WATCHING “SENORA ACERO” COME TO AN END IS LIKE LEAVING A FUN PARTY FILLED WITH GREAT-LOOKING GUESTS WITH TERRIBLE JUDGEMENT, WHO NEVER CALL 911!

It’s very tough to say goodbye to the great SuperCrazyNarcoNovela “Senora Acero,” on Telemundo, but sadly, this is the last season!!

Que LASTIMA!!

Please join me for a trip down Bad Memory Lane in my latest article for Latin Connection Magazine, a tribute to five seasons of madness in Señora Acero!!

Saying goodbye to the crew is like being at a super fun party with your best friends, who are the perfect combination of good looks and terrible judgement!!

The magazine is available on line, and here’s the article!

@LatinConnection is all about living the Latino lifestyle in the USA, and in addition to my Telenovela news, there is a lot more news you can use!!

“Mary For Mayor” Is A New Kind Of Telenovela! With Many Of Your Old Favorites!!

Que tal!

Mary for Mayor” is a new kind of telenovela, and it’s a lot of fun! It was available on Netflix, and now you can find it on Venevision USA!

Mary For Mayor

MFM is a sly story combines the best of the old and the new: It’s a new way to watch telenovelas, but it’s full of your old favorites too. It’s like a novela family reunion, but without the possibility of a family murder. “Mary for Mayor” is not like any novela I have seen before! Some of the Stars you’ll recognize are Anthony Alvarez, Katie Barberi, Rosalinda Rodriguez, Alfredo Huereca, Nicolas Maglione, to name just a few!

I know … I know … I am a late arrival to the telenovela party that has been going on for generations, but ever since I watched my first novela a few years ago (because I knew I’d learn Spanish and have more fun learning the language from telenovelas than from a teacher), I have been devoted to them. You know that I pay close attention to them, and when I watched “Mary for Mayor” I saw a series that is fast, fresh and fun.

The show has many of the qualities you love in your favorite novelas and a terrific cast we recognize from Novelaville but with a new twist: It is bilingual in the exact way many of us are – the characters fall into English as naturally as they speak Spanish, and it just fits. Don’t worry! When a character speaks English, the dialogue is subtitled in Spanish, which not only works perfectly for viewers who are more comfortable with Spanish-language television, but it is also something that is very helpful for someone like me, who is trying to learn the language.

The transitions from Spanish to English (and vice-versa) are seamless, and give the show a very authentic quality. Your ears, your eyes and your heart will love watching Spanish and English just melt into each other.

Mary for Mayor is the story of Mary Ramirez (Tatiana Rodriguez) who lives in Rincon del Rio, a small town in New Mexico, with her husband Ricardo (Anthony Alvarez), and their three children: teenage daughter Paula (Gaby Borges), who spends most of her time reading or yelling at her equally teenage brother Ricky (Xavier Rubalcava) , who spends all of his time recording embarrassing family moments on his cellphone and posting them on Snapchat, and their younger brother Georgie (Nicolas Maglione and his trademark blue glasses!)

You know Mary’s a great mom because when Georgie throws up on her, she is more worried about him than the fact that he actually just threw up on her. It’s a good thing for the family that Mary is such a great mom because Papi is far less interested in his own kids than he is his own toys. And when I say “toys,” I mean other women. To say that Ricardo has a “roving eye” would be incorrect because that phrase suggests his eye is even in sitting an eye-socket. It’s not. That eye never rests. That’s how busy his eye is.

The Premiere of “Mary For Mayor” is equally busy! The show opens with a lot of plot-lines kicking off: Ricardo’s father Mayor Odilon Ramirez (Alfredo Huerca) is about to finally retire, but he is plotting the nomination of his successor so that he can still rule. Rincon may be a small town, but that always makes the Mayor even more important, right? And Rincon may be small, but it’s big enough to have its very own hipster who is also a reporter very wise to the Mayor, who has a bit of a crush on Mary too.

