For a long time, being a chilango, defeño, or capitalino carried a stigma. If you ask someone from Mexico City how many times he or she has heard the joke about how everyone needs to check their wallets when there is a chilango in the room, they’d run out of fingers to count on. As someone from la Ciudad de México you get used to outsiders asking about kidnappings, how dangerous the city is, or how bad the air quality or the altitude will make them feel. Some fools think they’ll get to hang with Denzel Washington in Man on Fire or that Gael García Bernal will drag them into the clandestine dog-fighting underworld of Amores Perros.
Slowly however, these preconceptions about Mexico’s capital are changing and now the city is, at least in the white hipster imagination, a trendy place where modern comforts meet ancient culture and authentic Mexicanidad – whatever that means. The New York Times even placed Mexico City at the No. 1 spot for its “52 Places to Go in 2016” list. That wouldn’t have happened back in the ‘90s.
Further proof of this shift in perception is the news that Venezuelan-American actor Fred Armisen – famous for his work on Saturday Night Live and his show Portlandia – will be embracing his Latino side (he is also German and Korean) and is developing a half-hour-long Spanish-language comedy series with HBO titled Mexico City: Only Good Things Happen. The title may or may not be ironic, but Variety reports the show follows a group of friends living in an idealized version of Mexico City who are “obsessed with horror films and monster makeup.” They sound like Guillermo del Toro fanatics, and that’s exciting.
Armisen will also star in the series, which means we’ll hear him speak fluent Spanish on-screen beyond the few phrases he got to say while playing Manuel Ortiz on SNL. Fun fact: Armisen also voiced Speedy Gonzalez in the recent The Looney Toons Show. Saturday Night Live’s creator Lorne Michaels will serve as co-executive producer, while chilango filmmaker Fernando Frías will direct the pilot. Más Mejor, the Latino division of Michaels’ Broadway Video, will be in charge of production which is currently casting in Mexico City. Ana Fabrega and Salvadoran comedian Julio Torres will write, co-executive produce, and also star in the show.
Thanks to this venture, Fred Armisen and will surely become an honorary defeño for associating the line “only good things happen” with a city that has often been in the spotlight for exactly the opposite. If Mexico City wasn’t trendy enough, this will certainly do the trick. You’ll know once that white guy from accounting tells you, “Oh my God, I’m going to Mexico City in the spring. I’ve heard it has really changed.” He’ll probably get his wallet stolen.