Univision

Maybe I’m not a Millennial

Maybe I'm not a Millennial

Until this past Monday I was convinced I was a Millennial.  And I had the factual data to prove it!  Now, after the premiere of Fusion, I’m not so sure anymore.

No.  That’s not a direct attack on the new cable network.  Only that after all the hype of how the network was created for Millennials, all about Millennials, based on precisely what Millennials like and want to see… I kind of found myself second-guessing whether my barely-within-the-age-group 34 years of life were even a good single measure of what it means to be a Millennial.

What the hell does “being a Millennial” even mean? I found myself asking.

That’s pretty typical of me though.  I am always overanalyzing everything.  Especially stuff like this.  There wasn’t really anything wrong with the little of Fusion I did get to watch per se.  We don’t have cable at home on purpose, and I certainly wasn’t going to go out and purchase a subscription just to get this new channel.  Sorry Univision and ABC, this Mexican is too cheap for that.  ¡Sorri for you! 

But since Monday was their first day on air, the new news network for Latino Millennials did make their first morning show episode available online. I couldn’t resist.  I had to watch.  The truth is it was funny, it was quirky, it was kind of appealing… but then it was also kind of, off-putting.  After about 10 minutes of the programming telling me what it means to be a Latino in the US, and how different Millennials see themselves as Latino Millennials, and some other stuff about Millennials, and Millennials, and Millennials… I kind of stopped paying attention.

I made myself focus once again, and managed to tune in for another 40 minutes.  That’s when I decided that hey, you know what… maybe I am not a Millennial after all?  I mean I wasn’t as excited about this Millennial channel for Latinos as much as I thought I should have been, and that kind of made me feel guilty.  It’s great that we are becoming such an integral part of mainstream America!

But am I the only one still wondering why it doesn’t feel like we are really an integral part of mainstream American culture?  Especially mainstream pop culture (the entertainment industry)?  There still hasn’t been that show that I could stop and point at and say “hey, that’s me!, or that was me at one point in my life!”).

In all fairness, I should also say those roughly 60 minutes have been the only 60 minutes worth of programming on Fusion that I have seen so far.  Again, no cable.  Not going to get it anytime soon.  I’m probably not even the right demographic for this new network anyway.  I’m right at the cutoff age remember.  And I should also know better than to criticize a new network (or an established one for that matter too) by this stage in my blogging career, if I don’t expect to suffer any consequences.

I have all but been blacklisted by a couple of them already for sharing my humble little opinion about their programming.

Oh well.  ¡Así son estas cosas! 

Then as I was telling my story to Anjelica about how maybe I am not a Millennial, Edgar chimed in: “You sure do look like one!”

Well.. we all laughed… maybe I do!

ABC & Univision pulling out all the stops to welcome their new Fusion network

ABC Univision pulling out all the stops for the launch of Fusion

If you haven’t noticed it yet, don’t worry.  As Monday, October 28th gets closer, we’ll all inevitably be inundated with English, Spanish and Spanglish television, radio and out of home advertisements telling us… that FUSION is coming!  Yes, Fusion, the love child of major US networks Univision and ABC – the one they are concocting to lure the highly coveted English-speaking Latino viewer – will launch precisely next Monday.

Although the elephant in the room is still: (shhhhhhh…) will anyone be watching?

I won’t go into that today.  Suffice it to say as consumers of entertainment who happen to be Latino and who sometimes prefer to consume our entertainment in English (notice I said sometimes), we are already inundated with less than stellar programming in both English and Spanish.  As one of my friend’s put it so eloquently hace unos días.  We have more choices than ever before.  We like culturally-relevant content.  But it has to be authentic.  We’re also quick to call your bluff.  And we can do it in two languages!

How you like them apples?

Alright, alright… so some of the promo material I’ve seen so far is compiled below for you.  My personal favorite, and something I really am looking forward to seeing myself, is the fusion (ba-dum-dum) of Good Morning America and Despierta América next Monday.  I never would have expected to see this level of immersion of our cultura in mainstream media, and vice versa.  Honestly, I’m excited about it!

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There’s also this English-language news and entertainment show featuring veteran Univision reporter Jorge Ramos.  I’ll have to watch this one to make an educated opinion… but I am sort of intrigued.

ABC Univision pulling out all the stops for the launch of Fusion

De más, Fusion continues to be touted as “A new world.  A new network.  Not everybody gets it.”

Should we check in with Mundo Fox, Nuvo TV or Jennifer Lopez to see how things are going in this brave new world?

What’s your take?

The Magic of Love-Hate Telenovela Relationships!

The Magic of Love-Hate Telenovela Relationships

Corazón Indomable image from Univision.

There’s a love-hate relationship that takes place between protagonists in every telenovela.  If you’re a regular viewer, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Usually the star crossed lovers don’t know anything about each other at the beginning.  They may even detest each other.  All of a sudden a series of events take place (either very rapidly or very slowly, depending on the production), and the pair end up falling in love.  They live blissfully for an episode or two… iluego, all hell breaks lose!

From one moment to the next the lovers can’t stand each other.  They take turns crying and lamenting over what could have been, and in the case of Ana Brenda Contreras and Daniel Arenas in Corazón Indomable they subsequently engage in a flirtatious back and forth that results in what can only be described as television magic.  At least magic in the form of extraordinary ratings for Spanish-language network Univision – the giant of Spanish-language entertainment in the US.

In case you haven’t figured it out, we’re big fans of Corazón Indomable at our house.  Even Anjelica, who normally would retire to another room when I would watch my telenovelas, is hooked.  In fact, she’s way more hooked on this one than I am.  That either means we’re starting to really rub off on each other, or this Mexican soap opera is just that good!  Okay, so it’s the latter.

