Entertainment

21 Times Netflix’s “Narcos” Got It Wrong

Netflix’s television drama “Narcos” did a lot of things right. For one, it was spoken almost fully in Spanish, which is a big step forward in terms of inclusivity (don’t you just hate it when characters speak in broken English with a supposed Latino accent?). Its producers, led by Brazilian José Padilha, did extensive archival research to be able to tell the story of an important period in Colombian history as accurate as possible.

But, and this is a big but, television dramas tend to change a few crucial facts in order to be more compelling. We also need to remember that the United State’s involvement in the drug war has been sometimes controversial, to say the least. Screenwriters sometimes need to be careful not to be overtly political or controversial.

READ: 21 Wow Facts About Pablo Escobar

Despite all the research, here are some things that “Narcos” didn’t get just quite right.

If you are going to deal with a country’s history, don’t take so many liberties…

Credit: Narcos / Netflix.

The producers warn us right away: dramatization kills accuracy. This is fine if you are telling the story of, I don’t know, the ancient Roman Empire perhaps? But misleading audiences on basic facts about Colombia’s history is downright patronizing. Thousands of people were killed in this conflict. Show some respect, hombre!

Also, don’t take it easy on proven mass murderers.


Credit: Narcos / Netflix.

The text you see in the picture refers to Pinochet! In its first episode, “Narcos” tells the story of how Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet stopped his country from being the epicenter of the drug trade. However, basically giving him a pass is simply wrong.

The misrepresentation of Colombia’s wonderful people.

Credit: NarcosNetflix.

In one of the voiceover lines of the show, agent Murphy solemnly preaches: “God created Colombia and made it so beautiful, he had to fill it with bad people.” Come again? Not cool, not cool at all.

READ: 13 Hollywood Movies That Misrepresented Latin America (and why it matters)

How Colombian women are represented on the show is not at all accurate.

 
Credit: NarcosNetflix

Granted, the narco world is pretty much male-dominated, but that doesn’t mean that women can’t have important roles, especially in the matriarchal Latin American social structures. In “Narcos,” however, women lack agency. Wives, sex workers, guerrilla fighters, news reporters…. most of them are used as narrative accessories by the scriptwriters.

Many scenes make a spectacle out of human tragedy.

Credit: Narcos /  Netflix

Yes, we know Colombia experienced unseen amounts of violence during the golden age of the cartels, but the Netflix show often seems to enjoy this violence a bit too much. We are okay with some gore in horror movies, but the people who died in the conflict have families and seeing their loved one’s deaths shot in such a spectacular fashion can bring back traumatic memories.

…For example, that infamous motorcycle scene.


Credit: Narcos / Netflix.

In episode 1 of season 3, Pacho Herrera and his group of thugs tie up a man’s legs and arms to four Harley motorcycles and then dismember him by accelerating. According to the real Jorge Salcedo, a former Cali cartel member, the truth is slightly different but less spectacular: they used two Land Cruisers.

The extent of Pablo Escobar’s power was very much exaggerated.


Credit: Narcos / Netflix.

Sometimes Hollywood producers take A LOT of liberties when portraying other countries’ politics. In “Narcos,” the Colombian government is shown as completely powerless against the cartels, when in fact that wasn’t entirely true. Exaggeration goes a long way.

READ: Real Life Narcos vs. TV Characters

The portrayal of the M19 was false.

Credit: Narcos / Netflix.

This Marxist guerilla group is portrayed as a bunch of Marxist hippies living in the jungle who are naive and unprepared. Truth is they were the seed of Colombia’s guerrilla movements and its operations were much more sophisticated than the show leads us to believe.

Pablo Escobar’s accent…also fake.


Credit: Narcos / Netflix


The most obvious has also been the most criticized. Brazilian actor Wagner Moura did a great job imitating Escobar’s physical appearance, but even though he tried hard, he just didn’t get the Colombian accent quite right — even if he delivered some memorable phrases like… “Plata o plomo.”

