‘Los Espookys’ is still the weirdest show on HBO

Photo illustration by The Daily Beast/HBO

Television may be full of spoiled rich kids, but in Los Espookys, Saturday Night Live writer Julio Torres plays the one twerp to rule them all. Has Chuck Bass ever managed to ask the moon to “fill up” so he can retrieve a lost earring? Because Andrés, the Torres silk pajama lover, did.

Incidentally, the earring serves as a totemic reminder to her to shed all responsibility for her actions.

After a long hiatus, HBO’s most deliciously bizarre comedy returns Friday for a six-episode second season. The series follows a group of horror-loving friends who brand themselves “Los Espookys” and start a production company. The company’s shows this season include: staging a fake Shakira appearance to save a bad sculptor; pull off a convincing ghostly party resurrection in a graveyard; and help a politician win an election by any means necessary. (You could call them “odd jobs.”)

Los Espookys launched its first season in 2019, but fans will find the wait worth it; these new episodes demonstrate that creators Torres, Ana Fabrega and Fred ArmisenWriting has become even more focused. Also improved? The band’s ability to find that final turn of the screw that takes a joke beyond its expected punchline. In one scene, we watch a character talking about a movie on his phone while other viewers watch; eventually, he hangs up on his friends in shock as Mufasa dies. He watched Lion King in the cinema, for the first time in his life.

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This shifted sensitivity fixes Los Espookys apart from the most. All of these characters seem just a little askew – from the sorcerer Andrés to the warm gothic Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco) to the cynical dead-eyed Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherotti).

Fabrega frequently steals the show as Tati, a childish crackpot whose self-awareness is weak enough to allow her to proclaim her culinary prowess to a friend while pouring several bottles of ketchup into a bowl to make “gazpacho.” (If this grotesque imagery reminds you of those nasty “eating disorder” videos of the early pandemic, you’re not far off the mark.) However, the weirdness of all these characters underlies the intense desire to connect. Whether it’s Úrsula’s devotion to influencing political change or Tati’s misguided efforts to write her own “versions” of famous novels like Don Quixoteall of these characters seek ways to end a widespread sense of alienation.

This season picks up several threads from the last while keeping our favorite horror producers busy with a steady stream of gigs. Yet some hallucinatory daydreams and haunting real-life nightmares also manifest. The parasitic water demon Andrés was conversing with last season has decided to brush up on his resume and get an unpaid internship, leaving our favorite baby-man to confide in others, just as his divorce leaves him financially destitute for life. first time in his life. life. (Cue a lot of extremely demanding couch-surfing.) Úrsula is on a mission to block the re-election of a horrible president, and Renaldo tries to figure out his sexuality while haunted by a slain beauty pageant queen. You know, just your ordinary, everyday problems.

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Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Los Espookys, however, is the degree of surreality that comedy is able to inject into the monotonous existences of its characters. Beyond Andrés’ connections to otherworldly characters and celestial bodies, Tati is able to turn his transcriptions of glorified books into a successful (albeit short-lived) writing career, while Úrsula lives up to its long-established reputation for mythical incorruptibility. (In a joke intended to amuse Spanish speakers, it turns out that we have to thank the child-Úrsula for the elimination of “LL” as the official letter of the alphabet.)

With his idiosyncratic comedic voice and unforgettable gonzo visuals, Los Espookys is exactly the kind of series we hope to see more of in a content-rich streaming environment. Alas, it’s also exactly the kind of series that seems threatened as a new merger of Warner Bros. Discovery axes distinctive vocal streaks left and right in an effort to woo “Central America.” Then again, maybe this challenge is just another prop monster for this group to defeat.

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