Meanwhile, across town, we are treated to a fiery sermon from Padre Armando (Sebastian Ligarde) while we get the rundown on Rincon del Rio from the long-dead founder of the town, Padre Menudo (Carl Mergenthaler). Apparently, Padre Menudo is up for beatification because he somehow founded a town where everyone is really great-looking, and no one ever gets divorced. Even Padre Menudo was exceptionally handsome, and we know this because as he narrates the opening of the show (from The Great Novela Beyond),he wants us to know two things: That because nothing is more important to the citizens of Rincon del Rio than The Family, no one in the history of the town has ever gotten divorced.

The Padre also wants us to know that the bronze sculpture of him that guards the doors of the only church in town does not do him justice: according to Padre Menudo, he was much better looking.

The show, and the town, are drenched in colors that pop out at you from everywhere, and the local color, in the form of the townspeople, is the same. The tone of “Mary for Mayor” is funny, and if I had to describe the show in only one word, “sly” is the word that comes to mind.

You have to watch the show closely, and I’d recommend watching it twice just because there are a lot of jokes scattered throughout this fast-paced show.

“Mary For Mayor” opens with a bang on two fronts when Mary’s three kids crash a shopping cart into the middle of one of Padre Armando’s awful lectures that are all anti-divorce, and pro- “The Family.” He is very clear: No one in town can get divorced ever. His rapt parishioners may hate each other, but they had better stick it out. The only Divorce Court is in Heaven, and that’s only because someone in dead.

You know who would hate the town of Rincon Del Rio?

Divorce lawyers.

You know who would love the town of Rincon Del Rio?

Funeral Directors.

The other explosion in the show happens at Mary’s house when she comes home early to change clothes for The Mayor’s party and walks in on her husband Ricardo engaged in very athletic and extremely extra-marital sex. It is as this point that you realize this show is going to turn convention on its head: Mary does not scream and yell. There are no tears, knives or guns with cries of “Matame!!” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

Instead, Mary closes the bedroom door behind her, thinks about what she just saw, and realizes that she feels nothing. Absolutely nothing. No anger, no sadness, no homicidal intent. Nothing. Mary’s ambivalence towards her husband runs throughout this episode and is the catalyst for her later, monumental decision. Ricardo does nothing to help his cause when he emerges from the bedroom in a silk lounging robe wearing a cowboy hat which he discreetly moves a bit lower while insincerely apologizing for the “indiscretion” which meant nothing to him. Why? Because The Family is the most important thing in the world to him. And he says this with a straight face.

Mary and Ricardo put his infidelity aside long enough to take the kids to the Abuelo the Mayor’s Garden Party, where he will announce his successor. Well, a different successor, since the one he had in mind died very suddenly after eating over a pound of chocolate. We get our first glimpse into the Royal House of Ramirez at the party, where we watch Mary’s in-laws, Lord and Lady Mayor (Katie Barberi) preside over the townspeople like an off-brand Lord and Lady Crawley from “Downton Abbey.” They may be Rincon’s First Couple, but it’s clear that they think they are Second Coming of President and Nancy Reagan with a touch of Marie Antoinette.

One of the best bits in the show are the visual jokes surrounding this couple: The Mayor presides over Rincon from inside of a life-size replication of The Oval Office, where his desk is covered in bobble-head dolls of the former presidents, and for inspiration, he fondles and gnaws on a Pez dispenser with a Donald Trump head. The walls are lined with paintings of former presidents with the Mayor’s head superimposed on them. When he is not in his Oval Office, he presides over the town’s affairs (and perhaps his own) while sitting in a very lavish chair that comes as close to a throne as a Mayor in Smalltown, USA can get away with.

Katie Barberi is perfect and so funny as his wife, the First Lady of Rincon.

She wears white gloves, Adolfo, and knocks on her own front door so that her maid (wearing a traditional Mexican dress from another century) has to open it and escort her upstairs to bed. This show is so visual, you can watch it with the sound off and you’d be able to follow it, but don’t deprive yourself of the great dialogue too!

Mary is genuinely unsure about what her next move should be. But after watching a few betrayed and sobbing wives humiliated on a “reality” show hosted by a bubbly “La Chapina” (Nadia Escobar),doing some soul-searching, and eating lots of ice cream with her “I’ve Seen It All” mother (Rosalinda Rodriguez, who is fantastic in this series), Mary ends the first episode with a decision that may bring a plague of biblical proportions to Rincon del Rio – she decides to divorce her husband!!

