At this moment, one of the most frustrating things on the Mexican tv is that the good actors/writers are banned or underestimated. It’s the same problem with singers. Only a few people can perform freely while there are lots of people with a great talent that can’t perform on tv.
I want to tell you about a special case.
We already know that television is like a mafia, where female singers and actresses usually need to be a daughter of a rich powerful man, or to marry one of them to be able to perform on tv.
But what can you do if you don’t want to surrender to the system?
There is a woman, her name is Mara. She is an actress, a singer, a writer and a comedian. But she never received the deserved support from the main t.v. company. More than 10 years ago, she tried to get a place on television again and again, without a success. She is great at her job. People love her shows but there is someone at the tv company who doesn’t like her. There are several possibilities… but she did something that people at the t.v. didn’t like. Actually, people talk about some kind of “arbitrary ban”.
A few years ago she came back with a new project. She wasn’t alone. She had a whole team of great comedians too. After being rejected several times, she knew every excuse that managers use to reject the projects. She tried to cover any possibility so the company wouldn’t say no to her.
The company said that they didn’t have money to invest on her project, and she said she would pay for everything, she would do the castings, get the sponsors and do anything else. She was so sure about the success of her project, that they would be forced to keep her on tv.
There wasn’t any other really-good comedy show. So at the end they accepted to do it. There is a rumor that the company’s manager told her: “You will be back on tv, but you can’t say a word about the ban. If you say anything, you will get a worse ban”.
The show was made by Mara and another actor named Ariel. They had the main roles, they wrote the dialogues, they created the characters together and they made the promotions and interviews together. Nobody knew who he was, and she was almost forgotten by most people. Since the interview you can know that they would make a great show, because the interview was very funny itself. They looked so interesting. In the interview, the MC asked her:
MC: A long time ago you decided to retire. Did you regret that decision and that’s why you are back? What have you been doing all this time? It has been a long time since the last time you were on tv.
Mara: I was happily working when I met this man. We fell in love and got married. We were in the middle of an existential crisis. So we decided to move to India as a spiritual research. We lived happily for years. We even had children on India. They had a very nice childhood, playing on the streets, mounting elephants, climbing on trees, having monkeys as pets, swimming on the Ganges River. They had a unique experience and they are so thankful for that. We are very proud too. Now they are growing up and we thought that it would be better for them to go back to their roots. At the end they are Mexicans and they should know their country, master their language and meet this culture. Once you live in a different country, you can analyze better your own culture. The show is about the Mexican culture, but soon or later we will put some details of the Indian culture. It is a beautiful culture that we adopted after so many years living there. It is amazing to find the difference between both cultures and at the same time you find that we are all humans and we are the same. In India or here, mothers act the same way, men are all the same, humans face economic problems the same way. Especially if you are comparing 2 third-world countries and realize that actually both are not so “third-world” as people may think. Ariel and I complement each other very well. We want to show that harmony on the show. The story is about 2 people who fall in love and we are in love. We love each other so much.
MC: But at the same time, you play the role of his mother. Can you have the same harmony on that situation?
Ariel: There is no problem on the stage… but sex became weird.
The plot is very common: The interaction between family members on a very Mexican style.
She makes fun of everything and at the same time it is a very deep analysis of the Mexican popular culture. The show became very popular even between the people depicted on the characters.
The family lives on the lower economical class. They live on a building of cheap apartments. The writers make fun of people from the province that move to the capital city thinking that they will become “high class”, but actually they have the same (or worse) lifestyle as they would have on their small towns. Everything is exaggerated and shown on a ridiculous way, but at the end there is more truth that you would imagine.
There is a single mother (Represented by Mara), with 3 children (Not actually children). She is a very, very, very religious woman… with the natural hypocrisy and double standards of morality that religious people usually have.
The older son is on his 30’s. (Represented by Ariel). He is her favorite son and it is very obvious. She really worships her son. She doesn’t let him to do any kind of job. She treats him like a king and tells him all the time that people must treat him the same way. Therefore he is a spoiled child, he does tantrums, he expects people to do anything for him, he is… (What is the word in English? Useless? Good for nothing?). He is selfish, arrogant and conceited. For this reason normal people can’t stand him for more than 5 minutes. At the same time he is not brave enough to start his own projects in life and is very dependent from other people. As somebody who doesn’t do anything the whole day, he has free time to flirt with girls and take care of his appearance (in a non-elegant way).
