In its more than 50-year run, Sábado Gigante has been a staple in Latino households, with people of all ages recognizing Don Francisco, El Chacal, and La Cuatro as an important part of Saturday nights. The show, which got its start in Chile before moving to Miami, came to an end last night. While it’s going to be sad for some to say goodbye to what has been a fixture in their lives, for others, it’s long overdue to retire an outdated representation of Latin culture and views.

If you want proof that the show is polarizing, here are some takes on the show. We reached out to journalists and other creatives and asked them for their thoughts on Sábado Gigante.

1

"My mom insisted I needed to be on that show and be discovered."

Share a memory associated with the show: Well I know I almost got on the show to perform a song from Christina Aguilera back in like ’98-99. My mom insisted I needed to be on that show and be discovered. -__- WOMP WOMP

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?:  It’s entertainment for a corporate outlet – what I like to call ” wack world” – so let it be what it is. I definitely never really watched it when I was younger, and my perception now that I’m older is that that is for an older, 60+ crowd who don’t know any better. Who cares? We evolve.

Will you tune in to the last episode? NO.

 -Tita Garcia, Remezcla
2

"I'll never forget my conservative grandma telling me to either close my eyes or leave the room..."

la-ca-sabado2_jkzgycnc Share a memory associated with the show: I grew up with my grandparents and Sábado Gigante was a Saturday night staple at my grandparents’ house in Northern California. For as far back as I can remember, I’ll never forget my conservative grandma telling me to either close my eyes or leave the room as soon as the women came out half-naked in their bathing suits, while they danced around Don Francisco.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?: Sábado Gigante influenced generations. I remember watching the show when I was young and now that I’m in my 30s, it’s fascinating to see how much the show has evolved. When you’re young, you’ll watch whatever your parents or grandparents put on TV, as you grow older, you make choices as what you want to watch and Sábado Gigante is that one show that always brings you back to your childhood no matter how old you get.

Will you tune in to the last episode? I’m not going to be able to watch the show, but I am going to DVR it (so millennial of me) and do plan on watching it eventually. It’s the end of an era, how could I not.

-Henry Pacheco, Flama

3

"It was a source of entertainment for many Latinx households over generations..."

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Share a memory associated with the show: Being incredibly unnerved by El Chacal as a child. That dude was scary as fuck.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?:  I’m glad it’s finally over. It was a source of entertainment for many Latinx households over generations but did nothing but reinforce sexist, racist, or patriarchal values typical in our communities.

Will you tune in to the last episode? Hell no.

-Marco Gomez, Remezcla

4

"I haven’t sat through a full episode of in probably a decade, and I wouldn’t even want to."

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Share a memory associated with the show: I have so many memories of watching Sábado Gigante with my family; however, none is more noteworthy as when we went to watch the show live. It was a family event with my mom, dad, brother, cousin, uncles, aunts and grandmother. We brought my abuelita on the show — she’s in love with Don Francisco and thinks he’s just the hottest thing around — so she was thrilled to be in the audience. What she didn’t know, however, was that her son (my uncle), who she hadn’t seen in a long time, would be there, too. But it was all planned, and Don Francisco was involved. My abuela wasn’t just attending; she was a part of the episode. Don Francisco announced the surprise and in came my uncle with a bouquet.

My grandma cried so much, but in minutes she was smiling and laughing, because my other uncle, Papo, was picked to play one of the games. Don Francisco made a song on the spot for him: “Vamos, vamos, Papo. Esta noche te lo vas a ganar,” and he did. My tio won a car that night, and we are still singing the song almost 20 years later.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?: When I think about the variety show, I first think of the night we were on it. I have great memories tied to the program that will live with me forever. However, as an adult, one who identifies as a Latina feminist, I can’t think of it and not criticize its overt sexism. I haven’t sat through a full episode of Sábado Gigante in probably a decade, and I wouldn’t even want to. Yes, watching El Chacal blow his trumpet fills me with a sense of mirth that only fellow Latinos could ever understand, but I think many of us, especially us younger folks, will take double-tapping on “Tu ru tu ru tu ru tu ru tu ru tu ru tu ruuuuuuu” memes on Instagram over observing women being used as sexual objects for three hours.

Will you tune in to the last episode? You know, I probably wouldn’t have watched it at all if it weren’t for the memories I just thought back on in writing this response, but now I might. I’ll be out of town this weekend, but, if I find myself with downtime and a TV, I may actually tune in.

-Raquel Reichard, Latina

5

"I kind of can't believe this is something that was OK for me to watch as a kid..."

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Share a memory associated with the show: I decided to watch this show as an adult after not seeing it for many years. I had to turn it off because I got bored, which is crazy, because I used to force myself to stay up to watch it.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?:  I kind of can’t believe this is something that was OK for me to watch as a kid, because looking back at it, it’s not entirely family-friendly content. I definitely tuned in every week when I was young, but I eventually outgrew it and felt disappointed that this was how women were being portrayed on TV.

Will you tune in to the last episode? I’m planning on it, but I probably won’t be able to make it until the end.