The series takes off from there, with moments of surprise, hilarity, romance, and a few dark moments, too. I don’t want to reveal too much here – but it’s a roller-coaster of novela fun. And the easy give-and-take between Spanish and English feels so natural – it feels exactly how so many of us live our lives. You may speak Spanish to your parents and English to your kids, and somehow it all works out and everyone understands each other! “Mary for Mayor’ is a new kind of novela – and it’s a novela for right now!

To keep up with my sideways views on novelas, follow me on Facebook and Twitter @gringanovelera!

Wherever You Were For The Very Grand Finale Of “Al Otro Lado Del Muro,” That Was The Place To Be!

I hope you were there for the Great Very Grand Finale Of The Telemundo SuperNovela Al Otro Lado del Muro!

Where?? You ask?

Well, you could have started in Miami, where Sofia & Joel & Patrick & Agent Garcia rescued Alondra and lots of other poor girls from a Sex Slave Auction that was the centerpiece of a Masquerade Ball, like Trivial Pursuit is the centerpiece of my parties.

Or you could have been in L.A., where a busy, insane and tireless Jennifer drugged Eliza and escaped from the Asylum For The Criminally Insane, and then tricked Eliza into coming over, and then attacked her with a baseball bat, and then tried to drown her, and then, when Andres and Max rescued Eliza, Jennifer tried to yell Eliza to death.

Or, you could have been in the Women’s Prison with Paula, where the other inmates were beating her to death since she had sold most of their daughters.

Or you could have been on a Florida Beach with Sofia and Joel, where Joel gave Sofia the Pardon for the Crime She Never Committed, and just as they were about to celebrate their long-awaited honeymoon, Sofia saw a creepy old man hitting on a 3rd grade girl, and ran over to confront him and save the girl, at which point Joel realized that the Honeymoon Is Over.

Or you could have been at Interpol watching Agent Garcia accepting an award for breaking up The World’s Biggest Human Trafficking Ring, and signing a lot of Overtime slips.

Or you could have been at an Infinity Pool somewhere in the Caribbean with Ernesto, cool as a cucumber in linen, ordering an icy-cold beer that was delivered by an ice-cold Patrick who was finally allowed to arrest him.

Or you could have been in Boyle Heights, at the wedding of Eliza and ANDRES!!!!! Yay!!!!!!! Max may have come out strong out of the gate, but 10 years is a long time to be afraid of your wife.

And letting the Bone Marrow Transplant continue at the scary Dollar Store clinic really was the last straw.

Plus Andres can do everything important: sitting around staring languidly into space like a hungry supermodel is not his thing.

In fact, Andres made a great speech comparing love to making bread, and who doesn’t love bread?!

I loved Litzy in this series, and I’ve seen her get married a lot! But she never looked as beautiful at any of her other novela weddings as she looked in #AlOtroLadoDelMuro!

I think they are all packing up and moving back to Mexico, so her mother Carmen can continue to yell at her without traveling to San Diego every time she wants to tell her something.

Carmen, BEST GRANDMOTHER EVER, found Frida rebuilding her career without those sleazy pimp/managers, and invited her to the wedding, so Tomas and Frida could reunite, which they did.

In front of everyone.

Charlie was invited to the wedding too (without either of his parents of course), and he and Rodrigo were busy plotting something that I hope doesn’t hurt either one of them.

Or, you could have been like me, on my couch in Chicago, watching the end with an eye on a clock that was going way too fast, and wishing it could go on forever!

This novela was wonderful, and I hate to see it end!

I loved these characters and the story, and it’s hard to say GOODBYE to them!!

Thank you Laura Sosa Pedroza for such a fantastic novela!!

And thank you to a great cast that included Marjorie De Sousa Litzy Gabriela Vergara, Adriana Barraza, Gabriel Porras, Uriel Del Toro, Guillermo Ivan, Ed Trucco, Christopher Millan, Khotan, Noah Rico, Gael Sancheztv, Gustavo Pedraza

And A Cast Of Thousands!!!!!

