The 4 Most Absurd Moments from Spanish TV
OK, this is my first article. English is not my native tongue, so my vocabulary isn't as big as I'd want it to be. Anyway, hope you enjoy it!
Spanish TV is bullshit. 50% of the TV series that are broadcast here are foreign, and the rest are comedies as subtle and intelligent as a kick in the balls, overdramatic historical crap or rip-offs from successful foreign series. There’s a five hour program everyday devoted exclusively to gossip and fighting. Reality shows are everywhere.
However, there has been some crazy things. I don’t know exactly why, but Spain might be the European Japan in terms of crazy awesomeness or sheer stupidity. These are some of them:
4. Everybody sues SLQH
I said that our comedy is disgusting, and it’s partially true. But, like always, there are some exceptions. “Sé Lo Que Hicisteis” (“I Know What You Did”) was one of them.
SLQH was broadcast in network “La Sexta” every afternoon for years. The objective of this program was a very specific one: fuck with yellow journalism.
Let’s give some context: the favorite pastime of middle-aged housewives and old women here in Spain are soap-operas and tabloid TV. Do you think that celebrities are given too much importance there in USA? Well, here an average “maruja” (as we call these ladies with too much interest in the private lives of bullfighters, actors and footballers) can sit down to watch TV at 9:00 AM and go to bed at 12:00 PM without having seen a single thing that wasn’t gossip.
SLQH decided to fight that with satire. They took fragments of these shitty programmes and analyzed them, laughed at them, mocked them. After lunch, while the men when to do some siesta and the women finally sat down to rest and watch their much needed gossip (Spain is still a pretty sexist country, specially when it comes down to older people who lived under Franco’s dictatorship), Angel Martín, the man in charge of this section, and the rest of the SLQH cast began their show. At the same fucking time.
Angel Martín, with an awesome beard
Then, the impossible happened. Because SLQH showed the best parts of the gossip programmes of the day before and then satirized them, more and more “marujas” started to tune in. And they liked it. The most important tabloids program, “Aquí hay tomate”, disappeared. It’s not clear if it was because the rise of SLQH, but it sure was a factor.
So Telecinco, the network in which “Aquí hay tomate” (“There is tomato here”)was broadcast, had to do something. Their president, italian (and probably mafioso) Paolo Vasile came with a solution: forbid La Sexta to use images from their programmes and take them to court..
Now, being Telecinco the main provider of gossip in Spain, SLQH’s material was reduced. They began using images from other networks, only to be sued from them also.
La Sexta ended up without any images to show, except the ones from publicly funded TV, where the gossipy content was almost non-existent. This forced SLQH to undergo some changes in direction, and Angel Martin, unhappy with the new nature of the show, left. SLQH was cancelled some months later.
There’s not a happy ending here. Remember the five hour daily tabloids talk-show I mentioned earlier? The ex-presenter of “Aquí hay tomate” hosts it, while millions watch.
3. Weird guy wants to go to Eurovision, succeeds
Late night shows aren’t common here in Spain. But if we have somebody who could compare to Letterman, that’s Andreu Buenafuente.
He managed to keep spanish people awake with his humor, his interviews and his occasional musical performances (yes, he’s basically Letterman). Some characters from the show, like “El Neng”, a weird looking techno music lover, became very popular. Then, Rodolfo Chikilicuatre entered the scene.
No fucks given.
Look at that. He appeared in “Buenafuente” just like that. He didn’t even sing. He spoke with an Argentinian accent, pressed a button of his toy guitar, and started to dance. He declared himself the “inventor of the guitar with incorporated vibrator”. Go figure.
Then, when everybody had forgotten about it, he appeared again. But, this time, he had a song. “Baila el Chiki-Chiki”.
What ensued was full of awesome. A stupid song with a reggaeton rhythm turned into a countrywide phenomenon. It was everywhere. He appeared regularly in Buenafuente’s show just to sing the song, accompanied by two dancers, one of whom was pretty incompetent and just fell to the ground all the time. And nobody got tired of it.
Buenafuente and Chikilicuatre (who is actually an actor with the name of David Fernández) took advantage of this success, and began a campaign to bring “el Chiki-Chiki” to Eurovision Song Contest.
Now, despite what Seanbaby said about Eurovision being “an european American Idol”, it’s a lot more serious. Every country in Europe has to select one song (sometimes it’s the winner of a talent show, or another TV program) and submit it to the contest. Then, every year, a concert is celebrated and every song is sung live to an audience of tens of millions. And most countries take it very seriously. The winner always owes his triumph to political issues (Scandinavian countries always vote each other, as do Balkanic and Soviet ones), but the contest has a lot of reputation.