-Yara Simón, Remezcla

6

"I questioned why the female hosts changed while Don Francisco stayed."

tumblr_msbyu1HKFu1r99ezxo1_1280 Share a memory associated with the show: I can’t count the number of nights my family was together on Saturday. My grandmother and mom cooked, the guys would talk and drink outside while my cousins and I ran around or watched movies until dinnertime. Before we were done eating or had cleared the table, we’d have to change the channel to Univision to watch Sábado Gigante. It was silly, it was escandaloso, it was colorful. The kids laughed with the grown-ups. We’d crowd the couch so much, the littlest ones sat on the floor. When it was over, it was bed time.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?: For the most part, I feel like we grew out of it. I questioned why the female hosts changed while Don Francisco stayed. Why were there so many weekly beauty pageants? It felt like the only time indigenous contestants were on the show, it was a part of a reunion story. I started to notice the exclusion of anyone who didn’t fit the Latina stereotype more and more. The variety show format stopped having novelty for me.

I’ve only recently tuned in to share with my non-Latino boyfriends what Sábado Gigante was all about. I’d translate what was going on and share my childhood memories about what made the show so special to us. Despite not being a regular viewer for over a decade, it feels weird that that part of television history will no longer be there. It’s the end of a cultural touchstone for a few generations, but hopefully it will make way for new creative programming. We can’t have peaked with Sábado Gigante.

Will you tune in to the last episode? I, like many millennials, no longer have cable so will have to miss. 

-Monica Castillo, International Business Times

7

"Thanks to his show, I got into computers."

Roberta F./Wikimedia  Commons

Roberta F./Wikimedia Commons

Share a memory associated with the show: In 1989, Sábado Gigante was still being made in Chile, and my family used to watch it every Saturday religiously. One day, my mom went to the show and ended up in a contest for a brand new car, nuevesito de paquete. We were all watching this at home, but I really didn’t understand what was happening because I was 4. She never won the car, but as a consolation prize, they gave her an Atari 800XL computer. It blew mi mind.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?: I never really liked Sábado Gigante or Don Francisco. But thanks to his show, I got into computers XD. He has always been a very omnipresent figure in Chile, and he is still the host of the Teletón every year, and his constant presence on Sábado Gigante made a deep mark on Chilean idiosyncrasy, a pop icon. Back in Chile, people loved him because he always made fun of his guests, a jokester. But I think that sometimes he was too much of a bully.

Will you tune in to the last episode? Probably, if I remember to tune in.

-Hector Llanquin, Remezcla

8

"To be honest, the show wasn't bad..."

 

Share a memory associated with the show: Running around the office trying to catch everyone’s reaction on the cancelation of the show.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?: Living in a house with one TV and no cable, I had no other choice. To be honest, the show wasn’t bad. I used to watch it from 7 p.m. until 9 or 10 p.m.

Will you tune in to the last episode? Of course not.

-Joel Moya, Remezcla

9

"[My grandmother] loved to clown on Don Francisco and call him un viejo verde."

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Share a memory associated with the show: When I think about the show, I flash back to being in my childhood living room with my whole family. My grandmother always insisted on watching it, even though she loved to clown on Don Francisco and call him un viejo verde. I don’t think my parents really liked the show, but watching was a concession to my grandparents, and an activity we could all do together. In that sense, it became something of a comforting ritual.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?: As soon as I hit my early teens, the show’s misogyny became much more apparent to me (as did its general corniness) and I lost interest in watching. But as a kid, it definitely played a role in developing my cultural identity and Latinidad – it was a reference that all the second-generation Latino kids seemed to have in common no matter where they were from, and that was a way to connect and feel part of a community.

Will you tune in to the last episode? I don’t have cable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

-Andrea Gompf, Remezcla

10

"The show holds a special part in my heart, truthfully."

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Share a memory associated with the show: I remember reciting and practicing a poem for weeks that my mom made me learn when I was about 5 or 6 years old to take me to audition for Ms. Chiquitita. I remember feeling so excited to go and see in person all the people we saw every week on TV. I actually made it through the second round of auditions; yet, my nerves got the best of me the second time and baby shyness killed my 15 minutes of Chiquitita fame.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?: The show holds a special part in my heart, truthfully. My memories of it rely strongly on when my family was still all together. My parents were still married and my sister and I were still on cartoon level. We’d all have dinner together and turn the TV on to watch it, or would be doing puzzles on the carpet with my mom and dad while it was on. I know I didn’t understand a lot of the jokes sometimes ’cause I was too young then, but always managed to enjoy them just the same with my dad’s contagious laughter. I didn’t manage to keep up with the show as a teenager given that I was introduced to MTV and too many TV shows at an early age. Now, I barely have time to turn a TV on.

Will you tune in to the last episode? I will probably aim to see a quick recap online somewhere.

-Raqueli Contreras, Remezcla

11

"I remember wanting to stay up until the end..."

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Share a memory associated with the show: When I first arrived to the U.S., allmy mom watched was Univison. On Saturdays, she would watch Sábado Gigante. I was 6, and I remember wanting to stay up until the end, the car segment. And I never did. That’s what I most remember. I could never stay up because it was too long.

How do you feel about the show and has your opinion about the show changed since your childhood?: To be completely frank, when I was younger, I saw it as entertaining. I liked El Chacal and La Cuatro. I’ve realized that not only Sábado Gigante, but other things in Spanish-language television had really beautiful girls and models sexualized. At the same time, I look back at the way he would talk to children in a circle, it was innovative. And El Chacal, I liked that segment as well.

Will you tune in to the last episode? I probably won’t. I haven’t watched it in a while. I used to watch it mostly because of my mom. It’s been at least 10 years. Maybe, I’ll tune in for the nostalgia.

-Carolina Moreno, The Huffington Post
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