And a special thanks to Joaquín Fernández and his team for the fantastic music, Luisa Ibanez for her tireless work on behalf of the show, and everyone at Telemundo who works so hard to make these shows as great as they are!

THE FIRST LADY OF VENEZUELAN TELENOVELAS IS BACK, AND TELEMUNDO HAS GOT HER!!!

FIVE FACTS ABOUT MARISELA BERTI YOU NEED TO KNOW!

One of the best things about the Telemundo telenovela “El Senor de Los Cielos,”as it returns for what is now it’s 6th season, is that as much as we love the return of our favorite characters, every season we are surprised by who shows up in the new cast.

#ESDLC is like the great detective show “Monk,” where famous actors show up to do a guest spot on the show!

And every time #ESDLC returns for another season, we can’t wait to see who is going to do a Guest Spot – who wants to be VERY BAD in the most successful series of all time!

This season , we can look forward to watching Marisela Berti, a very famous and excellent actress from Venezuela; a First Lady Of Venezuelan telenovelas.

Here are 5 things to know about Sra Berti and her role in the series!

1. She is playing the Venezuelan ambassador to Mexico City, so of course she is a supporter of the Venezuelan government, but if I was President Maduro I wouldn’t sell the Embassy silver just yet because this Ambassador has a few tricks up her St. John-knit sleeves that are a big secret.

2. Her character, “Edith Guzman” is named for a well-repected Venezuelan journalist who is a great friend of the actress.

3. The love of her life was her late husband, Mauricio Walerstein – a Mexican filmmaker extraordinaire. His tragic death two years ago threw Sra Berti into a tailspin. It was her great friend Luis Zelkowicz, creator and writer of ESDLC, who persuaded her to return to acting with this very fun, juicy, and TREACHEROUS (I hope!) role of The Ambassador in ESDLC.

4. Marisela is famous for starring in dozens of Venezuelan telenovelas, but the one that looks the most interesting to me is “Dolce Ilusion” wherein she played an Evil Stepmother who somehow convinced her orphaned stepdaughter that she was penniless and a servant in the stepmother’s house. I want to watch it to see how exactly she achieved that. This is a very famous telenovela because it used (and I think I have this right) cartoon characters acting alongside real actors, like a telenovela “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

5. Best fact of all? Her son is the actor Alex Walerstein who plays the NarcoGeek computer whiz “El Grenas” in ESDLC. That’s right! A Mother & Son in the same novela!!

Don’t miss this rare chance to see a novela legend at work in #ElSenorDeLosCielos, and a mother and son acting together in the same novela!!

Why Ed Trucco in “Al Otro Lado Del Muro” Now Understands Captain Dobey’s Pain … And Other Telenovela Tragedies…

Que tal!

Did you see last night’s gripping episode of Al Otro Lado del Muro on @Telemundo? It is definitely the fastest hour on television!

Poor Eliza and those kids of hers!

They finally arrive in Los Angeles by bus, and Max is not there to pick them up, the kids are hungry, and Liza’s cell Phone does not work in the USA.

Between the bad food in bus terminals and no phone, this is where I get right back on the bus to Mexico. Let Max find me there.

I’m going back to my mother. And The Bakery.

But Liza is a better person than I am, and so she waits.

And waits…

Meanwhile, two security guards who don’t speak Spanish are getting ready to make a move on her.

Now here is where I get a little angry:

I predict we are going to see some Gringos who do not speak Spanish, or are going to speak Very Bad Spanish.

Why not cast La Gringa Novelera in one of these roles?

No one speaks worse Spanish than me.

I could play any of these roles.

And I already have experience acting in a telenovela.

My 4-seconds in #QuienEsQuien was the most compelling 4-seconds in that series.

I would go the distance in a role requiring Very Bad Spanish, and believe me, I wouldn’t have to go very far.

But I digress…

So the Missing Max has a good excuse for not showing up at the Bus Station – his son with the evil Jennifer was in the hospital and the doctors can’t figure what is wrong with him.

All we know is that his parents were having yet another big fight, and the poor kid collapsed.