Chikilicuatre entered a competition with other “artists” in TVE, the government TV network, in which spaniards send a text message to vote for their favourite song. “El Chiki-Chiki” won by a landslide, much to the dismay of José Luis Uribarri, Spain’s authority in Eurovision-ness.
After some changes in the lyrics (Eurovision rules state that no song must have any kind of political message, and Chikilicuatre namedropped Rajoy, Zapatero and Hugo Chávez in the song), everything was ready. And it finally happened.
It was the most watched Eurovision performance in years, and although the final result wasn’t very good (he ended 16th), Buenafuente and Fernández achieved what they wanted. After Eurovision, Chikilicuatre totally vanished, but we will always remember him as the hero that made us want to see that otherwise boring and predictable contest.
2. TV is invaded by freaks
Now, I don’t know how this entry is going to end. Basically, because I don’t really know why all of this happened. But some time around year 2000, spanish TV went full crazy.
I’ll tell what I know: the first important late night show was “Crónicas Marcianas” (“Martian Chronicles”). This show became a platform from where loudmouthed gay (I’m not being homophobic, this was actually his job) turned critically acclaimed writer Boris Izaguirre and gross transvestite Carmen de Mairena jumped into the stardom.
She actually looks quite good in here.
Suddenly, some story-arcs appeared. This is where things get wild.
Paco Porras, a vegetable-loving fortune teller (really, he wore leeks in his ears) who appeared in “Crónicas Marcianas” supposedly impregnated Tamara, who was some kind of disco pop diva with the singing talent of a dying turkey. When she finally get the media attention she wanted, she said she had aborted their child and launched her music career with the help of songwriter Leonardo Dantés.
Her songs “No cambié” (“I Didn’t Change”) and “A por ti” (“For You”, as in “I’m going for you”) became huge hits. Alaska, a music legend here in Spain, reunited a team of talented musicians to actually release an album called “Tamara Superstar”.
When her fame disappeared, all that was left was the weirdness. She was accused of plagiarism by Toni Genil, another member of this “freakshow” who ended up singing with Carmen de Mairena God knows why.
The thing is, everybody in Spain was watching this story. We had a fucking great time seeing these people insulting each other. Tamara’s mother, Margarita, hit a journalist with her handbag, which had a brick inside. Isn’t that crazy?
Oh, there was also this guy with a funny hat around.
Seen here being interviewed by a mummy.
I don’t know what he did but he was part of the troupe.
People finally lost interest (Tamara changed her name to Ambar because of a conflict with another singer called the same, then she changed it again to Yurena) and they have all disappeared... I actually want them to be back on TV again. It’s better than almost everything they have now.
1. Famous singer is killed live, except that he isn’t
“El Hormiguero” (“The Anthill”) was one of the most watched programmes on TV two or three years ago. And it was well deserved, because it’s really entertaining. It’s basically an interview show for the first half, then the guest is shown some magic tricks, or science experiments, or music performances. And they’ve had some really nice guests, like Mel Gibson, or Tom Cruise, or, if you are not into fucking insane people, Will Smith. Really, Will Smith’s appearance is one of the greatest moments in Spanish TV history.
OK, maybe the second best.
But audiences are easy to lose, even if your program is almost perfect. One of the funniest people of the show, mad scientist “Flipy”, left and it all went downhill from there.
Then, I don’t know who had an idea to resurrect the show. They would invite Dani Martín, one of the most famous pop singers here, and kill him. Live.
It wasn’t exactly like that, obviously. Yunke y Jandro, the two occasional magicians of the show, performed a trick with Dani. It was a classic trick: the guillotine and the severed head. Everything came up as expected: the blade went down, Dani’s head fell into a basket...
And then, madness. The presenter, Pablo Motos, looked surprised, and the only thing we saw from Dani was the blood-stained shirt through a hole in the guillotine. Suddenly, the camera fell and the screen showed us the floor of the studio, and an increasingly agitated Motos began to shout “¡Fuera, fuera, fuera!” (“Get out! GET OUT!”). Everybody was silent as a mouse. Fade to commercials.
Well, Spain went crazy in those minutes. Twitter, Facebook and other social networks collapsed. People asked everywhere: “is he really dead?”. God knows how many young girls cried that night.
Obviously, it was all a joke. Dani Martín tweeted “Estoy vivo” (“I’m alive”) and everybody sighed in relief. Many people criticised Motos and “El Hormiguero” for their lack of sensitivity, but three million people saw the show that night, so I don’t think they regret it.
And that's it. Hope you liked it!
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