Entertainment

The Hilariously Dark And Dramatic Cast Of ‘Los Espookys’ Will Make You Jajaja Until Your Side Splits

The representation of Latinos in mainstream television and film comedy in the United States ha dejado mucho que desear, to say the least. From stereotypical and frankly a bit racist characters such as Gloria (Sofia Vergara) in “Modern Family” and Pedro in the cult film “Napoleon Dynamite,” to half-baked personajes like Fez in “That 70s Show”(we assume he was Latino, although it was never clarified!), Hollywood has done a disservice to one of the biggest minorities in the United States (and when we do have a great show like “One Day at a Time,” they cancel it, canijos!). Latinos have become a growing cultural and financial influence in the U.S. entertainment market, and Spanish? A linguistic powerhouse that seems to have no end in sight. Just think about this: more than 41 million people speak Spanish as a first language (about 13% of the population), and los esteits is home to nearly 12 million bilingual Spanish speakers. If you are a TV exec it would be foolish not to consider these staggering figures when commissioning new projects. 

That is why the new 30-minute HBO comedy, “Los Espookys,” spoken primarily in Spanish is such a big deal. “Los Espookys”is a quirky comedy developed by Fred Armisen, Ana Fabrega and Julio Torres, who also happen to be three of the main actors. The show follows a group of horror fans who offer a very unique service: they create scary situations for wealthy clients. The humor is offbeat, just like Fred Armisen’s ode to hipster culture, “Portlandia,” which made us LOL and cringe in equal measureBut of course, there is an added element of amazing Mexi-kitsch: melodrama telenovelero and plenty of references to low budget horror (the episode titles remind us of a good old El Santo movie). The reviews for the show have been great. Fabrega and Torres wrote all episodes and Variety says: “Fabrega and Torres infuse every scene with so many rich and unexpected punchlines that there’s truly no knowing where it might end up, making “Los Espookys” a comedic rarity”. Not bad, eh? 

Here’s who is who in this team of misfits who star in what promised to be the unexpected hit of the year. 

Julio Torres as Andres

Credit: Instagram. @losespookys

Torres, one of the show’s creators, is as young as he is talented. He is a writer for “Saturday Night Live,” so we know that the comedic quality is there! He is merely 32 but already one of the up and coming talents in the industry. He was born in El Salvador and migrated to the United States just ten years ago. And the kid’s got talent: can you imagine writing for the semillero of comedic talent (SNL) and spearheading an HBO show? Remember those “Melania Moments” segments in SNL? Well, Torres wrote them. He started his career in Brooklyn and later with very popular stand-ups on YouTube. His character is also an heir to a chocolate empire. He says of his character: “I personally love high drama as comedy. Playing someone who is so put-upon and just burdened by the drama in his world felt really funny. Me and this character, we’re both very drawn to beauty—like moths to a flame. And we’re very particular. Things have to go a certain way or else they’re not good. I feel like in my worst moments I do behave like that. But a key difference is that Andrés is very passive—at least in the beginning”. 

Get to know him on Twitter: @juliothesquare

Bernardo Velasco as Renaldo

Credit: Instagram. @losespookys

Bernardo Velasco is a Mexican actor best known for his constant presence in his country’s independent film industry. He is best known for his role of Bosco in the film “Museo,” a heist movie co-starred with Gael Garcia Bernal, which tells the story of a highly publicized robbery in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. He has that rugged Mexican look, paisa! Renaldo is the leader of the group, a total fanatic of gore films who takes every case to the extreme. 

Cassandra Ciangherotti as Ursula

Credit: Instagram. @losespookys

Like Bernardo Velasco, Cassandra Ciangherotti is best known for his work in Mexican independent cinema. She has appeared in films like the Netflix dark comedy “Time Share” (watch it as soon as you can, it is an indictment on the cult-like structures of all-inclusive resorts), the horror movie “The Similars” and the teary road trip “Viaje Redondo.” She is also a producer. By the way, she comes from Mexican acting royalty: she is the daughter of late actor Fernando Lujan, and sister of telenovela villain Fernando Ciangherotti. More recently she was part of the cast of the chick flick hit “Solteras.” We are sure she will have a great career in Hollywood… but please, Cassandra, don’t let anyone typecast you! 

Get to know her on Instagram: @cassandraciangherotti

Ana Fabrega as Tati

Credit: Instagram. @losespookys

At just 27, Ana Fabrega has already established a name for herself as a stand-up comedian. We can actually say that she is a star of the social media generation: she first gained notoriety for her short, quirky and frankly weird Twitter videos. And she is not afraid to get political, mainly supporting women like Elizabeth Warren (see here!). She was born in Arizona and then moved to New York. She started doing stand up and el resto es historia. Long story short: Fred Armisen identified her amazing talent and she is now a member of “Los Espookys!” The role in this new HBO show seems to fit her perfectly. She told New Now Next: “I’ve always liked the idea of work giving your life meaning. So I wanted to play someone who was struggling to find meaning within herself and turning to work to satisfy herself. And in some ways, that’s really real, to me anyways. Because I’m deeply unsatisfied.” Funny and true! We love Ana, she has that Chaplinesque presence that not many contemporary comedians have. 