My guess is that he’s so tired of listening to his mother trying to hold her marriage together by screaming at his father that she has driven the poor kid into a coma.

Max now needs to stay at the hospital so he can be with his son, and so that Jennifer can continue to yell at him.

So Max sent his brother-in-law Steve (who was on his way to Madrid to try to reunite with his family) to pop-in at the bus station, explain everything to Eliza, and give her a lot of cash.

Steve (Gustavo Pedraza) wasn’t too crazy about this idea, because even though yes, he was in his way to Madrid, he was not going by BUS, so it’s a bit of an imposition. But he agreed to go.

He must be a pretty good packer, because normally on the day anyone is about to travel, there’s no time to go to the bus station, cover for a Missing Dad, and still get to the airport in time to fly to Madrid.

But unfortunately poor Steve was mugged and badly beaten up just before he walked into the bus station. Unconscious, he was taken away by ambulance…

And Eliza and the kids are about to be thrown out of the bus station by a mean Gringo who does not speak Spanish…

Meanwhile, back in Mexico, Sofia has problems of her own- not the least of which are a Human Trafficker of a Husband who is also Governor, and an evil stepson named Julian, who is thwarting her escape plans at every turn.

She should have known Julian could not be trusted when, at the age of 11, he expressed an interest in wearing bow-ties, when he should have been asking for a Metallica t-shirt.

Joel, the Brave and Heartbroken Interpol Agent, showed up at a Governor’s Gala in disguise as either a Hipster or a Rabbi.

As you can imagine, this created just enough confusion at the Gala to give Joel and Sofia enough time to plot her escape, with the help of her Kind And Trustworthy Driver, German.

He’s not German – that’s his name – and he’s played by my friend Hely Ferrigny!

The Governor was interrupted at the Gala by his Human Trafficking Partner’s calls from jail demanding to see him.

So the busy Governor left his fundraiser to go to the jail to visit Juan Estevez, with a confession already written out for him to sign.

A “confession” which of course takes the Governor out of the crime ring.

The Governor promised Juan that if he confessed, after a short time in prison he would send him to Spain.

I’m not sure what the Sentencing Laws are in Mexico, but if Parole includes a trip to Spain, this is an excellent criminal justice system.

Even though Juan is a Human Trafficker, and Spain is beautiful, I admired him when he took the “confession” and threw it in the Governor’s face.

As a disappointed Governor left the jail, confession in hand,

I wondered when had time to write it, but figured he had staffed it out to Paula, who loves nothing more than to compound a crime, when she is not trying to humiliate Sofia or fool around with Sofia’s husband The Governor.

In Illinois, our Governors never visit anyone in prison, but that is because they all end up in prison.

Meanwhile, at first Sofia’s escape seems to be going pretty well:

Since one of the guys in the Governor’s security detail is a former and current hitman who Joel had arrested before, Joel was able to convince him to help get the kids to their mom Sofia, who Joel had stashed in a second-rate hotel, where the elegant and highly-accessorized Sofia stood out like a sore thumb.

If you ask me, Joel should have hidden Sofia at The Four Seasons, where she could hide in plain sight.

Things started to break bad when that twit Julián snuck Sofia’s cell phone into the bathroom and called his dad, to tip him off.

Then poor Patrick, Joel’s Interpol boss who spends half of his workday yelling at Joel for being a rebel, and the other half of the day covering for Joel because he’s his best agent, gets attacked by the Sicario/Bodyguard, and is left for dead.

Patrick, played by Ed Trucco, is like Starsky and Hutch’s constantly worried Lieutenant. He knows he’s lucky to have Joel, but Joel’s UnOrthodox methods (unless he’s posing as a Rabbi) drive him crazy.

I love the scenes between Patrick and Joel (played by Guillermo Ivan) more than any other scenes in this show because they usually speak English, so I can relax a little.

As last night’s episode ended, when Sofia opened the door to her Motel 6 room to escape with her kids into the waiting arms and small private plane of Interpol, The Evil Governor was on the other side of the door.

Now what????????

Don’t miss tonight’s exciting episode!!!

Pretty soon we should be seeing Christopher Millan!!

I Love this series!!

Bravo👏👏👏👏👏