…And so was his wife Tata’s…

Credit: Narcos / Netflix

Mexican actress Paulina Gaitán plays the boss’ partner in life. She is Mexican and this is clear from the start: even though she tries hard to impersonate a Colombian woman, her accent betrays her.

…And Gacha’s!


Credit: Narcos / Netflix

We all love proud Latino actor Luis Guzman, but the Puerto Rican just doesn’t get it quite right. His character Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha is supposed to be a proud Colombian but he honestly sounds like someone from Queens or San Juan! If you are not Colombian you probably didn’t notice, but these things matter for the sake of authenticity.

How Escobar got the Bolivariana sword was not accurate.

Credit: Independiente Medellin. Official logo

According to Escobar’s son, the capo did not take Simon Bolivar’s sword by force when one of the M19 leaders was captured but was given to him as a thank you gift by the guerrilla. 

Pablo Escobar was rooting for the wrong team.


Credit: Narcos / Netflix.

According to Pablo’s son Sebastian, the drug lord didn’t root for the Atletico Nacional, but for the Deportivo Independiente Medellin. We Latinos take soccer seriously.  

The escape to Germany shouldn’t have gone down this way.


Credit: Narcos / Netflix

According to Escobar’s son Sebastian, who released a list of 28 factual errors before season 3 was released, Escobar’s mother didn’t travel with Tata and the kids to Germany, where they sought asylum. In fact, Sebastian argues that Escobar’s own mother betrayed him.

Escobar’s relationship with his parents


Credit: Narcos / Netflix

According to Sebastian, Pablo Escobar never disrespected his parents or had a tense, confrontational relationship with them as the show leads us to believe particularly concerning the father. 

Spoiler: The wedding bomb was made up.

Credit: Narcos / Netflix

According to Sebastian, Escobar never planted a bomb at the wedding of one of the Cali gentlemen’s daughters. Even though Escobar killed hundreds of people, according to his son he abided by the code of honor that dictates that family members should not be targeted.

Javier Peña did not take down the Cali Cartel.

Credit: Narcos / Netflix

Perhaps Pedro Pascal was too charming for the producers to let go because the real DEA agent was not part of the ground operations that took down the Cali godfathers.

Pacho Herrera was not openly gay

Credit: Narcos / Netflix

One of the most surprising scenes in season 3 came courtesy of one of the Cali gentlemen: Pacho Herrera. In it, he dances with his male partner at a bar. Fact is Herrera never came out openly according to some sources. You can praise the scene for its inclusivity, but not for being accurate.

The narco culture is not as glamorous as they made it seem.

Credit: Narcos. Netflix.


Let’s not forget that narcos has caused pain and loss of life all throughout Latin America. Narco telenovelas like “El señor de los cielos” have portrayed drug dealers as fancy, beautiful and cultured. We would think that a show like “Narcos” would escape this, but that is not the case, especially with the portrayal of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, “El señor de los cielos” himself, who is played by Jose Maria Yazpik.

The “White Savior complex” was not needed here.

Credit: Narcos / Netflix

Hollywood tends to use white characters that “save” developing countries from themselves. CIA and DEA agents in “Narcos” are portrayed as incorruptible individuals who often use devious means to justify their noble ends. This strikes us as very, very naive.

Escobar’s hippos are alive and well. 

Credit: Narcos / Netflix

One of the most outrageous stories to come out of the Colombian drug wars is the fact that Escobar owned dozens of wild and exotic animals. The story goes that some of them were abandoned after the capo was captured. Most died, but the hippos survived and are now living wildly in Colombia. Seeing a bit of that beyond the zebras on the opening credits would have been nice.

Producers Finally Confirmed The Fate Of ‘Luis Miguel, La Serie’ But Will Hardcore Fans Be Happy

Entertainment

Producers Finally Confirmed The Fate Of ‘Luis Miguel, La Serie’ But Will Hardcore Fans Be Happy

luismiguellaserie / Twitter

Not only is ‘Luis Miguel’ the series hitting the airwaves across Latin America (meaning it’s no longer being restricted to Netflix), but producers of the hit show also confirmed a second season. According to Gato Grande Productions, the company behind ‘Luis Miguel’, the second season will return with new episodes at the start of 2020.

