Entertainment

HBO’s New Spanish-Language Series Is Exploring Another Widely-Held Love Within Our Culture

There are certain universal similarities throughout the Latinidad that binds us to one another. We don’t mean stereotypes, but things that we honest to goodness all love. For example, our appreciation for cafecito and a rhythmic beat are accurate clichés tied to Latinx folk. Similarly, HBO’s new Spanish-language series is exploring another widely-held love within our culture.

On July 14th, the television network debuted its new series “Los Espookys” and it’s “horror” theme is very close to our hearts.

Twitter / @HBO

“Los Espookys” is a mostly Spanish-language comedy that includes a healthy dose of horror and camp. Created by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen, the series takes place in an undisclosed city in Latin America. It follows a group of friends —Renaldo, Andrés, Úrsula and Tati — as they turn their hobby of horror and special effects into a business of their very own creation.

While the show’s mix of comedy and horror is completely engaging, “Los Espookys” is also groundbreaking. As mentioned, the series is mostly in Spanish with English subtitles. The portions that aren’t in Español utilize slang and English with Spanish subtitles to communicate to its audience. For a large network like HBO to carry a Spanish language series and air it in primetime is a huge deal. Even more, it reflects how much confidence the “Game of Thrones” network has in the new show.

The premiere of “Los Espookys” opens with a super intense quinceanera. If you think you’ve been to some scary quinces before, just wait until you see this spook-tastic party. As it turns out, everything from the entrails cake to the mutilated waiters is the work of Renaldo and his crew. The party impresses everyone, including Renaldo’s uncle, Tio Tico (played by Armisen). Expressing his support, his uncle encourages the spooky connoisseur to pursue his passion — even if that passion is monsters and mayhem.

The friends get the chance to do just that when the local priest makes an unusual request of the group’s special skills.

Twitter / @HBOPR

Episode One also reveals more about the group of self-proclaimed “horror technicians.” The black-clad unofficial leader of the group is Renaldo and his life-long friend is Andrés. The electric blue-haired Andrés is the heir to a chocolate company. Called the “Prince of Chocolate,” he is a genuinely intriguing dude with dramatic past. (Note the intense telenovela music that plays whenever he gets contemplative.)

Rounding out the group is a pair of unusual sisters. Úrsula is a dental hygienist with the soul of an artist who is happiest when she’s making something terrifying. Her sister is the odd and unintentionally funny Tita. We first meet Tita when she is hand-spinning the blades of an electric fan to cool down her boss, the priest. Fortunately for us, she only gets more bizarre as the episode goes on.

The cast delivers some great lines but that’s not the only thing that makes “Los Espookys” so entertaining. Improbable situations, subtle humor, and references to popular Latinx culture all add to the series’s appeal, too.

However, it’s the focus on the characters’ love of horror that will really resonate with Latinx viewers — and for a valid reason.

Twitter / WigWurq

Whether it’s the scary legends of La Llarona y El Cucuy or the movies of Guermillo del Toro, the Latinidad loves horror. After all, we have an entire holiday completely devoted to honoring the dead. If you need additional proof of this love, look no further than our children — the future of our culture.

In early June 2019, 3-year-old Lucia Brown went viral for her very scary birthday theme. The birthday girl insisted on a party that included Valak, the satanic sister from “The Nun.” It wasn’t just Lucia that enjoyed the theme; her friends also painted their face in black and gave into the darkness.

Yet, a love of horror isn’t something we simply grow out of; it grows with us.

Twitter / @BlairGuild

When we become teens and start to explore our own independence, we strike out towards our own styles. This often means we explore music and clothing to find what best suits us. In these two subjects, we still see marked examples of our cultural love of horror.

The Emo and Goth subcultures have been notably popular with Latinx teens and young adults since its birth. Both categories are usually associated with teens who are not of color and can appear to be at odds with the colorful traditions of the Latinidad. However, there’s something about the Emo and Goth lifestyles that resonate with Latinx folk.

These categories are often hard to describe but most people can place the look when they see it. Both Emo and Goth subgroups focus on self-expression by embracing dark fashions and the mentality of “the individual.” These subcultures also incorporate a healthy dose of horror — using zombies, monsters and the occult in their fashion and art.

Music is the heart of the Emo and Goth subcultures and is what most links the Latinidad to the lifestyle.

Twitter / @missbreton
Twitter / @_smromero

Emo and Goth music often explore dark and emotional topics in their lyrics and evoke feeling with their music. Bands like Morrissey, Joy Division and The Cure led the way for this type of music in the 80’s and 90’s. Later, groups including AFI, My Chemical Romance and The Used became the modern voice of their genre.

For these bands, Morrissey especially has become beloved to Latinx Goths and Emos. Maria Hinojosa’s exploration of this love — entitled “Goths: Latinos on the Dark Side” is an interesting episode of Latino USA that explores this topic.

In it, a guest explains, “For whatever reason, Latinos love Morrissey and no one really knows why. I think it’s the melodrama.”

It could be argued that melodrama is also the reason the Latinidad loves horror.

Many have expressed a sense of community in finding these subgenres so maybe that’s the real reason Latinx folk feel so at home with them.

