REBELDES' NOTE: For those who are keeping score at home, the following is an unsolicited review. No one asked us to write about this. 100% opinions are our own, just like everything we do here.
Last Friday night, we were intrigued by "The Legend of La Llorona" episode from NBC's GRIMM. When we found out about it a few days before, we thought that it was a baby step in the right direction in the quest to bring more authentic Latino content into the mainstream. We thought it was interesting that after NBC broadcast the episode, Telemundo and mun2 would also play the show of their networks. However, we didn't think that this entire strategy was 100% perfect. There were still questions: Would the content feel natural? Or would it feel foreign, glossy, and stale? Why didn't Telemundo simulcast the broadcast at the same time NBC did? And will there just be a lot of actors speaking in bad accents?
So, quite frankly, our expectations going into the show were quite low. And maybe that was a good thing, because in the end—we loved the episode. We loved it a lot. Like a real lot. In case you missed it, here is the full show.
Here are our five reasons:
- Kate del Castillo: The Mexican actress made a guest appearance as a New Mexico detective who had made the arrest of La Llorona her personal obsession, so much so that he character comes to Portland to help. Let's just say this: del Castillo OWNED the scenes she was in. She was believable and honest. Her performance was multi-layered and went beyond the roles she has gotten on Telemundo. del Castillo should get her own TV show on a major network, or she should just become a regular on GRIMM. That would be a good risk to take. If people are not convinced, just check her out on WEEDS as well. Talk about bringing your A-Game.
- The opening scene: Want to know what honesty and telling a story are about? Just check the episode's first few minutes. In the opening scene, we see Luis Álvarez (played by David Barrera) fishing with his son. He is speaking Spanish (with no subtitles) while his son speaks English. It felt natural. It felt real, and when Álvarez's son goes missing when he comes into contact with La Lllorona, we feel Álvarez's horror and sadness. It hit home, and it was honest. We were hooked.
- The Interpreter: One very nice choice made by the show was when the character of Juliette (played by Bitsie Tulloch) became the police interpreter for Álvarez and other Spanish-speaking characters. Lets just say that Juliette's (and Tulloch's) Spanish was excellent. It worked, and as we later found out from Tulloch's Twitter profile: Lots of you are asking, yes I speak Spanish bc I lived in Spain, Uruguay and Argentina when i was younger. not totally fluent though. We actually though that Tulloch was fluent. She was that good. See what happens when you have writers who actually know how to write dialogue in Spanish?
- A Modern Take on La Llorona: We know so many variations of La Llorona, that our head hurts just thinking about them. Let's just say that we have to credit the show for offering a very realistic and modern take on the story. It was based on the legend's more traditional variations, but the GRIMM version worked because we kept telling ourselves, "Yes, this could actually happen in 2012." And that is why it worked. It also didn't hurt that actor Angela Alvarado Rosa was so good with the character, it just freaked us out. One of our Facebook fans basically thanked NBC for the good show and for bringing back his childhood nightmares. He told us that he couldn't sleep that night. We agree with that.
- The Ratings: Considering that CBS' CSI: NY and BLUE BLOODS dominate the Friday ratings (average of 10-11 million viewers), GRIMM got its second-best rating so far with about 6.1 million viewers. We actually think the La Llorona episode brought in new viewers, and not MOCKINGBIRD LANE, as the mainstream entertainment media would like you to believe.
Now, the GRIMM episode wasn't perfect. We could have done without the other substory (boring). We wanted more of La Llorona. Also, at some points it did feel forced (look, people, these foreign people celebrate El Día de los Muertos and not Halloween), but overall the show did well. Like a Slate article stated: "This week’s GRIMM is the best mainstream acknowledgment of our multilingual nation that I’ve seen on network television." Yes, that is true, but it is no way near this:
So to NBC and Telemundo, this was a good step forward. Here's to more shows like these, and less shows about cops and drug dealers. Are you listening, MUNDOFOX?