In “Falsa Identidad” We See Why All Big-City Mayors Should Still Live At Home With Their Moms

Que tal!

Well, in “Falsa Identidad,” the latest ThrillerNovela from Telemundo, last night we watched the second episode, and have already called out our spot on the couch for the third episode, which starts Muy Pronto.

So, I didn’t realize until last night that Eliseo was THE MAYOR, yet still lived with his mother and stepfather.

I’m from Chicago, where we have a longstanding tradition of Mayors Behaving Badly.

I realize now that if they still lived at home with their moms, they would behave a lot better.

Eliseo sent his brother Diego on the road with Isabel and her son, so that Diego could escape from the Narco Gavino Gaona, who wants to kill Diego for stealing his wife and his gasoline.

Gavino had already killed his wife, now it’s Diego’s turn. So far no one in Gavino’s organization has been able to kill him because they either lost him in the chase or they are in love with him.

I’m not sure which category David falls into yet.

Mayor Eliseo promised Isabel he’d raise her teenage daughter as his own, because there weren’t enough passports for her, but he still hasn’t figured out how he will tell his scary, steely, flinty mother (The Great Sonia Smith) that he has a teenage daughter who just popped up.

Since her 2nd husband has already accused her of failing as a mother because her son Diego steals oil from Narcos, he will also accuse of her as failing as a grandmother, and it will be no excuse to say she didn’t even know she had any grandchildren.

MEANWHILE, I love watching Diego and Isabel On The Road because they are bickering just as much as any old married couple, even though they just met yesterday in the hallway of the Mayor’s house.

They crossed into Arizona yesterday but the Gaona Cartel is hot in their tail thanks to a combination of very corrupt border agents and ultra-efficient hotel clerks.

MEANWHILE, everyone has come to the Mayor’s house looking for El Diego and Isabel. First, Isabel’s weak and drunk husband brought his father, The Chief of Police, to find Isabel and the kids at the Mayor’s house.

Here’s where MEXICO is just like Chicago: No police chief in the real world or in Novelaville, in Chicago or in Mexico, is searching the Mayor’s house.

Not if they want to keep their pension anyway.

So at first, the Chief pretends to be a little social, but he loses his temper and eventually demands that Zoraida produce his daughter-in-law and grand-kids. At that point the Mayor’s mom Fernanda threw him out of the house.

The only thing worse than getting thrown out of the Mayor’s house is if it’s his mom who gave you the boot.

Defeated, El Coronel and that imbecile of a son left the Mayor’s house and went home to get drunk.

El Coronel thinks Isabel has a boyfriend; he doesn’t know she escaped because her son will kill her.

Just as Fernanda got rid of those two, the whole Goana Cartel showed up, looking for Diego.

They surrounded the Mayor and his stepfather at gunpoint,

on the front steps of the Mayor’s house.

We may behave pretty badly in Chicago, but no one here would ever have the nerve to hold the Mayor at gunpoint on his front steps.

Honestly, he’s more likely to take hostages than we are.

Eliseo is very brave, and he told the Goana Crew, including The Perpetually Angry Gavino, that they could come in and search the whole house. Diego wasn’t there.

Of course, once he called their bluff (and they then claimed that they saw Diego driving away), they all left.

I think that the real reason the Goana crew declined the offer is because they were afraid they’d run into Fernanda.

MEANWHILE,

Gavino, whose appears to hate his daughter Circe and vice-versa, announces yesterday that when the time comes, he’s giving control of the cartel to his right-hand man Joselito, and not his daughter because she’s a woman.

Not only has a made an enemy, he may have lost a Falconer.

Watch this fun and fast show tonight!!

In The NarcoNovela “El Senor De Los Cielos,” The Casillas Family Are The Worst Houseguests EVER!

Que tal!

I hope you have been watching “El Senor de Los Cielos” because right now it is the only show crazier than “Sin Senor Si Hay Paraíso” , and believe me, that’s saying something.

First of all, El Senor himself is in a coma, with his head wrapped up in bandages, with only one eye poking out.

Imagine The Invisible Man in the middle of a contract dispute, with a lot of men wearing big cowboy hats and bigger belt buckles in charge of his medical care.