The second season has been confirmed and will hit Netflix in early 2020.

Credit: @sabio28 / Twitter

Translation: The second season of ‘Luis Miguel, the series’ will return in 2020. Miguel Alemán Magnani said that LuisMiguel himself will review the scripts of each and every episode and in the coming months they’ll start filming. In the first quarter of 2020 there will be new episodes of ‘Luis Miguel’ in Netflix. 🇲🇽

Producers told Reforma that “Luis Miguel has just finished a very important tour of the United States. He is resting and soon he’ll begin to review all the episodes of season two very carefully. They’ll start filming at the end of the year … The first quarter of the year, we are going to start airing.”

This was huge news for fans who had been waiting for literally a year for news – any news – of a possible second season.

Credit: @elnacionalred / Twitter

The first season of ‘Luis Miguel’ came to and end on July 15, 2018 – so it’s been literally a year without any news. Fans have been waiting in absolute suspense.

And it was only just recently that US fans of the series were able to start watching on Netflix.

Meaning there’s going to be a whole other group of wildly obsessed, dedicated fans.

Like seriously, the series just became available on US Netflix fom yesterday (July 16).

Fans across Twitter were beyond excited for the hotly anticipated news.

Credit: @poetjong90 / Twitter

Definitely going to add this to my Netflix and Chill plans. Will you be watching it?

READ:

Here’s Why Netflix’s ‘Mr. Iglesias’ Is So Important For Students Of Color Right Now

Entertainment

Here’s Why Netflix’s ‘Mr. Iglesias’ Is So Important For Students Of Color Right Now

Credit: Mr. Iglesias / Netflix

Throughout the history of American film and television, there have been some great teachers that have inspired audiences. We can think, of course, of Sidney Poitier in “To Sir, With Love,” which broke down racial stereotypes in U.S. popular culture, or of Robin Williams and his carpe diem philosophy in “Dead Poet’s Society.” “Dangerous Minds”showcased the many talents of Michele Pfeiffer as an inspiring teacher dealing with a tough neighborhood. And, of course, our own Edward James Olmos in “Stand and Deliver.” All those roles are pretty intense, and students are often portrayed as troubled minds who need rescuing. 

That is why Netflix’s new show, “Mr. Iglesias,” is a fresh and welcome variation on the “inspiring teacher” Hollywood trope. It follows the life in a Long Beach school where students of all ethnicities learn from Gabriel Iglesias, an amazing maestro that dances salsa and is an endless source of wittiness. In fact, the real Iglesias attended this very school, Woodrow Wilson High School. The show has gotten positive reviews. Dan Fienberg from The Hollywood Reportersays: “Would I like for Mr. Iglesias to be funnier? Or, at times, especially funny at all? Yes. But I’m a sucker for ‘well-meaning,’ especially when it’s warm and inclusive.” Merrill Barr at Forbeshighlights that much of the show rests on the broad shoulders of the lead character: “Perhaps it is just due to the animated nature of its lead to sell what would otherwise be a rather bland sitcom, but Mr. Iglesias works. It’s funny. Hacky at times, but funny nonetheless.” But judge by yourself: we promise some hard LOLing! 

It serves us some harsh historical truths right from the beginning.

Credit: Mr. Iglesias / Netflix

As we said, the show follows the adventures of Gabriel Iglesias, a history teacher who struggles to serve some truths to his students in the United States educational system. The show is funny as hell thanks to the incandescent personality of its lead actor, comedian Gabriel Iglesias (how meta!), but that doesn’t preclude it from being fiercely political. In the first episode, suggestively titled “Some Children Left Behind”, the show delves into what the struggles of the educational system mean for the lives of students and teachers. 

He teaches History by keeping his students engaged with pop culture references.

Credit: Mr. Iglesias / Netflix

Seriously, we all would love to have a teacher like Mr. Iglesias. He is not only a source of smart interpretations of racial and class relationships in the United States but also una fuente of wisdom when it comes to cool pop culture references. Seriously, if all maestros were like him, maybe we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in right now as a country and as humankind. 

