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Adultery, greed and hypocrisy: The dark side of Chespirito

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Roberto Gómez Bolaños, the Mexican comedian best known for creating the massively popular El Chavo del Ocho show, passed away on November of 2014. He was 85.

Even though its executives consider it “shoddy” and “in bad taste,” it was recently announced that Globo, the largest television network in South America, would be purchasing the rights to the soon-to-be 50-year-old-show, whose first episode aired in June of 1971.

Brazilian viewers apparently still love Chespirito, but Mexican audiences — the main demographic the show was created for — always had mixed feelings about El Chavo del Ocho.

Bolaños has been considered Latin America’s biggest purveyor of safe, family-friendly, and “white” (inoffensive) humor, so how can anybody hate that? To begin with, many people believe Roberto actively reached for the lowest hanging fruit with his brand of comedy. He also engaged in plenty of personal, rotten practices.

Here are highlights:

1) Bros b4 girls: Breaking up Quico and Doña Florinda

Believe or not, Quico, played by Carlos Villagrán, used to date Florinda Meza, his mom on the show. It’s kinda gross, I know, but not as gross as Roberto’s behavior since, according to Carlos himself, Bolaños asked Villagrán to break up with Meza because “the company” (Televisa) didn’t approve of relationships between coworkers.

Florinda Meza, aka “Doña Florinda,” and Carlos Villagrán, aka “Quico.”

Months later, Quico found out Roberto, who was married to one Graciela Fernandez, his baby momma of I-don’t-know-how-many-kids, started dating Meza in secrecy. The comedian eventually divorced Graciela and married Florinda, but Quico ceased speaking to his former bro for over 22 years.

And considering she became the main reason Roberto divorced his first wife, Meza lived “in shame” for many years among “judgy” Mexicans, she later revealed to Paty Chapoy in a scandalous interview.

2) Pinochet better have his blood money because #dealswithdictators

Even if it was through ill-advised gigs, or nefarious friendships, Roberto loved getting his greasy, torta-stained hands on dirty money.

The Chavo del Ocho cast performing live in Chile in 1977.

Case in point, in 1977 Bolaños completely ignored an industry-wide boycott many of his colleagues had enacted against Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. He toured Chile throwing caution to the wind, and claiming that he was doing it for his audience.

Years later, “Chespiro” performed in a private party for Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, leader of notorious drug cartel in Cali, Colombia.

3) Get your hands off Chavo’s tortas — and characters

“I’m a little flea who’s been pitted against a giant monster,” said María Antonieta de las Nieves, who played Chilindrina, one of the most popular characters on El Chavo del Ocho, about her decade-long legal battle against Roberto and Televisa.

Having earned close to two billion dollars in syndication fees for Televisa, María’s former boss made millions off residual royalties from the show. But shortly after the series ended in the ‘80s, the rest of the cast members couldn’t land a job to save their lives.

Since acting was no longer working out, María put together a circus act in order to get by, but greedy Roberto quickly tried to halt its production through the Mexican legal system.

The actress manged to popularize la Chilindrina by adding her own quirks to the character’s personality. Still, Chespirito didn’t want anybody making money off what he considered his sole creation.

The courts eventually sided with María.

4) Your body, Bolaños’ choice

Considering he had no problem engaging with shaddy dictatorships, it made sense for Roberto to become one of PAN’s strongest supporters.

The ultra-conservative political party — themselves famous for trying to ban public kissing, among other hilarious nonsense — put Roberto front and center in their campaign ads, which included one to keep abortion illegal (your body, his choice):

Then again, it’s hardly shocking to know that the “Red Grasshopper” was a hardcore right-winger since he was fond of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, possibly the most-hated Mexican president ever.

(Having gone through Carlos Salinas and Enrique Peña Nieto, two other grade A assholes, that’s saying a lot.)

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María Rubio was so good as Catalina Creel, an iconic telenovela villain, the role ruined her career

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According to sources on Twitter, and also TvNotas, the holy bible of Mexican gossip, María Rubio, the legendary actress best known for her role as Catalina Creel de Larios in Cuna de lobos, has passed away. She was 83 years old.

Thanks to her role as Soraya Montenegro in María la del Barrio, Itati Cantoral has been dominating the internet with an insane amount of memes, gifs, and even a House of Cards promo special. Itati blew up in the mid ’90s, when older millennials were still teens, and she’s that generation’s go-to character when it comes to Mexican telenovela villains.

Yes, Cantoral was great as Soraya, but the top dog in the telenovela villain game was — and has always been — María Rubio. The Tijuana-born actress was so good in Cuna de lobos that, according to an interview she did with Cristina Saralegui, the role ruined her career:

“[Catalina Creel] was a difficult, beloved character. I enjoyed playing her, but she also hurt me a lot. People completely forgot about María Rubio and now it seems that, after 40 years of being an actress, I’ve only done Catalina Creel.”

Catalina, a murderous matriarch, was known for having some of the best one-liners in telenovela history. But in the same interview with Saralegui, which was filmed over 20 years ago, María proved to be just as cunning and smart as her infamous character, but also incredibly funny:

“[Although I played a villain], I’ve received nothing but compliments, love, and admiration. Never aggression. I think viewers do attack the bad ones — bad actresses, that is.”

If you understand Spanish, check out the hilarious interview below. Watch María viciously own everyone in a panel of full of young telenovela villains:

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Traumatic advice from aunt Rosa: “Don’t torture your Care Bear, Mijo. Or else.”

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I was 6 years old when I yelled at Tugs, my Care Bear. I put him in time-out for not agreeing to the rules of an imaginary game I had just created.

I built a little time-out fortress for him to stay in while I played with my other toys. Coincidentally my tía Rosa was visiting that day. I urged her to see all my toys when she came into the house. I also explained to her that Tugs was in time-out, to which she replied in shock, “Mijo, mira, You have to be nice to your toys.”

I replied, “Tía, I am nice to my toys, but I’m teaching him a lesson.”

She contested nervously, “No, Mijo, you have to be nice to your toys or they might not be nice to you.”

I wasn’t following her logic.

Mijo, if you’re not nice to your toys, then at night time they might wake up and crawl into your bed to cut your toes with tiny razors,” she said slowly while staring at my imprisoned Care Bear.

“What?!” I whispered to her while looking at Tugs from the corner of my eye.

“Yes, your toys might do very bad things to you if you don’t treat them good.”

I stared at her in disbelief.

She stood up and walked towards the doorway.

Mijo, I brought you some tortillas. Come in the kitchen and let’s warm them up,” Rosa said casually.

From then on, Tugs sat on a tufted pillow on my dresser while I slept in velcro shoes for the next year. Growing up in my Mexican-American family meant that everything was possibly alive and watching you.


Felix III – Journeys the cosmos via Holy Hands Vol. 2. Rents a one-bedroom on Neptune. IG: @Futurefelix / Twitter: @thefuturefelix


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