A Delightfully Silly Show to Close Out Summer
Streaming on HBO | 2019 | TV-MA | 1 Season, 6 Episodes
Genre: Spooky Spoof!
Why We Watched: I'm always looking for something to fill the inevitable hole in my heart when The Office departs Netflix in 2021. So I'm game for any 30-minute episode serial that comes my way. When I first heard about Los Espookys, it was in an Entertainment Weekly article that described it as a "toast to the weirdos." Well, hi 👋. I'm weird. I'm a weirdo. Long story short: I added it to my cue immediately!
You Might Also Like: Not a dang thing is quite like Los Espookys! But executive producer and star Fred Armisen brings a similar brand of comedy to the set as he did for years on Portlandia (on Netflix). Armisen and Carrie Brownstein nail the absurdity of hipster culture in Portland, Oregon, in this sketch comedy series that you should really go ahead and try it if you haven't already.
Where to begin, y'all! This show is weird and wacky. It's spooky. It's brought to you by the comedic executive producers Lorne Michaels (SNL and 30 Rock) and Fred Armisen. It's brilliantly bilingual, switching between English and Spanish with subtitles to help you keep up. I'll try my best not to make this a full-on love letter, but I love this show. I really, really do!
Los Espookys follows four friends in an unnamed Latin American country as they turn their love of horror into a side hustle. The idea takes off after the gore-obsessed-but-endlessly-sunny Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco) decorates his younger sister's quinceañera like it'sNight of the Living Dead. Next thing you know, he and his friends are getting requests for more stunts like that one. They fake an exorcism to up a local priest's street cred, stage a friendly sea monster sighting, and accidentally abduct the American ambassador. Andrés (Julio Torres, SNL writer), a blue-haired broody heir to a chocolate fortune, and the gloomy dental assistant Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherotti) balance out Renaldo’s cheer with their deadpan delivery. And then—in a world apart—there's Úrsula's younger sister Tati (Ana Fabrega), whose naivety and penchant for odd jobs makes her one of the series' funniest characters.
The absurdity of Los Espookys' comedy will grab at your heartstrings. For example, there's a parasitic water demon that lives in Andrés and all she wants is for him to watch The King's Speech so that they can mutually enjoy the Oscar-winning melodrama starring Colin Firth. But the best absurdist projects have something to say about the real world in which they're screened. Los Espookys is hilarious, and it is a smart commentary on Latinx culture, millennial labor, horror fandom, queerness, online dating, multi-level-marketing, and so, so much more.
All those wonderful things aside, it is the writing on this show that makes it truly phenomenal. Armisen, Torres, and Fabrega all share writing credits. Torres is still actively writing for SNL, where Armisen got his start, while stand-up comedian Fabrega is the breakout star of the series. Consider the challenge of writing for a bilingual audience: The jokes have to play in their original language, which is delivered at a rapid-fire pace, and also across subtitles. Even the show's title is a masterclass in this game. Los Espookys migrates with ease from Spanish to English, just like all of the translations. Although American audiences are getting more used to this kind of project, especially in a post–Jane the Virgin world, Los Espookys turns Spanglish slippages and slang up to eleven. And it really, really works.
Los Espookys backlights its characters in camp and sincerity, sunlight and shadows. And good news for fellow (or soon-to-be) fans, HBO just renewed it for Season 2.
Enjoy, friends! This one is an absolute joy to watch.