Note: One of the things she makes fun of people is about their bad taste, as non-so educated people, they use to have bad taste on clothing, names, music… and partners. She makes fun of the way people talk and their accents. (if you are a Spanish speaker, don’t watch it for a long time, or you may start speaking the same way).
For some reason he decided to move to USA illegally. It is dangerous but lots of people do it… Somehow he wasn’t able to do it. So he lived on the border for six months, doing nothing… The mother, who worships him, after realizing she could “lose” him at any moment, decided not to lose him again. Once he comes back to her, she gets more dominant and overprotective to him. She becomes jealous and is very afraid of him getting married. In addition to this, his personality doesn’t let him to have long-term relationships.
The mother is used to use emotional blackmail, and uses religion as a weapon to have control over the 3 children. She fakes illness, and every time he says something about having a girlfriend, she fakes a heart attack and that kind of things.
Then there is a daughter. She is around 30 years old too. If it is already weird to have a son at that age living with his mother… having 2 children is even weirder.
The girl obviously said “I want to be the very opposite as my mom is”. It causes lots of fights between them. The girl doesn’t believe her mom’s “illness” and is very tired of her emotional blackmail. She doesn’t even call her “mom” anymore and is very rude to her. The girl is very cold and doesn’t trust anybody.
She has a beautiful body, and she uses it to get money. She only dates rich men and takes as much money as she can from them. She has a very bad reputation. The girl and her mother have an “unspoken pact”. The girl gives her mother enough money, so the mother doesn’t need to work, and the mother acts like she doesn’t know how her daughter earns that money. At the same time, if the girl brings money, the mother cleans, cooks and let her daughter to do nothing at home.
The mother works very hard at home and really worries about her children. She loves them in a very imperfect way. Despite her efforts, she is getting old and sometimes needs help. For those hard jobs, when they need a man at home, she uses her younger son.
He is a teenager. He is a good boy, who studies very hard. He always tries to become a better person and to educate himself more than the education he receives at school. His mom is very severe to him and at the end it is a good thing, because he becomes smarter and stronger than his brothers. Also, he doesn’t fall for his mother’s emotional blackmail.
There is a fun fact about him.
The main characteristic of the family is their curly hair. The mom has curly hair, the daughter has curly hair, the older son has curly hair, but he is so worried about his personal image that he straightens his hair with a flat iron every day.
In Mexico, for some weird reason that I can’t understand or explain, people with curly hair are called “Chino”, which also means “Chinese”. So when they were doing the casting to get the younger son the call said:
“Looking for a guy
Age between 12 and 15
So when they were doing the casting and expecting a guy with curly hair, a Chinese child appeared. And it made them laugh so much that they decided to have him on the show… and the guy is very funny. (Actually I don’t know his name on the show, everybody call shim “Chino”)
He has a best friend, who is a dark/emo/punk boy. That boy always talks about deep topics, dark poetry, fights for the justice, the anarchy and saving the roots of the Mexican culture. The way he talks is very complex, like saying a poem, but at the end he never says anything useful and ends sounding very funny. This is the kind of situation where second characters become funnier than the main characters.
The Chinese guy always makes fun of his friend saying “You wear all that makeup and act like a vampire because you are so ugly that the only thing you have left is to be interesting”. He always makes fun of his friend, because he doesn’t have any problem getting a girlfriend and girls see him as an interesting handsome boy, while his friend is kind of… creepy.
At the same time it is a very good opportunity to make fun of women who do any kind of crazy things when they are young and once they get married and have children they talk like if they were always decent ladies, but there is always something that uncovers the truth (Like having a Chinese son and nobody knows who the father is).
Going back to the story:
In the same building lives a girl (also performed by Mara and the main character). She is around her 30’s too and lives with her grandfather. She was raised in a very religious environment. She is very cheesy, innocent and loves to use quotes found on self-help books. (You know what I mean, the ones that you can find on Facebook). Her friends are the same way and they are always talking about unicorns, rainbows and going to church. She lives in a pink world where everything is positive and nice.
