How do you survive being single? According to Amazon Prime’s first global release of a Spanish-language scripted comedy series, Cómo Sobrevivir Soltero (How to Survive Being Single), all you need is a dating app and a good group of friends.
Much like the streaming service, this is my first venture into a Spanish comedy (my portfolio extends to a few episodes of Netflix’s Elite that I started while in quarantine and the anxiety-inducing Money Heist (La Casa de Papel), so I didn’t know what to expect. Don’t worry, there are subtitles!
Based on the first four episodes, the series has all the makings of a comedy and delivers on its promise of being a show that highlights how much “the dating world has changed in modern Mexico.”
The series is aimed at the millennial crowd with a plethora of references about the hook-up culture, Tinder, and a character developed dating + ride-sharing app called “Love Ride” (how is that not a thing yet?), but most importantly, it centers around the framework of friendship and how necessary a good support group is following a breakup with the person you thought was “the one.”
The 13-episode series centers on Sebastián (nickname Seba). Sebastián Zurita plays his fictional self and draws inspiration from his real-life dating experiences for a series that’s part fiction and part autobiographical. It’s unclear which parts happened in real life, but in the short timeframe, Sebastián’s journey takes many unexpected turns and seems to be wildly exaggerated for the TV landscape.
At first glance, Sebastián has it made. He’s on his way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the cult classic film “Dumped” with longtime girlfriend and co-star, Lucia (Pamela Almanza). It’s a love-story ripped straight from the headlines.
When we meet couples so early into a series, things can go one of two ways — their relationship flourishes and takes us on a romantic journey or they break up usually because someone cheated. Considering the series is titled “How to Survive Being Single,” I’ll let you decide which avenue we’re going down.
Sebastián has no idea that the title of the film — dumped — is about to become his reality until his proposal is botched in front of the public when a reporter shows him a video of his cheating girlfriend while he’s down on one knee. Ouch.
Since the breakup happens in the pilot episode, we don’t get to see much of Sebastián’s relationship with Lucia prior to the movie premiere, and all we can really rely on are pieces of information given to us throughout the episodes mainly that they stayed together out of comfort and familiarity.
The series hopes that the audience will connect with the material and with Seba’s experiences because of our own personal long-term relationships and breakups.
And thus, it intentionally makes Lucia a side-character that Sebastián doesn’t give much energy to because she’s out of the picture. After the breakup, he’s hurt, but he’s not interested in talking things through, finding out what went wrong, or getting back together.
He’s over it, and he’s Mr. Moving On. And for the audience, it’s easier to side with and focus on Seba’s journey if we don’t have any connection to Lucia.
Being out of the game for 10-years means Seba, a self-described romantic, is out of his depth as he plunges into the dating world. He gets a lot of (bad and unwanted) dating advice from his friends, which includes getting over Lucia by getting under someone one.
Not only is Seba broken from being cheated on, but he’s also feeling sorry for himself and his diminishing career (he’s been typecast in a role that hasn’t allowed him much other success, which was a huge ding to his ego while dating Lucia).
As Seba deals with his sorrow and grief, his adventure takes some pretty odd turns, and maybe they’re simply odd and unexpected to me because again, I have no idea what to expect from a Spanish-language comedy.
One of those weird storylines is joining a cult leader Christian Chavez, a well-known Mexican singer, songwriter, and actor. Zuritas has been open about giving newcomers and celebrity guests an equal seat at the table, so you can expect plenty of cameo appearances even if the storylines are slightly unconventional.
Chavez runs the cult that aims to make people happy by any means possible, and though it’s a strange storyline, it’s also reflective of how cult’s thrive on vulnerable and impressionable people. All things aside, it was nice to see Sebastián normalize the idea of seeking help, even from this kind of “therapy group,” which allowed him to understand the importance of feeling whatever you need to feel in the moment. Sometimes, faking it till you make it just doesn’t work. The grief lets you know you’re alive.