Get to know her on Twitter: @anafabregagood

Fred Armisen as Tico

Credit: Instagram. @losespookys

This super funny dude, whose full name is Fereydun Robert “Fred” Armisen, is a total legend in the industry. He was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1966. He was a cast member of Saturday Night Live for nine years (2002 to 2013)! He then created the beloved show “Portlandia,”in which he equally made fun of and had fun with hipster culture in Portland. “Portlandia”brought him worldwide fame and Emmy nominations. His madrecita santa, Mirabal Level, was born in Venezuela. His paternal grandfather is Korean, so Fred is truly a son of a globalized world! We guess that his multicultural upbringing led him to champion this oddball show. Get to know him on Instagram: @sordociego

David Schwimmer, The Actor Who Played Ross In Friends, Defended The Show After Backlash Over Insensitivity And Lack Of Diversity

Entertainment

David Schwimmer, The Actor Who Played Ross In Friends, Defended The Show After Backlash Over Insensitivity And Lack Of Diversity

Warner Bros. Television Distribution

“Friends” is loved by everyone. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never spent an entire day on the sofa, binge-watching the 90s comedy. But it’s safe to say that some of the jokes, punchlines, and themes of the show wouldn’t have been very well received in 2020 —aka some of the show’s storylines have been regarded as more than a little problematic. Here are some examples. 

“Friends” originally aired in the 90s —but with Netflix reviving the craze for the show a few years ago, millennial viewers noticed a few insensitive punchlines.

The show was on air since 1994 and up until 2004. But since “Friends “started streaming on Netflix just a few years ago, modern day fans have found issues with the way the show depicts and handles some issues —like its lack of diversity for instance, or its depiction of women and LGBT people. 

Pretty much everything about “Fat Monica,” for example.

The whole ‘Fat Monica’ storyline fed into the media’s perpetuated image of overweight individuals as punchlines and nothing more. She only became a “worthy” character after she lost the weight, or at least that’s how the show made it seem.

Exhibit B. The treatment of Chandler’s trans dad.

Chandler’s homophobia and jokes about his transgender parent were awful. While the addition of a proud gay character in a show during the 90s was a huge step forward in television, they totally misrepresented the community. The show conflated transgender people and drag queens. In trying to expose and dismantle some prejudices, they also perpetuated others.

The objectification of women by the male characters

There’s a Thanksgiving episode where Ross and Joey are trying to leave so they can go and meet Joey’s good looking roommate and her dancing friends. And just like this one, there are many other episodes in which “the boys” spend the whole show trying to think up ways to trick women into sleeping with them —in this particular episode, Joey literally calls the women “objects” —and I’m triggered.

Joey’s sexism usually went unchecked—and he was downright creepy a lot of times.

Most of Joey’s scenes revolved around women —and a lot of them are problematic. Sure, he had his good and sweet moments, but it’s super problematic that he can’t remember who he’s slept with, or how he makes his roommates make breakfast for his conquest and then dump them for him. His roommate’s search was also awful: “Female, non-smoker, non-ugly.” —Seriously?

The constant examples of fragile masculinity.

The male characters frequently had to make a HUGE issue out of their fragile masculinity. Here’s an example for you: In the episode where Chandler moves in with Monica, she has him making cedar sachets with old pantyhose. Chandler asks to leave to go do “guy stuff.” He then finds Joey learning to knit and Ross applying face powder to try and minimize the contrast of his overly bleached teeth. He leaves in disgust. Later, after pointing out all the feminine touches Joey’s new female roommate has applied to the old apartment, Chandler points out that Joey is turning into a woman. “Why would you say that? That’s just mean,” asks Joey. “Now I’ve upset you? What did I say?” replies Chandler. “It’s not what you said. It’s the way you said it… Oh, my God! I’m a woman!” exclaims Joey in disgust —*ALL THE EYEROLLS*

Ross has been one of the most criticized characters.

The character of Ross has seen a lot of criticism, for his dismissal of the importance of consent, his possessiveness over women, the casual anti-gay comments and more. 

Even the show creators have admitted to feeling uncomfortable with some scenes. 

The creators spoke about their regrets at Tribeca Film Festival’s “Friends” 25th anniversary. When asked by the audience if there were storylines that they regret, Kauffman had a couple of examples ready: “the one when Phoebe starts dating her sister Ursula’s stalker, played by David Arquette (“we did a lot of rewriting on that to make it work”).” “It’s much harder for me to enjoy the good moments when there are moments in it where I’m going, ‘Oh my God, we let that happen? We did that,'” she explained.

Meanwhile, co-creator, David Crane, admitted he doesn’t remember a lot of specific scenes and jokes after working on 10 seasons 15-25 years ago, said that when he does stumble upon an episode, he’ll occasionally wonder, “Wow, really? We went with that?” “There are some that are better than others,” he said.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, “Friends” star David Schwimmer who played Ross, said he”doesn’t care” about the backlash, because he believes it comes from the show being taken out of the context of its time.

