La Lista: The Best of Latinized American TV

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In 1939, The New York World’s Fair (Remember that? Maybe your grandparents do) hosted its exhibition in Queens. The focus that year was on the future. Of course, many attractions have since receded into history, except for one glorious invention: television. More than 72 years later, TV has transformed the world. But one nation was able to use TV to export its pop culture better than anyone else: the United States. Our shows are watched all over, including Latin America.

But what happens when American TV shows are too American for local tastes? Why, local adaptations! Married with Children, The Nanny, and others have been remade, sometimes multiple times, into successful shows in their own right. I know, I know, you’re probably like “Gimme them mediafire links or I’ll fill your offices with poop!”

Joke’s on you. I’m banned from the offices! Now without further ado…


Casados con Hijos (a.k.a Married With Children)
Argentina, Chile 2005-2006, 2006-2008

Ah yes, you can just picture it now, Al, Peggy, Kelly and Bud as proud carriers of the noble tradition that is mediocrity and familial discord. Argentina saw what was going on and said, “Oh word?” The show was remade and generally resembles it’s American counterpart, complete with Peggy and Al’s – or rather, Monica (Moni) elastic belt and Jose’s – pessimism and misanthropic tendencies. The thing about this show was that it was able to succeed and it garnered awards and popularity from Argentina to Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay. (You know you’ve made it when you’re in with the ‘Guays.) As for the comedy, it’s probably not going to win over American minds since it seems to rely a lot on slapstick. The other issue is the fact that the Argentine set designers didn’t even bother to make the sets look remotely realistic in terms of size. Some shots make the living room look like it occupies a city block while the kitchen could pass for the set of a Brazilian porno.


La Ninera, La Nany (a.k.a. The Nanny)
Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico

Anybody remember this show? Don’t lie, you so did. Just man up and I’ll let it slide, bro, or sis. The show’s preoccupation with class and ethnicity just drove Latin America wild since that shit is still a pretty big deal, there. In the original version, a Jewish lady happens upon a rich family who needs a nanny very badly. Cue the Emmys and acclaim! As for the remakes, Argentina’s version had it set in Buenos Aires, Chile’s had it in Santiago, Ecuador had it in Guayaquil and Mexico (d’uh) had it in Mexico City. Why all the big cities? For the same reason that NYC was chosen; they are the places dreams are made of. Fantasies of upward mobility permeate these city legends and the stories get better when a class dichotomy is thrown in. Of course, that almost never happens in real life. Which is what TV is for! As for all of these shows, The Chilean version copied everything, from the stories to even the opening sequence (above).

Argentina, Mexico and Ecuador have followed the same route.


La Ofis (a.k.a. The Office)
Chile 2008-present ?

Yes, we know, this is a remake of the original British incarnation. But how could we not include this? Besides, all incarnations of the show are heavily indebted to the original, whether in the US, Quebec, or in Chile. In fact, many of the scenes are very similar to what you would see on the British or American versions, complete with Chilean Dwight saying in Castellano “Assistant Regional Manager”. If you’re thinking, “Jesus, how many versions of that show do we really need?” the answer is simple; as much as they can get away with. According to the BBC blog, one of the people associated with the show stated that they had to prod other countries into making their own versions a bit different. One of the reasons for its success is the actors themselves who take on their roles with gusto. Chilean David Brent, aka Manuel Cerda is just as absurd, rude and oddly humane as his facsimile. While its Wiki page has it listed as currently running, the Canal 13 website seems to have no info on the show. Fortunately, some upstanding person uploaded a shitload of episodes on YouTube. In any case, the show has managed tobuild a fan base of its own and the show is what you’d expect: pretty funny.


Plaza Sesamo, Barrio Sesamo (a.k.a. Sesame Street)
Mexico, Spain 1972-present, 1979-2000

Apparently Big Bird didn’t have enough sabor, so Latinos made him into a parrot.

This show is a childhood staple, unless your staples include dodging your dad’s shoes while he rains verbal abuse on you with the intensity of a brutal pummeling. Well, if that’s the case, um, tough break bro? Anyway, Mexico came up with its own version shortly after the creation of the original. Many of the characters are original creations but the show makes heavy use of stock footage from the American version. In any case, the show has become a cultural institution of its own but the show also makes an effort to be as culturally neutral as possible. This is the only version that is available for Latin America(more on Spain in a sec) and the producers recently revamped the show to be more inclusive. As for Spain, they saw what was going on with the show and said, “Me too!” Spain’s version, Barrio Sesamo debuted in 1979 and ran until 2000. The show largely followed Mexico’s route and became a success aswell.


60 Minutos (a.k.a. 60 Minutes)
Mexico, Peru, Spain 1970’s, 1980’s, ongoing

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…. This show is synonymous with hard hitting journalism and old ass dudes who rail against the injustice of choosing different brands of ketchup. As for Mexico, their version ran in the early 70’s but the clips on you tube are sourced from 1984. Anyway, the opening sequence is a copy of the American version but the host is a one of a kind. I dare you to look away from his impossibly wavy hair that makes him look like a villain from an anime movie. That’s not all, since the host apparently took his cues from the overwrought school of journalism and speaks to the viewer as if something mystical is going to happen and it will in your pants. The topic is well, UFO’s. Never mind stories of rising inflation or the abuses of the indigenous, fuck that! We need the power of journalism to figure out if that weird shit in the sky is a UFO! To be fair, the original does a lot of fluff pieces as well. As for the Spanish version, they seem to have their sights set on international issues; the one episode available focuses on the plight of women in India.


So, these shows managed to live on with their own identities albeit heavily indebted to their American (and British) counterparts. Who knows what other American shows will be remade? Cops? G-String Divas? The 700 Club? Who knows, dear readers what the future (and lazy TV producers) have in store…