He then gives into using technology to find love, but navigating the new dating-world proves tricky when his date is a complete nightmare. It’s Seba’s first date post-breakup and he tries desperately to make it work, but here’s the lesson: not every date is going to be perfect, and you won’t vibe with every person you meet. That’s okay. Once Seba learns that, he’s able to open up himself to new opportunities including the beautiful biker woman named Julieta.
It’s a real-life “missed connection,” and instead of leaving it up to fate and/or coincidence, he prints posters to find her because that’s how all great love stories start. Seba is admittedly a bit naive, but the point is, he’s relying on dated forms of connecting with someone when the world is trying so hard to usher him into this “new wave” of dating through an app.
The effort that goes into trying to locate Julieta shows that Seba is exactly the kind of guy you’re looking for when you go on a dating app. They do exist.
Again, the search for Julieta is an unexpected twist, but the series proves that there is no right or wrong formula here — anything goes in Seba’s world, and the sooner the audience accepts that, the more they will enjoy the series.
As previously mentioned, Seba has a group of friends that stand by his side no matter, and it would be unfair to only focus on him when they’re such a principal part of the series and his life.
In a sea of single folks looking for love or the occasional hook-up, Daniel (Roberto Flores) and Mafer (Lucía Gómez-Robledo) are the show’s only (and strongest) couple, proving that when you find the one, you don’t need anything else.
Gonzalo (Octavio Hinojosa)is thirsting over Fabiana (Tato Alexander), the spunkiest of the crew, and it’s evident that as she plays hard to get, eventually, she’ll give into Gonzalo’s efforts.
And then there’s Fish (Fabrizio Santini), the recently dumped (off-screen) who seems to understand the single world and his place in it way better than Seba.
Through the initial four 30-minute episodes, Seba proves that while life may not always go your way, it always happens for the right reasons. And being single is better than being with someone who lies and betrays you.
The comedy doesn’t seem to be altered to entice an American audience but seeing the successes of other Spanish-language shows, it shouldn’t matter.
Love is a universal language… but so are getting your heartbroken and swiping right.
Cómo Sobrevivir Soltero (How to Survive Being Single) debuts on June 26 on Amazon Prime.
The Santa Clauses Season 2 Episode 6 Review – Wanga Banga Langa
The Santa Clauses concluded its season season with a rather satisfying conclusion, which is par for the course for a Disney show about the holidays.
While the battle between Scott Calvin and Magnus Antas was amping up to be big and ugly, the steam quickly fizzled out as Mad Santa realized that he’s been focusing so much on getting the North Pole back that he didn’t even stop to consider if it’s what he really wanted after 700 years. Turns out, it wasn’t—and the human world did a number on him as he actually enjoyed taking to the stage at Santopolis and engaging with the crowds of adoring fans. It was the perfect gig to stroke his ego, without all of the pressure that comes with the role of Santa Clause, while allowing the rightful Santa, Scott, to continue for years to come.
Kris, who appeared throughout the series as the owner of Santapolis who was just trying to make his dad proud, tagged along for the ride back to the North Pole with Scott and Carol, which was a dream come true as he’s dedicated his whole life to Christmas. The guy not only got to experience so much with Magnas Antas and Olga, but he was able to witness all the magic at the North Pole, which was made even more special when it was revealed that he was the little boy in the original movies when Scott, who was just getting a hang of things, was struggling to deliver a kayak. I love when movies do callbacks and bring things full circle, especially as it made Kris’ role more meaningful.
Other elements introduced this season came into play, as Sandra’s powerful magic, helped harness by La Befana (who Kris was also a huge fan of and couldn’t believe he was finally meeting), was the only thing that could help restore Cal from nutcracker to human form. La Befana also cracked me up when she dismissed the idea of being reinstated as a Legendary—she really doesn’t need all that corporate red tape as she’s content just being herself.
Mad Santa pointed out that despite knowing what every child in the world wants for Christmas, Scott didn’t have an inkling of what Cal truly wanted right now. And it was true–he was so focused on making Cal the next Santa that he completely dismissed everything else.
To make up for it, Scott threw a human-like prom for his son as an early Christmas, with Riley as his prom date. They really are meant for each other!
