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Tati Ascends to la Mera Mera of Los Espookys

In the HBO comedy’s season finale, the weirdest character got her due and left us wanting more.
  • Ana Fabrega in the season finale of Los Espookys (HBO)
    Ana Fabrega in the season finale of Los Espookys (HBO)

    Spoiler alertThis post contains spoilers from the Season 1 finale of HBO's Los Espookys.

    There’s a Spanish phrase that doubles as a reference to someone being the best, and/or being the big boss: el mero mero. It can also mean being the center of everything, the person through who draws all the attention when they enter a room. Gus Fring, for example. For a while, he was el mero mero of the Breaking Bad.universe.

    What a delight it is, then, that the most offbeat, head-in-the-clouds character on HBO’s Spanish-language half-hour comedy Los Espookys emerges in the season-finale sixth episode as the big winner. Tati, congratulations on becoming rich, powerful, and more understandable as a character. You are truly la mera mera.

    When we first met Tati (played by show writer and co-creator Ana Fabrega), she was manually turning a fan in the balmy office of Father Francisco, the first of many humiliating odd jobs that included breaking in shoes for other people, moving the second hand inside a clock tower, and serving as a human FitBit. Tati is portrayed for five episodes as living in her own strange world, one in which it makes perfect sense to assume that a dating-app suitor is a real-life cartoon prince who lives in an illustrated castle, or in which dressing up as Marilyn Monroe, but bellowing, “Yabba Dabba Doo!" is an acceptable substitute for dressing up like a sea monster to attract seaside tourists. (In one of the show’s best laugh-out-loud moments, the mysterious host of the tabloid TV show Mira Esto declares that the ghost of Marilyn Monroe has been in turn possessed by Fred Flintstone. Another thing to love about watching a Spanish-language television show: learning that Fred Flintstone in Spanish is “Pedro Picapiedra.").

    Throughout the season, Tati 's behavior suggested she was either crazy naive (at one point she gets involved in a pyramid scheme selling “Hierbalite" products) or possibly just plain crazy. (At another point she randomy blurts out that that she’s cheating on her husband by dating online, but she has no husband that we know of.)

    But the finale offered a daring, if not completely airtight explanation for Tati’s antics while also putting her in a much better economic bracket. Úrsula plots to swap Tati for Andrés in the wedding ceremony with Juan Carlos, putting the cookie fortune heir in a position of marrying a woman he barely knows. He follows through just to avoid public embarrassment. Surprise! It turns out Juan Carlos is charmed by Tati’s lack of guile and her unpredictability; she did show up to the wedding in a knockoff of Jennifer Lopez’s famous green Versace Grammys dress. Tati is suddenly able to financially bail herself and her sister Úrsula out of the Hierbalite debt and, presumably, will help fund the further adventures of Los Espookys. Soon, she’s upgraded to a Jackie Kennedy inspired pink dress and pillbox hat, and we know she’s doing to be just fine.

    But the other chancla the show drops is the revelation that Tati actually processes time in a less linear way than the rest of us: she experiences it all at once (insert True Detective reference here). That doesn’t explain why she was caught by surprise by the suitor from Spain’s identity (he’s not actually a cartoon character), or what Fred Flinstone has to do with Marilyn Monroe, but it does offer a succinct reason for her character’s flighty nature, easy acceptance of life’s twists and turns, and random remarks.

    The big question now is will there be further adventures of Los Espookys? Nobody who’s grown to love Tati wants to see her story end here, but HBO has yet to renew the series. While the six episode season earned strong reviews from critics, it underwhelmed ratings-wise, with viewership in the low hundred thousands. Perhaps we can take comfort in the fact that one of the show’s stars and creators, Julio Torres, has a half-hour comedy special coming up next month on the network?

    Omar L. Gallaga is a longtime technology and culture writer with bylines in The Wall Street Journal, NPR's All Tech Considered blog, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, CNN and the beloved TV websites Television Without Pity and Previously.tv. He's a former newspaper journalist who now lives in New Braunfels, Texas. You can find him on Twitter @OmarG. 

    TOPICS: Los Espookys, HBO, Ana Fabrega