She is very worried because she doesn’t get married and starts to feel old, despite all girls about her age doesn’t even want to get married, but she is old-fashioned. She prays every night for finding a man and getting married. But then she looks so desperate at any man she meets that they run away.
One day she finds a new guy in her building and immediately falls in love with him. In this point the writer makes fun of men who soon or later will look for a woman that reminds them to their mother. So the role of the girl and the role of the mother are played by the same actress. When they meet he thinks “There is something that makes her so beautiful, I can’t explain what is, but I feel like I already know her. Maybe we met on another life… she looks so familiar to me”.
The story is about the relationship between the 2 main characters. She is a girl dreaming about to be a princess and wanting to get married. She finds a guy who is not committed yet (at that age most men are committed or in a serious relationship). She does everything to get him, and when they start the relationship, she finds out that he is very selfish, lazy, with mommy issues, but she sees him as her “last chance” to get married and decides to ignore all those “little details”.
He really likes her, and really falls in love with her, but lives in a permanent struggle between his selfish attitude and the love for her.
Of course, the mother won’t like that relationship and will do anything to keep her son on her side.
The plot is very common and simple, but the dialogues are well done and funny. The show is well done if we remember that she has no support from the company and is paying for everything with her own savings.
The first season was a great success. She was working on the second season, knowing that people really liked her show. Suddenly the show was canceled by the managers of the company. She was fighting for over a year to have her show back and people wanted it too.
She faced so many troubles. The managers approved the second season. She was working on it when suddenly it got cancelled. She got the approval again and was canceled again. She started again, and even after the promotions, it got canceled. People found out that and got mad. Then the managers approved the show again. It started and after a couple of chapters, got canceled again.
After so much effort, the second season was aired. Then people expected a third season. She got tired and on an interview she said:
“For years I was fighting to go back on tv. I thought that once people could see my work, the managers would realize how good I am. I was so sure that I would stay on tv because I made so much money for them. That’s what they want right? Actually, there are things more important than money. Despite all the money I can get for them, they still don’t want me on tv. First I was so stubborn and my goal was to be back on tv. Every time they rejected me I felt so sad, really depressed. When I was back on tv I was suffering so many unnecessary humiliations. I felt so hated and left out. I was working with them, but never was a part of them. Then I realized that managers are like that with everybody. There are only 2 kinds of people on tv: The oppressors and the oppressed. I will never have enough power to be an oppressor and I don’t want to. Everybody is mean to everybody and there is no need to bear that. If I can do shows on theaters, where I am my own boss… why should I be there facing the same humiliations I had before? I have everything ready for the third season of the show and I would like to make it… but I won’t fight for it anymore. A tv show does not worth all the suffering. It is more important to take care of myself because even if I try to stay strong, soon or later it would hurt me. It’s the same as marriage, everybody wants it because they have heard beautiful love stories, but once you analyze the truth and face reality, you will not want to do it”.
The rest of the cast wasn’t banned, so they had so much work. They had shows, dramas, theater and everything they wanted, even using the characters of her show.
Once an MC asked Ariel: What is the secret to have such success on tv?”. While laughing he said: “You just have to promise the managers that you won’t support Mara. The more far away you stay from her, the more shows you will have”.
People were so shocked. What kind of husband would say that? Then he kept saying: “You may see me as a traitor, but please understand my situation. I am a single father and I have to work, I need money for my children.”
And peoples said “What do you mean? Did you divorce her? Why did you keep the children? Isn’t her paying child support?”
And he laughing said: “No. I am a single father. I don’t have children with her. I don’t want to get married. I just adopted a baby, I am like Ricky Martin”.
So people understood it like “I am gay like Ricky Martin”.
At this point people still don’t know what happened. It looks like they were never a couple but they faked it to make the show more real. The story about India was completely fake and everybody believed it, even me D=
A couple of days ago I watched the show again and I was wondering… How weird it would look to foreign people? For non-Spanish speakers… would it be easy to understand or people would get completely lost? Would they find similarities? It would be a very interesting sociological study.
If I want to make the sociological study, would it be better to watch the first chapter?
Or my favorite chapter?