While there’s still a possibility that Cal will continue his Santa training (remember, Mad Santa’s amulet chose Cal, which means that he has potential as the next successor), for now, he needs to live a normal human life. It’s what everyone deserves.
Also getting to dig into the human experience? Noel and Betty during their Kribble Krabble honeymoon. Truthfully, I’m not surprised Betty didn’t have any fun on her own because traveling without your soulmate is not something anyone wants to do willingly. However, after dedicating themselves to the North Pole for thousands of years, they deserved a break, especially when Noel proved that he was deserving of Head Elf status by rallying the gnomes (aka gnomies) to have his back against Mad Santa’s retaliation. Noel did that!
An elf-gnome alliance is something no one expected, but it was a sweet turn of events, as was Bethina and Olgalockilus’ (official names) newfound appreciation for each other. After they went toe-to-toe trying to destroy one another, they realized that they were much more alike than they ever imagined. “It doesn’t make sense that we’re enemies,” Olga noted, as they pieced together that heir feud was simply egged on by their devotion to their “headstrong bosses,” or, as Olga noted, “doofuses.”
Olga even proved she’s a pro at making practical items like printer cartridges and such, and I’m betting that’s on someone’s Christmas list!
Together, the North Pole is stronger than ever. Also props to the quick mentions of Bernard and Charlie and his family… the OG fans appreciate it.
By the time the Christmas season rolled around, delivering presents to the good boy and girls became a family affair (Cal even got over his fear of flying), but not before Scott, Carol (a modern-day Mrs. Clause, not the one represented by a bonnet), Sandra, and Cal stopped by Santapolis to catch Magnus and Kris’ spectacular show.
It seems that all’s well that ends well (though maybe not the latest accusations against Tim Allen of being a complete nightmare on set) when it comes to the magic of Christmas. What did you think of the second season of The Santa Clauses? Did you enjoy it or did you think the series was reaching with the storyline?
The Buccaneers Season 1 Episode 7 Review – First Footing
It was far from a happy new year on The Buccaneers Season 1 Episode 7 as a party held by the Brightlingsea’s tested relationships, particularly in light of Nan’s big secret about being illegitimate became the topic of conversation for the U.K.’s elite.
Nan, who so boldly declared that she was unashamed of where she came from in the previous episode, was suddenly feeling the pressure of the “whispers” (because in the 1800s, that’s how the hot gossip was spread, in addition to telegrams), and those whispers did a number on her relationship with Theo, who stood by her from the moment he found out and tried to be supportive (, yet somehow made her feel like a burden.
The truth here is that Theo could’ve been the perfect gentleman, and Nan still would have found something wrong with his actions. Nan was subconsciously finding any string to pull to push him away, and it just so happened to occur when she felt inadequate and assumed Theo was treating her as a charity case rather than seeing his actions as a testament of his love for her.
Theo supported her wholeheartedly (he doesn’t punish Nan for something she had no control over, as the rest of society does by questioning how she managed to land a duke and wondering if “witchcraft” had anything to do with it), but she ran from him and hid on a rooftop with Guy, which should honestly tell you everything you need to know about what her heart wants.
My biggest issue with Nan is that she’s selfish, something that Theo even pointed out during their fight. She’s dragging his name and reputation through the mud, yet refuses to take the blame for it, all while playing these mind games and driving a wedge between two best friends who, despite having a lot of respect for each other, end up throwing food at each other and engaging in an 1800s version of WWE.
Nan’s incredibly courageous in many aspects of her life, but she’s not able to just declare what she wants, even when given the opportunity many times over, causing so much tension and turmoil, but never really owning up to her part in it.
Theo basically gave her a way out by asking her if she loves Guy, yet she dismissed the question and turned on him for knowing about her illegitimacy and saying nothing.
Theo’s perspective makes a lot of sense as it was never his secret to tell. He didn’t want to embarrass her or put her on the spot. Nan’s stance also has merit as she was wary about divulging this big thing in her life as she felt like when she told Guy, it pushed him away.