After he was shot by El Cabo and his ever-dwindling group of Not-So-Merry Men, he had sought refuge with El Rayo (his childhood boxing coach), where he was rescued by his half-brother Amado, who is known as El Aguila Azul, but to be honest I think he should be called “El Principe Azul,” and Aurelio’s triple-crossing girlfriend Corina, and some luchadors.

This crew got him to The Ahumada Ranch, which is usually a pretty quiet place even with Don Ahumada running for El Presidente, until their long-lost (for a good reason) cousins The Casillas Family (all shot up) showed up at the Ahumada Ranch. Dona Alba and Mrs. Ahumada are cousins, but there’s a reason why Mr. Ahumada doesn’t want them around and it’s this: THE CASILLAS FAMILY ARE NARCOS AND HE IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AND HIS PLATFORM IS “I AM NOT A NARCO!”

With the Casillas Clan, you get a lot of gangsters, bullys, big guns, yelling, a Command Center, more yelling, plotting, full-metal makeouts in unexpected places, shoot-outs, worry, drama, a mini-hospital, a full medical staff, torture, kidnappings, and even more yelling. This is not what a Presidential Candidate needs, except maybe for the plotting. And the make-outs. And the medical staff is OK but only if they have brought Ambien.

In fact, the Casillas Clan should probably just stay home the next time they are attacked.

Meanwhile, to add to the Candidate’s worry, his daughter Diana was kidnapped by the neighbors, the Ramos Brothers, who I hope are better ranchers than they are kidnappers and neighbors. Don Ahumada and the police were on their way to rescue Diana, but she tried to stall them because with the Casillas Cousins taking up all of the air in the room with their problems, neither Diana nor her mother had had a chance to tell Papi that Diana is a Narca, and that is why she is still single.

Diana is like a teenager who gets caught with marijuana in her backpack, except in her case it’s like 18 tons of marijuana.

She was so afraid her father and the police were going to find out she was a Narca that she actually called her archenemy and Texas dinner date El Cabo to ransom her. Cabo agreed to do it, because he thinks everything is funny, even though he thought there was a slight risk that it could be a set up. And even though it was not a set-up, because he did not find Diana tied to the railroad tracks (which I guess The Ramos Brothers said they were going to do) he believed that it was. If you ask me, the best part about that scene on the tracks was that one of his henchman held an umbrella over Cabo, to keep the strong sun off his head. Cabo is like Queen Elizabeth without the handbag, in that someone else holds his umbrella.

If I worked for Cabo, I would tell him he needs a summer weight Run-DMC track suit, in seersucker, because black velour is just too warm. I think if El Cabo could be anything he wanted to be (besides El Cabo), he would be a Russian Oligarch, because no one would love to prance around in an ostrich jacket more than El Cabo.

Luckily for Diana, she is rescued by her half-cousin Amado Leal, known as El Chicle or El Aguila Azul. But in Diana’s case, it’s more like “El Principe Azul” because when he rescues her as they booth shoot it out with the Nitwit Ramos Brothers, it’s Love At First Shot. It’s a good thing her hair and makeup still looked good even though she had to wear the burlap head bag for several days.

See, my mother was right: You never know where you are going to meet your Future Husband, and having your head stuck in a burlap bag is no excuse not to wear lipstick.

Once Diana was rescued from the Ramos Brothers, she had to explain to her father that she was kidnapped because she is a Narca, which is also why she was still single.

Of course she was kidnapped because she’s a Narca!

What does she look like? The Lindbergh Baby?

Meanwhile, an angry El Cabo incorrectly felt he had been betrayed by Diana, so he tried to kill her father at a campaign rally. If he dies I think there is a chance he can still win the election since everyone likes a nice quiet candidate.

And El Cabo’s girlfriend Evelina went to the morgue to identify her dead father but he wasn’t there, and that’s probably because he’s not dead.

If I understood things correctly, and the odds are pretty good that I did not, Evelina’s father is El Rayo, which makes her practically family to the Casillas Family, which is going to make Thanksgiving particularly awkward.

Don’t miss a minute of this fast, funny and fantastic show!

“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!