I have been meaning to share my new discovery with you all for three weeks now but it felt like such a daunting task to attempt a description of it that I, of course, put it off until now.
I no longer make plans for Sunday evenings because I have blocked off that time to emotionally prepare myself to watch my new favorite television show, Vida. The drama series focuses on Latino characters in Boyle Heights and though my story happened 45 minutes away in Orange County, I suddenly see a little bit of myself in every single one of these characters.
I’ll attempt to avoid spoilers but my excitement may get the best of me, you’ve been warned.
Vida follows two sisters, Lyn and Emma as they come back to their home in East Los Angeles when their mother passes away. On their return they discover family secrets, a bar in need of saving (or selling as Emma wants to do) and a past that both girls have tried to run away from multiple times. One of my favorite things about this show (and there’s a lot of favorite parts) is how the two main characters are flawed, independent, complicated, strong and absolutely frustrating all at the same time.
Lyn (played Melissa Barrera) is the first character I found myself identifying with, though her behavior can be seen as destructive at times, it’s her naiveté that has me rooting for her. Emma (played by Mishel Prada) reminds me of teenage Julie and suddenly I want to hug a fictional character and tell her that everything is going to be okay. Emma exists in a tough exterior, though by the third episode you can feel her heart that threatens to break with every breath she takes. We also met Eddy (played by Ser Anzoategui) , their mother’s “roommate”, and the magic of this character comes in the quiet moments. The silent tears, the pauses she takes in between sentences; Ser has built a powerful character and I can’t wait to see more of Eddy in the upcoming episodes.
In its three episodes this show has managed to discuss everything from the complexities of eating a man’s ass to the gentrification that happens in our communities and slowly attempts to erase our culture. We have witnessed how grief takes a toll in our existence, we have seen multiple kinds of Queer representation and it’s happened all while providing a strong storyline that continues character development on a weekly basis. I haven’t even mentioned the sex scenes yet! The sex scenes that subtly showcase the emotional distress that bad decisions may cause, the abrupt but tastefully-done frontal nudity and the character’s choices to be unapologetic in their endeavors; even when their sexual desires may be problematic at times, is what keeps me wishing they’ll extend this show into a one-hour drama for Season 2.
This television show is proof that representation matters because three weeks of watching this and suddenly I’m almost done writing the Pilot episode of the TV show I created yet, kept putting off the writing of it. I have never seen so much love and care be provided to telling a complex and beautiful Mexican-American story. The enchanting moments happen in the Spanglish, in the Mexican sayings and the myths we all grew up hearing and suddenly I can’t wait for my niece to be old enough to see this show.
Vida airs on Starz Sundays at 8:30PM