Nevertheless, the secret drove a wedge between them as she felt as though she had to hide a part of herself, making it impossible to confide in him the way she did with Guy as she thought she’d lose everything. And, in turn, it allowed her and Guy to become closer as he knew her better than anyone. It’s not exactly a recipe for success for a newly engaged couple.
But still, none of that addresses the situation at hand—her feelings for Guy that she’s been repressing.
Guy was forced to recite word for word what he wrote in the telegram (which he somehow remembered despite being drunk as a skunk), passionately professing his love for Nan in front of Theo, and I honestly have no idea how she kept her composure and didn’t just jump into his arms.
He was wearing his heart on his sleeve, telling her that his heart was eternally hers, even if they could never be together. I’m swooning because it was the most perfect and beautiful letter.
But instead of this massive moment forcing Nan to make a decision, they both skirted around their feelings once again.
Guy and Nan are just like two ships passing in the night—when one of them is ready to take action on their feelings, the other shoots it down, and vice-versa.
After Guy declared his love, Theo gave her a chance to own up to her feelings, but naturally, when she tried to ask Guy if he still meant all those things, he shot it all down telling her that they need to stop doing this dance and informing her of his engagement to Jean, which I don’t actually believe is real because if they were to be wed, wouldn’t she be with him at the party?
Guy likely believes that he’s doing the right thing for Nan as she has a more promising future with Theo, and he doesn’t want to hurt his best bud either.
You should never choose the man with the title over the man that you can confide in and comfortably lay on the roof with, as your fingers brush with desire and every touch is electric, however, when Guy said they need to “free each other,” he gave Nan no other choice, and thus, the episode ends with Nan and Theo driving away in their carriage, the engagement still on, as Guy apologizes to Theo for not being honest with him, asks him to take care of Nan, and will likely regret letting the girl of his dreams slip away for the millionth time before circumstance brings them back together again.
I know that this whole love triangle is necessary for drama-sake, but I just want to shake Guy and Nan. On the other hand, I pride the lot for being so open and honest about no more secrets as that’s incredibly rare when it comes to complicated romances on TV… however, for that reason, it’s also so frustrating as to why Nan and Guy allowed it to continue when they were given a chance to run off together and live happily ever after, no harm, no foul.
Nan doesn’t even care about becoming a duchess, so what’s keeping her with Theo? Though I imagine if she were to ever find out about her mother’s predicament, and the fact that she told Tracy she’s divorcing him once Nan is married and she gets the power of being a duchess’ mom, she would go through with the wedding for her sake.
Nan and Guy’s feelings might not be obvious to anyone else, but Patti picked up on the flirtation immediately, and I expect when it comes down to it, she’ll be the one to convince Nan to follow her heart so she doesn’t end up in a relationship with a man she resents, though in this case, Theo is nothing like Tracy and actually loves her daughter.
I’m firmly on Team Guy because Nan is one of the lucky people in this world who gets to choose her partner based on love. She complicates a matter where there should be no complication, and when looking at the problems of the other “Americans,” she has it easy.
Jinny’s relationship with Seadown is crumbling behind the scenes as she’s finding it harder to pretend, especially as she’s expecting. No one ever uttered the word “pregnant,” but she touched her belly enough times to indicate that she was with child—a child with a monster who continued to harass and embarrass Lizzy at every turn. Did no one notice him being a complete creep when they were playing the blindfold game? Someone needs to hold that man accountable.
Jinny attempts to run away at one point but comes right back out of fear of what he might do to her. I feel for her, but she also avoided all the red flags and warnings from her friends so while she’s a victim, she’s also dug herself into an impossible situation.
Mabel thought that her decision to get married would provide her with a cover so she could be herself and continue on a dalliance with Honoria, but she’s learning that isn’t the case. During their brief yet heavy conversation, Honoria delivers the most gutwrenching line to Mabel—“I hate you for making me feel like I could be loved.”