When asked about the backlash that the show went through after its Netflix renaissance, the actor said; “I don’t care.” A few articles and several Twitter threads suggested that the show’s jokes hadn’t aged well, like Chandler worrying about seeming gay, or jokes about Monica’s weight. “The truth is also that show was groundbreaking in its time for the way in which it handled so casually sex, protected sex, gay marriage, and relationships. The pilot of the show was my character’s wife left him for a woman and there was a gay wedding, of my ex and her wife, that I attended.”

“Friends” is a product of the pre-“woke” era when it comes to race, too. 

“Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” Schwimmer says. “But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.

Critics Are Left Scratching Their Heads After the Academy Failed to Nominate JLo For Her Role in “Hustlers”

Entertainment

Critics Are Left Scratching Their Heads After the Academy Failed to Nominate JLo For Her Role in “Hustlers”

STXfilms

The Academy may not think Jennifer Lopez is worthy of an Oscar, but she’ll always be the winner in our hearts. On Wednesday morning, the 92nd annual Academy Awards were announced, leaving fans breathless as they waited to hear the name of Jennifer Lopez called among the nominees for “Best Supporting Actress”. Unfortunately, fans were left disappointed (and some furious) as the Puerto-Rican triple-threat was shut-out from the list of names.

Entering Oscar season, a Lopez nomination for her role in “Hustlers” was considered a sure-thing. Since the movie’s release, critics praised Lopez for her star-turn as savvy and maternal stripper Ramona in the heist drama. “Whether shaking her booty for braying patrons, philosophizing cynically about the American way or letting tenderness seep through her money-mad veneer, Lopez’s Ramona exudes power,” said NPR critic John Powers. “She’s the sun around which…the whole movie orbits.”

Not only did critics anticipate Lopez receiving a nomination, many were even expecting her to all-out win in the competitive category.

2019 was Lopez’s year to truly shine. Not only had she re-established herself as a force to be reckoned with as a serious actress, she also cemented her status as a global icon with her announcement as the co-headliner for the 2020 Superbowl, along with fellow Latina, Shakira. Not only that, she also got engaged to long-time boyfriend Alex Rodriguez in 2019, and announced that she was the face of Versace’s 2020 campaign in January. Lopez had never been more on top of the world.

There is much speculation swirling in Hollywood circles as they try to piece together why Lopez was so blatantly snubbed from the much-deserved recognition. Critics are theorizing that “Hustlers” as an Oscar film was too flashy and sexy to be taken seriously. Others are saying that Lopez’s celebrity status prevented her peers from recognizing her theatrical talent. And of course, there is a vocal contingent saying the Academy snubbed Lopez because she is a woman of color. 

To make matters worse, Lopez wasn’t the only person to be marginalized in the historically white male-dominated playing field. Female directors were completely shut-out from the race as well.

And although there were more female directors in 2019 than ever before, the Academy still refused to reconigze all the good work they are doing. Female directors like Greta Gerwig and Marielle Heller (for “Little Women” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, respectively) were lauded for their directorial prowess, but were nonetheless passed over in favor of old favorites like Martin Scorcsese (“The Irishman”) and Quentin Taratino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”). 

Throughout the awards season, Hollywood executives complained of low-attendance for female-directed movies as well as ones starring people of color (notable examples being “Queen and Slim” and “Little Women”). ”I don’t think that [men] came to the [‘Little Women”] screenings in droves, let me put it that way,” “Little Women” producer Amy Pascal recently told Vanity Fair about her critically-acclaimed film. “And I’m not sure when they got their [screener] DVDs that they watched them.”

Critics are taking the snubs as further proof that The Oscars are not only #sowhite, but also so male.

Although Hollywood insiders recognize the fact that a movie’s worth doesn’t come from arbitrary awards, they also insist that Oscar nominations are symbolic of the prevailing and unconscious biases of the Hollywood establishment. In other words, Hollywood has a diversity problem that transcends the scope of the Oscars. 

But if there is any consolation for the widespread disappointment that fans and critics alike are experiencing after the Oscar nominations, it’s that the backlash to the nominees might stir real actions on the part of Hollywood insiders. It’s hard to talk about wanting change for so long without committing to doing it yourself. 

Naturally, Twitter users had some strong opinions about this year’s Oscar nominations. 

If there’s one place on the internet where people go to vent their frustration loudly and publicly, it’s Twitter. 

Of course, the “I don’t know her” jokes were frequent and plenty.

Sadly, this GIF works too well. We actually think that the entire history of this meme was leading up to this moment.

This person pointed out how the only person of color nominated was for playing a slave. As usual.

FACTS. Yes, we love Cynthia Erivo, but there’s more to the black experience than being a slave.

People were revealing the many ways they were paying tribute to their queen.

Honestly, this one is bigger honor than any stupid award can provide.

This person called out the Academy for the obvious discrimination against people of color.

Coincidence? I think not.