I wouldn’t normally praise a telenovela this gratuitously.  Bueno… yes I would!  Even so, this show is really a breath of fresh air.  At a moment when beauty queens and former underwear models (sorri William Levy) are being cast as lead characters in primetime soaps without much regard for their actual acting chops, one can really appreciate a good script, excellent acting skills, and a cast of characters that are more than one or two dimensional.  No es por nada, pero my paisana Ana Brenda is the best thing that has happened to Televisa in a long time!

Y bueno, while I understand William Levy may be nice to look at.  That has to get old after a while, no?  Well, doesn’t it?  You don’t have to answer if you’d rather plea the fifth.  I usually do so when people ask me the same thing about JLO.

In the meantime, let me go find tonight’s episode of the novela… porque, ¡me la perdí! 

Could Eugenio Derbez replace Don Francisco?

Could Eugenio Derbez replace Don Francisco?

This weekend Anjelica asked me that question.  We were watching Don Francisco’s Sábado Gigante (of our own free will this time, believe it or not).  Usually the only time we catch snippets of the more than 50 year old show – the longest-running variety television show in the world, thank you very much – is when we’re either at my parents’ home or hers.  It’s not that we don’t like Don Francisco and/or all of the cast of characters who accompany him on the show.  From the lovable La Cuatro, to the Chacal, Javier, and all of the models and kids, it’s like they are all a part of our cultural familia.

We know who they are.  They’ve always been a part of our lives.  Only now, they’re like our older aunts and uncles, who we respect and honor, but who we wouldn’t necessarily hold a serious discussion with about social media, pop culture or even Miley Cyrus’ less than enviable twerking skills.  Don Francisco especially.

I thought about it for a second and then I said: “Nah… he’s Hollywood now!”

Hollywood, because Eugenio Derbez was co-hosting Sábado Gigante to promote his first feature film as a director, Instructions Not Included (which coincidentally opens this Friday in theaters nationwide).  It also struck me after I said that que Eugenio Derbez is one of the few Latin American artists who have managed to find “cross-cultural” success in Hollywood.  He went from starring in Mexican comedy shows like La Familia Peluche, to small roles in big Hollywood productions, and now his own feature film, all the while maintaining his established English- and Spanish-speaking fan bases… and gaining more loyal followers along the way.

He’s one of those entertainers that both my parents and I can relate to, and who my nephews, nieces and Edgar can find amusing and relevant.  I started to rethink my answer.  Maybe there is more to this move by Univision?

Would it be fair to say Derbez is a Millennial entertainer?

I wouldn’t mind watching him on Sábado Gigante actually.  And I do believe I would be watching more often.

You’re move now Univision!

Will Fusion by ABC & Univision Flourish or Flop?

fusion network abc univision juanofwords

Will ABC & Univision find success in Fusion?

So it’s official.  There’s now an estimated date for when Univision and ABC’s new joint venture – the Fusion network (they have a name for it too now) – will be on the air.  According to the two major US networks by the end of this summer is when we should expect to see Fusion on air.  Pero before then look for Fusion to hit the web and probably all of social media in the months leading up to it’s grand inauguration.  The question now, very appropriately raised by the New York Times this week, is will this network actually have an audience?

Will Fusion be successful?

If you’ll recall, this new network is being billed as a 24 hour news and entertainment channel for English speaking Latinos in the United States.  En efecto it will be one more channel in the pool of hundreds of other selections already out there that will attempt to pull in US Latinos by offering more Hispanic-infused content in English rather than Spanish.  It’s the first such venture for both ABC and Univision, pero as some experts are already pointing out in order for it to be successful Fusion will need to pull in more than only a US Latino audience.

“This audience identifies as Americans first,” said Larry Lubin, co-founder and president of Lubin Lawrence Inc., a brand consultancy that advised both companies, to the New York Times.  He also stressed that the venture needed to broaden its appeal.  “The brand will be a failure if it only appeals to Latinos.”

As far as what type of content we should expect from Fusion here’s what Isaac Lee, president of Univision News, told the Times:

Fusion will broadcast unscripted series and specials, all with a Latino slant. Mr. Lee pointed to series like National Geographic’s “Locked Up Abroad” about tourists who end up in foreign prisons, as the type of documentary series he hoped the channel would do. Extensive news coverage in collaboration with ABC News will revolve around the interests of Latinos. Coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, for instance, would focus on potential Latin American candidates to succeed him, Mr. Lee said.

It still sounds like a gamble to me, but I am honestly intrigued by this new venture.  What about you?  Will you give Fusion a chance?  Do you have any suggestions for the new network?  Share them with Fusion here.

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Is Samy on ‘Mira Quién Baila’ a Sign of the Times?

samy mira quien baila univision sexuality and latinos juanofwords

Is Samy introducing a new, more accepting era of Spanish-language television?

So Samy is on Mira Quien Baila this season.  “Samy from Miami” to be more precise – who knew?  That in it of itself is not really that much of a shock.  I mean what else is the Divo up to these days?  What was kind of a little eyebrow-lifting, last night, on the premiere Univision’s hit series, is just how open the once-mum-about-his-sexuality hairdresser now was about his relationship with longtime partner Alex.

The happy couple have been together for 36 years.  This was also the first time I had ever heard Samy speak so candidly about his sexuality.

Ten years ago this would never have happened.  Much less would it have been aired on Univision or Telemundo, on prime time, for that matter.  Hell, not even a couple of years ago would this have likely happened… I don’t think.

So, what does that say about us?

Are we more accepting now of different lifestyles?  Are we finally at the point as a US Spanish-language television watching audience where we can view same sex partners in a different, less slapstick, “poking fun of” or insulting sort of way?

I guess in a way that remains to be seen… depending on how much support Samy is able to garner and how long that support is able to keep him on the show.

Could Samy quite possibly be breaking new ground?

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