Television Series (under development)
Keyword Tags (non-exhaustive):
Afro-Latina/o identities, Argentina, art, assimilation, California, Central America, Chicana/o culture, city planning, colonialism, consumerism and identity, Cuba, Cuban Americans, Cuba-U.S. relations, cultural integration, dirty war, the disappeared, domestic workers, drug trafficking, experimental cinema, family, gender roles, gentrification, globalization, higher education, historiography, history, identity, immigration, indigeneity/indigenous identities, Latinas, Latina directors, Latina/o gangs, Latina/o identity, Latina/o stereotypes, Latina/o youth, LGBTQ issues, Los Angeles, machismo, marianismo, masculinity, Mexican Americans, migration, motherhood, music, New York City, North Carolina, parody/satire, Philadelphia, Puerto Ricans, religion, rural communities, transnationalism, U.S.(Texas)-Mexico border, U.S.-Mexico Border (California-western Mexico), U.S.-Mexican border (El Paso-Ciudad Juarez), violence.
I Love Lucy. Desilu Productions. CBS, 1951-1957.
Episode Runtime: 23-26 minutes.
Summary: Despite its association with mainstream, Anglo-dominated television, I Love Lucy is a groundbreaking sitcom in the history of Latinx television. The innovative sitcom features mixed race couple Ricky (Desi Arnaz) and Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball), typically focusing on Lucy’s efforts to enter into the showbusiness world of her bandleader husband. Elements of note to Latinx Studies scholars may include: the production history of the show, which initially faced challenges as CBS executives doubted whether it would be palatable to feature a Latino leading man; the depiction of Spanish, which Ricky speaks rapidly when angry and which Lucy bumbles through when attempting to speak with their son; the representation of Latinx people in showbusiness; and the history of immigration and entertainment in the 1950s and 60s (a flashback episode reveals that Ricky immigrated to the U.S. when Lucy, just after meeting him, secured him a spot in a the band of legendary crooner Rudy Vallée).
Tags: Art, assimilation, consumerism and identity, Cuba, Cuban Americans, cultural integration, family, gender roles, immigration, interracial relationships, masculinity, entertainment industry, music.
Jane the Virgin. Developed by Jennie Snyder. Urman, Poppy Productions, RCTV International, Electus. Warner Bros. Television, CBS Television Studios, 2014-2019.
Episode runtime: 40-43 minutes
Summary: An adaptation of Perla Farias’ Venezuelan televnovela Juana la Virgen, Jane the Virgin stars Gina Rodriguez as Jane Gloriana Villanueva, a 23-year-old religious virgin who is artificially inseminated by mistake. Over the course of the series, Jane works to raising her child, reconciling her relationship with the sperm donor (a playboy hotel owner on whom Jane had a childhood crush), her detective boyfriend, and navigate a variety of farcical issues. In addition to parodying telenovela tropes, the series features a variety of political issues related to immigration, healthcare, and more.
Tags: adaptation, comedy, family, Florida, gender roles, globalization, identity, immigration, Latinas, Latina/o identity, Latina/o stereotypes, Latina/o youth, Miami, migration, motherhood, telanovela.
Love, Victor. Created by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. Temple Hill Entertainment, No Helmet Productions, The Walk-Up Company, 20th Television, Hulu and Disney Platform Distribution, 2020-2022.
Episode Runtime: 24-34 minutes.
Summary: An extension of the world created in the 2018 young adult queer film (and emblem of homonormativity) Love, Simon, Love, Victor revolves around initially closeted Victor Salazar, a half-Puerto Rican, half-Colombian teenager living in Atlanta, Georgia. The show poses an interesting constellation of queer elements that update Love, Simon rather nicely: in contrast to the original film, in which Simon’s fear of coming out is unfounded and his family unilaterally accepts his queerness, Love, Victor navigates a more complex web of cultural conservatism and prejudice. Additionally, the show’s treatment of race—including Victor’s Latino identity and the Muslim identity of season 3 character Rahim—gives a more sophisticated figuration of queer identity. Finally, the show may be of interest to those who study Latinx identity and virtuality/digitality, as: the show’s title (and connection to Love, Simon) comes from the fact that Victor corresponds with the film’s protagonist Simon (Nick Robinson) over social media throughout the series to get help navigating high school.
Tags: adaptation, assimilation, Atlanta, comedy, Colombian Americans, Georgia, gender, homosexuality, Latina/o identity, LGBTQ issues, Puerto Ricans, religion.
El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera. Created by Jorge R. Gutierez and Sandra Equihua. Mexopolis, Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Nickelodeon, Nicktunes Network, 2007-2008.
Episode runtime: 11-22 minutes.
Episodes: 26 (whole), 50 (separate).
Summary: Despite its ostentatious premise, El Tigre is a fascinating entry in the history of Latinx children’s media. The animated series revolves around the titular Manny Rivera, a thirteen year-old who belongs to a long line of cat-themed superheroes and supervillains—including his father, the do-gooder White Pantera, and his grandfather, the kooky evildoer Puma Loco—and who attempts to navigate life in the superpower-filled world of Miracle City (inspired by creator Jorge Gutierez’s native Tijuana). While many contemporary programs only lifted Latinx aesthetics for their work, El Tigre laces in deep connections to northern Mexican/American culture and history, including the influences of indigenous religion (also a theme in Gutierez’s 2014 film The Book of Life). Besides proving an interesting object of study for scholars of Latinx children’s media, El Tigre also offers an interesting companion piece for thinking about the megapopular superhero genre: while the first (and, so far, only) Latinx lead superhero on film is Miles Morales in Marvel’s 2018 animated film Into the Spider-Verse, El Tigre saw an entirely Latinx superhero cast 11 years earlier (the same year that Marvel’s live action franchise began with Iron Man).
Tags: Animation, Chicana/o culture, urban, family, history, identity, indigeneity, children, Latina/o youth, music, Mexican Americans.
Undone. Created by Kate Purdy and Raphael Bob-Waksberg. The Tornante Company, Amazon Studios, Boxer vs. Raptor, Submarine, Amsterdam, Hive House Project. Amazon Prime Video, 2019-present.
Episode runtime: 22-26 minutws.
Seasons: 2 (ongoing)
Summary: Undone is one of the most interesting animated series of the last several years. Created by the duo behind the acclaimed BoJack Horseman, Undone revolves around Alma (Rosa Salazar), a mixed race Mexican-American woman who, following a traumatic car accident, finds herself able to manipulate reality and communicate with her dead father (Bob Odenkirk). As Alma works with her father to uncover the secrets of his suspicious death, the animators (working with the now-uncommon tool rotoscope) stretch the limits of their imaginations to represent Alma’s manipulation of time and space. For those interested in Latinx representations, indigenous Mexican civilization plays a small but meaningful role in the plot, as does Alma’s Mexican heritage.
Tags: Animation, multiraciality, Mexican Americans, science fiction, Mexican Americans, indigenous identity and indigenous issues.