Twitter / @llavvves

Often times, Latinos and Latinas feel excluded from the larger communities we’re a part of. Sometimes we’re marginalized by income level. Sometimes it’s our nationality or citizen status that isolates us from others. We can even be excluded from others within our own Latinx community.

However, a shared appreciation of the Emo and Goth subgenres and all things horror unites us in a mutual love. In a world where we can feel so alone, we can go to a Guermillo del Toro film and feel connected. When feeling as though no one understands us, we can listen to Morrissey and hear our feelings in his words.

In this way, “Los Espookys” also has the potential to unite our Latinidad with something we’ll love. Though we’ve only seen one of the six episodes of this season, the response online has been more than positive. Obviously, the hilarious script combined with the characters’ love of horror makes for a combination that audiences relate to. We can’t wait to see what spooky surprises “Los Espookys” has in store for us still.

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Ellen DeGeneres Finally Addressed Those Toxic Workplace Allegations In Her Show’s Season Premiere

Entertainment

Ellen DeGeneres Finally Addressed Those Toxic Workplace Allegations In Her Show’s Season Premiere

TheEllenShow / Youtube

On Monday, host, and actress Ellen DeGeneres returned to her show for her first episode since her daytime talk show came under investigation for harboring a “toxic” workplace environment. Intent on restoring her sunny reputation, the comedian addressed the allegations head-on with an opening monologue that described her summer as “great” and by issuing an apology that fans have long been waiting for.

Returning to the studio for the show’s season premiere, DeGeneres apologized to those who had been negatively affected while working as part of her staff.

“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation,” DeGeneres admitted. “I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.” The Finding Doy Star went onto explain that she claims “responsibility for what happens at my show.”

Over the summer, soon after the pandemic broke, various former and current staff members of DeGeneres’ show alleged that they had endured harassment, intimidation and racism.

In a report published by BuzzFeed, former employees claimed that the 32-time Daytime Emmy Award winner’s “be kind” persona was “all for show.” After she and various other senior staffers were accused of fostering a toxic work environment, her show’s parent company WarnerMedia issued an apology. Three of the show’s top producers also made an exit.

In response to the allegations, WarnerMedia addressed concerns at the time saying “Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres take the recent allegations around the show’s workplace culture very seriously.” Soon after, in July, DeGeneres issued an email apology to her team and revealed that an internal investigation had been launched.

On Monday, the host explained that after making “the necessary changes,” she and WarnerMedia “had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, the workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.”

She went onto joke about her reputation as the “be kind” lady, and claimed that it is “a tricky position to be in.”

“Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in,” she admitted. “So let me give you some advice out there if anybody’s thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it. The truth is I am that person that you see on TV.”

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This Is A Story All About How A Viral Youtube Video Became The Next ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’

Entertainment

This Is A Story All About How A Viral Youtube Video Became The Next ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’

NBC

That’s right the 90s classic starring Will Smith is being flipped-turned upside down into a dramatic television series.

You might remember a year ago when a creative YouTube trailer of a dramatic version of the beloved series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” went viral. When the original trailer first came out, fans could not stop talking about the accurate POV the series presented of the original NBC comedy. The fresh trailer clipped out the goofy and playful nature that a young Will Smith presented in the original series and revealed a much more dramatic reimagining of the series about a street-wise teen who moved from West Philadelphia to Bel Air, California. The trailer was such a success among fans that it went so far as to capture the attention of the original star of the series.

Now, the series that catapulted Will Smith to stardom is getting a remake.

The new series called “Bel-Air” is described as a “dramatic take” on the former series that ran for six seasons.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new series has been in the works for well over a year after the four-minute trailer went viral last March. The creator behind the series, Morgan Cooper, has been a longtime Fresh Prince fan and directed and posted the trailer which reimagined the series with much darker undertones. Cooper will produce the series alongside the original Will Smith. He will also co-write and direct.

What’s more, the new series is headed back home

Just a month ago the repackaged drama is being shopped to streamers and will be co-produced by Smith’s Westbrook Studios and the original producer of the series: Universal TV.

According to The Hollywood Reporter Peacock, Netflix and HBO Max were some of the top streamers bidding on the series. “HBO Max is the current streaming home for the original series,” THR reports. “Bel-Air is described as an hourlong dramatic retelling of the beloved ’90s sitcom that leans into the original premise of Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today, while still delivering the swagger and fun nods to the original show.”

Earlier this week, Will Smith announced on his YouTube Channel that the new series has been signed to Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service.

“We have just officially closed the deal with Peacock with an unprecedented two-season order from a pitch,” Smith announced in the video. “I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and that does not happen.”

Speaking about his excitement over seeing his classic series get a modern twist, Smith said “The Carlton character — a Black, young Republican, modern-day? The heat that will be stirred up between these characters. It’s like, what’s the Hilary character in a world of Instagram and social media?”

Besides Smith, the new series will see original participants such as Quincy Jones, Benny Medina, and creators Andy & Susan Borowitzreturn return as executive producers.

You may remember that the original “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” series ran for six seasons from 1990-1996 on NBC. At the time it was produced by Jones and Warner Bros. TV and it starred young Will Smith as the titular character “Will Smith” and featured actors James Avery, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana M. Ali, Joseph Marcell, Janet Hubert-Whitten and Daphne Maxwell Reid.

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