And being a Latino teacher in the age of Trump… of course, he went there right away!

Credit: Mr. Iglesias / Netflix

OMG, Mr. Iglesias found a way to basically use a picture of POTUS as a piñata, make fun of his hairdo and bring up his Cheeto complexion, all in a few seconds of comedic bliss. When politics are turbulent and violent towards minorities, comedy is one of the best weapons to fight back and have una carcajada en el intento. 

The show was created by Kevin Hench.

Credit: Mr. Iglesias / Netflix

He is an experienced writer and producer, and his credits include the super funny comedy “Last Man Standing,” and the Latino-themed legal drama “Cristela.” No wonder him and Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias found some common ground to create the comedic masterpiece that is “Mr. Iglesias,” which like all good satire uses current events to uncover deeper truths. 

The show looks at the endemic inequalities in the educational system.

Credit: Mr. Iglesias / Netflix

Let’s face it: many Brown and Black kids have systematic obstacles from the get-go. Many of them work from an early age and have to basically deal with the very adult juggling act of home/school/job. This is addressed in the show, with the top student, Marisol (who quotes Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, BTW!), being on the verge of being expelled because of poor attendance when she is helping out in her family business. This is a very familiar situation for thousands of first and second generation students.

There is a white teacher, Mrs. Abigail Spencer, who is just oh so naive! 

Credit: Mr. Iglesias / Netflix

The show doesn’t demonize white characters, it just paints them as… well, sort of naive and protected by bubble wrap. Mr. Iglesias tells her: “Abby, you are white, you can do anything”. She is a funny woman from North Dakota who just needs to get in touch with reality a bit more. Well, there is also a preeeety borderline racist football coach who says “your people” constantly. Of course, es un gringazo

The show is binge material and is getting some committed fans.

Credit: blingeandbrilliant / Instagram

The show has some amazing rhythm. Even though the scripts follow a schematic three-act structure and it has some risas grabadas that are frankly very annoying, “Mr. Iglesias”is totally binge-worthy. The episodes run just under 30 minutes and are fast-paced and full of adorable moments. We don’t blame this Instagram user for bringing the whole show in a night…. we wonder they had cara de zombie the next day, eh?

It is hard to predict whether there will be a second season, but we think there will!

Credit: MrIglesiasNetflix / Instagram

Netflix does not usually release viewership numbers, so the second season is not a done deal. We can predict, however, that this show has some legs, and Netflix would take a lot of heat if they cancel yet another Latino-themed show after the criticism they faced when canceling “One Day at a Time.” With the Latino market in the United States and overseas being a clear player in budgeting and projects, we can predict that “Mr. Iglesias”is here to stay. 

Netflix is pretty committed to Gabriel Iglesias, a top Latino talent.

Credit: Netflix

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias has a highly popular stand-up comedy act in “One Show Fits All,” where he talks about the many tribulations of being a person of color in this day and age, as well as some funny Mexican traditions and body positivity. He is not fat, he says, he is simply fluffy. 

Here is what you need to know about Gabriel Iglesias.

Credit: MrIglesiasNetflix / Instagram

He was born Gabriel Jesus Iglesias, in San Diego, so he is a true son of Mexican-American culture. He and his five siblings were raised by a single mom. He spent his childhoods in struggling Californian communities such as Compton, Baldwin Park and lastly Long Beach, where “Mr. Iglesias”is set. His comedic influences are diverse: Paul Rodriguez, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, and the disgraced Bill Cosby.

Recognize his voice from “Padre de familia”, that awesome “Family Guy” special?

Credit: Family Guy / Fox

In 2007, Gabriel Iglesias voiced an entire Mexican family in the hilarious sixth season episode of Family Guy, simply titled “Padre de familia”. And if you are a fan of kitschy films, he also plays a super funny character in the male stripper saga Magic Mike (we just can’t get over how he moves sus lonjas doing a Carmen Miranda impression).

READ: Here Are 20 Reasons Why You Need To Stop Sleeping On Gabriel ‘Fluffy’ Iglesias

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