Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every week, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.
The Hilarious: Queer You Are
Actor Enrique Quintero tipped us off to this wonderful Spanish language series which first aired last June on TNT ES. It arrived late last year on HBO Max, and with a new English dub to open it up to a whole new audience.
Queer You Are follows the hapless life of Roberto, a chubby, flamboyant gay man during three key points in his life: his high school years in the 1980s, his 20s as an aspiring, closeted, writer, and his life in the present day. Over the course of the show’s six episodes, Roberto reflects on the moments of pain and joy that shaped him as a person, and how perceptions of gay men have changed within Hispanic cultures. Roberto also observes the personal growth of his groups of friends, including his bestie Lola (Alba Flores), his childhood crush Carlos (Roger Padilla) who might also have a crush on Roberto, and Lucía (Candela Peña), Roberto’s eccentric mother who makes Moira Rose look tame by comparison.
Series creator Bob Pop (who plays the present-day Roberto as well) walks a fine line between outright hilarity and cringe-inducing drama, often at the same time. Consider: when we first meet teen Roberto (Gabriel Sánchez), he performs “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” in his mother’s nightgown as a project for drama class. Of course, he gets beaten up by bullies shortly thereafter. Another example: a 20-something Roberto (played by Carlos Gónzález; Quintero voices him in the English dub) hooks up with a handsome man at a bathhouse. When his beau demands Roberto pay for sex, the scene bursts into a full-on musical production of Culture Club‘s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.”
It’s that kind of show. Often, we didn’t know whether to laugh, wince, or both.
That kind of dynamic isn’t easy to pull off, and it’s a testament to Bop Pop as well as director Alejandro Marín that the series walks the razor’s edge between comedy and tragedy. In a sense, that makes the show true to real-life; events we live through are often hilarious in retrospect even if they seemed tragic at the time, or vice versa. If we also reveal that the show’s original title, Maricón perdido, literally translates as “Hopeless F*ggot,” that might also drive home the duality of the show’s tone.
For our part, we never tired of watching these characters. Like Lee Daniels, Russell T. Davies, or Pedro Almodóvar (who actually cameos in one episode), Bob Pop blends elements of his own life with fiction into a refreshing, brutal, hilarious story of a gay boy just trying to find himself. If his work in the future reaches the level of quality of Queer You Are, he could well match Davies, Daniels, Almodovar, etc. as one of the most important LGBTQ voices in entertainment.
Queer You Are arrives as the latest outstanding entry in a swell of terrific Spanish-language stories (The Prince, Veneno, Cousins, I Carry You With Me and so on) that examine LGBTQ life in the context of Hispanic cultures. Why WarnerMedia hasn’t done more to promote the show’s English language release baffles us. Quite simply, this show is awesome–a must-see for anyone that has giggled or wept at the foibles of queer life, or just sung along to “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”
Don’t lie. We know that’s most of you.
Streams on HBO Max.
It looks and sounds awful!!
It’s too bad the closed caption doesn’t complete finished sentences from the actors and we are left wondering what the characters said in completion.