussle between TVJ and Television and Production Exponents (TAPE) has in its chief mandate to protect the original, beyond the avarice/covetousness of business people, and the intricacies and subtleties of technicalities or “legalism.” Thus, TVJ have no worries.

Only “legal minds” and the moony may argue that TAPE owns Eat Bulaga. A Facebook post I saw lately suggests something that tells a volume to challenge a childish claim, using a funny caricature as it banners a taunt that says, “Hey TVJ, tell TAPE to just tape their mouths and eat their hearts out.”

Restore “Bulaga” back to “Eat.”