HBO’s Los Espookys Defies Comedy Conventions
By Kevin Rueda
HBO’s latest addition to its comedy line-up features Los Espookys, a Spanish-language series that is completely unique and wacky. The series, which takes place in Latin America, follows a group of friends with a passion for horror as they stage stunts and host events. The quartet of friends includes strange and odd personalities: the gothic leader Ronald (Bernardo Velasco) whose appearance contradicts his charismatic and friendly personality; dental-assistant Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherotti) with phenomenal artistic abilities; Andrés (Julio Torres), who is the heir of his parent’s massive chocolate empire; and Úrsula’s sister, Tati (Ana Fabrega), whose nonsensical nature makes her willing to throw herself at anything and everything.
In the pilot episode El Exorcismo (The Exorcism), the quartet hosts a horror-themed quinceanera for Ronaldo’s younger sister. The extravagant party is complete with eyeball-shaped cupcakes, a scarecrow as a drink dispenser, a cake that looks like guts and blood, and servers with missing limbs. After witnessing the grandeur of the party, Ronaldo’s uncle, Tico (Fred Armisen), convinces Ronaldo to turn his talent and passion for horror into a legitimate business. The group’s first official client is Father Francesco (Luis Gnecco), who has lost the support and affection of the orphanage’s children and nuns after the arrival of a younger, handsomer priest with “strangely glossy” lips. With fewer prayer requests and baptisms, Father Francesco hopes to regain popularity by performing an exciting and admirable action: an exorcism. Unfortunately, since none of the orphans have been possessed, the priest hires Los Espookys to stage an exorcism on national television.
Los Espookys is truly a show unlike any other. The show embraces the strange, the whimsical, and the outlandish to create a product that is oddly comedic, certainly entertaining, and completely refreshing. Although the television show is mostly in Spanish, the episodes feature English subtitles. Los Espookys is written by Julio Torres, comedian and writer for Saturday Night Live, and Ana Fabrega, stand-up comedian and actress. Torres and Fabrega, who both play members of the quartet, break conventions as they adopt their own spin on the comedy genre. With a quirky retro-horror soundtrack, offbeat humor, and bizarre characters, Los Espookys is a series that stands out. Currently, Los Espookys holds a 7.5/10 on IMDb with 65 ratings and a 8.0/10 on Rotten Tomatoes with a handful of critic reviews. The weekly series premiers a new episode every Friday night on HBO.