Honoria has truly made the most progress in these seven episodes, flourishing into a self-realized and brave person, who broaches the topic of Richard’s relationship with Testvalley. She informs him that she knows he was sexually abused by her and doesn’t think he should continue carrying the shame, which prompts him to come clean to his mother, who, in a shocking twist reveals that she always knew and pretty much did nothing about it other than send her away before he could bring “any shame” to the family.
When he tries to inform her of the damage the relationship caused him, she’s dismissive and tells him to stop acting like a baby and be a man. I’d be surprised by this cold display, but it’s in line with what Honoria and Dick said about their parents earlier in the episode, and it’s honestly no surprise that Seadown is who he is. They probably know all about that too and just turn a blind eye as poor Jinny suffers.
Honoria finally taps in Conchita when Dick is emotional on the roof. Though he doesn’t tell her about the extent of the hurt, he does apologize for bringing her into his suffocating family, as she consoles him and tells him that he’s stuck with her as family now. Conchita is his lifeline—and his way out, so I hope he takes it.
When seeing what everyone’s dealing with, Nan’s problems feel so small and inconsequential—whomever she chooses to be with (and it should be Guy), she’ll have a life filled with love, wonder, and experiences, the whisperings be damned because both men think she’s entirely perfect just the way she is.
What did you think of the penultimate episode? How do you think the season finale will pan out? Will Patty’s decision to divorce Tracy influence Nan’s decision? Will Guy attend the wedding? Will Nan get cold feet at the altar?
The Santa Clauses Season 2 Episode 5 Review – B-E-T-T-Y
The Santa Clauses Season 2 Episode 5 finally gave fans insight into the Betty-led coup against Mad Santa thousands of years before his resurgence in Illinois, Scott Calvin’s old stomping grounds, with a vengeance.
Of course, we know that Magnus Antas was turned into a nutcracker—before coming back alive with a sprinkle of Santa magic at Santapolis—by the elves, but what we didn’t know is that Betty and La Befana teamed up to make sure he got what he deserved.
Betty, returning to the North Pole early from her Kribble Krabble, turned in her resignation upon telling Santa Scott the full story, but he didn’t care about any of the clauses/rules, adamantly calling her a “hero” for her sacrifice.
Nothing that Betty told Santa Scott was all that shocking to audiences, though he was definitely taken aback by the news, he didn’t have much time to sit with it because Cal ventured out of the North Pole to retrieve his vest from Magnus Antas, not fully understanding the level of danger he was putting himself in. Cal’s naivety is his best asset and his greatest flaw, all at the same time.
On the other hand, you have to pride him on his bravery because he walked in without a plan and tried to handle it himself without any fears… well aside from his fear of heights and flying the sleigh, which he somewhat conquered.
Mad Santa turned Cal into a puppet after he called his dad the greatest Santa of all time, and was surprised by how much Santa magic he possessed, which means that Scott may get his wish of keeping it in the family business after all.
After they locked all the vortexes and portals coming in and out of the North Pole, Scott and Carol had to find a more unique means of transportation back to the Windy City to save Cal from Mad Santa, while Sandra hung back with La Befana to keep the North Pole safe. Having a witch in the family came in hand!
As for Betty, I’m a bit bummed we didn’t get to see any of her adventures in the real world, and it feels like a missed opportunity to have her not come face-to-face with Mad Santa and Olga, however, I did genuinely like the moment where Noel stood up for his wife and made sure that Magnus Antas knew who she was—her name is B-E-T-T-Y, don’t forget it because she’s the one who managed to take you down and save Christmas for everyone! The North Pole was functioning without her, but it wasn’t thriving, so it’s a good thing she’s finally back.
As for the second season of The Santa Clauses, I feel like it would’ve benefitted from being a movie rather than a limited series because it does feel like the storyline is being dragged out unnecessarily at this point… and it’s starting to lose its magic.
Also, poor Kris, who just wanted to run his little Santa village and earn his father’s love, and now he’s stuck in the royal battle between Mad Santa and Santa Scott. But at least he’ll have one heck of a story to tell, if they don’t dust him when all of this is finally over.
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