I was a freshman in college when Friends went off the air. We all gathered in Katie and Afton’s room to watch the finale, where they were shocked to know that I only watch the sitcom when nothing else was on: I didn’t know the name of Rachel’s baby, or Ross’s profession or how Monica and Chandler got together. Nevertheless, when the ever-so-frequent fire alarms went off in Burge, we risked fines or death by fire to watch Ross and Rachel get together. By turning off the lights, putting on the subtitles and stuffing a towel under the door, we did it.
While my 13-year-old self felt more affected by Seinfeld’s small-screen departure, I actually cry while watching the farewell episode of my favorite Spanish TV show, Se lo Que Hicisteis (I know What You Did). Patricia Conde, the hostess, immediately cries when she gets on set, too. After five years and 1010 episodes, her show has been cancelled due to high costs and low audience numbers.
The show’s hallmark has always been to lambast famous Spaniards, humorously comment on current events and controversies and make fun of one another. But to me, it was the best way for me to see Spain from the inside. I used to sit perched on the couch and ask, “Quién es?” to every person features. Kike (and God bless him for his patience with me!) would say, she’s a late-night sex operator. Oh. Or, “She’s one of those ladies you see reading people’s fortunes.¨ Hmm. I loved when he tried telling me who a person was while trying to keep from laughing. Without them, Belen Esteban would just be that ugly uncultured woman on Telecinco. Come on, how can you not love a segment dedicated to her weekly, if not, daily? I got my first real dose of prensa rosa, tabloids, from Spain, and their commentaries on Spanish lifestyles, history and current events made adaptation a little bit easier, and a lot more comical.
In the finale, Patri asks, “Where do all the TV shows go when they die?” She’s suddenly taken to see God, who is Miki dressed in white with an iPad and asks him. He tells her that good shows with awards, high market shares and ingenious reporters stay in Programas Muertos heaven. Then Dani shows up, dressed as the Devil, and says that ones with fines for slander and low market shares go to hell. He pulls her down with him. Cut to three months after the program ended, and Patri is sitting on a couch with the shades drawn, mourning the death of SLQH by watching clips of their greatest hits and most memorable personajes. I do the typical: I laugh, I cry. But, really, it’s like losing one of the first friends I made in Spain.
I’ll miss Miki Nadal dressing like flamenco god(dess) Falete (the pride of Sevilla) and Dani as his boyfriend, with shouts of “Ayyy, que me están secuestrando!” (They’re kidnapping me!). I’ll miss Patri acting like a complete nut and running around in her underwear. I cursed both Angel and Pilar for leaving the show this year. These people became my afternoon staple, what I, being the great journalist I am, watched instead of the news. I mean, come on, SLQH has the Que está pasando en Telecinco sketch, which is kinda news?
Maybe I’ll just miss the way I felt like I had a little bit of insight into Spain’s larger-than-life celebrities. Maybe I’ll just miss hearing the theme song while I made lunch on Friday afternoons, waiting for Kike to come home. Or maybe it’s Kike’s last departure and knowing that I couldn’t watch the 1010th episode with him, the way we’d probably watched 200 episodes together before that.
As Patri said her goodbyes on their newly-remodeled set, meant to look like the Central Perk, I felt a bit clavada. Did their departure mean I had to settle for the news, or worse, NCIS? I need you, SLQH! I now have absolutely NO faith in the Spanish-made boob tube.