Why ‘There is no one who lives here’ and ‘Los Serrano’ are a phenomenon in the era of platforms and networks | TV

Between 2003 and 2006, a series recounted the comings and goings of the neighborhood community in an old building on Desengaño street with six houses and a gate where surreal and absurd situations derived from coexistence and relations between neighbors occurred. Between 2003 and 2008, another series sneaked into the Madrid home that welcomed the recently created family as a result of the union of Diego, a widower, and Lucia, a divorcee. He brought three children to the group and she, two girls. There is no one living here and The Serrano they marked two milestones in the history of Spanish television. Multiple awards, extensive international recognition and millionaire audiences certify it: There is no one living here it had an average following in its five seasons of 6,030,000 viewers (and a 33.8% audience share); The Serrano in its eight installments it scored an average of 5,038,000 viewers (and a 28.6% share). In both cases, some seasons touched seven million. Stratospheric figures then and now unattainable.

Almost three decades after leaving the Antena 3 and Telecinco grills, these two sociocultural phenomena of the early 2000s live a second life thanks to platforms and social networks. Especially striking is the case of There is no one living here. Since it was incorporated into the Netflix catalog on October 15, it has remained week after week as one of the most viewed on the platform in Spain. It is also one of the series that Spanish Netflix users watched the most hours in recent weeks, according to the data that the platform itself publishes without specifying figures.

Its actors realize this rebirth. Loles León played in There is no one living here Paloma Hurtado, wife of the president of the community Juan Cuesta, between 2003 and 2004, when she left the series due to differences with its creators. Years later the relationship was reestablished and he became part of the cast of The one that looms (also created by the Caballero brothers), where since 2016 he has played Menchu ​​Carrascosa. “As I am now in Your face is familiar to me, When they greet us from the public during breaks, they used to call me Menchu. Now they keep calling me, but in these last shows they are calling me more Paloma, it’s true. I have a lot of small audiences, and they know me as Menchu, but those who are a little older, 15, 16, 17, are now discovering Paloma Urban Fashion, as they say ”, says Loles León. Paloma Urban Fashion, PUF, was the fictitious fashion brand that launched the character in the series and that has survived on the internet as meme. “In the taxis they tell me that before they saw the series on DTT channels, but thank goodness that now it is on Netflix because that way they can see all the episodes in a row. I’m watching it myself, ”says León. “Now that I’m on tour with the theater, when we leave, people wait for us and many of them are saying phrases from Paloma, or they ask me to say them myself. ‘The faces Juan, the faces’, they ask me a lot. And the ‘point in the mouth’ I won’t even tell you, and the ‘man now! ”.

Actress Eva Isanta has had similar experiences in recent weeks: “I notice it on the street, because they call me based on the character, and now I have to alternate between Maite [su personaje en La que se avecina] and Bea [de Aquí no hay quien viva]. And I notice it especially among people my son’s age, teenagers who were little when it was released. ” “As now there are no new episodes of The one that looms in the open, there are people who resort to There is no one living here in a nostalgic way or that he is discovering it now ”, he adds.

This rediscovery of the series is shared by its rival in those times: during certain seasons, the two series faced each other, on rival networks, on the same day and at the same time. The Serrano has caused a furor among teenagers in recent months, who share on social networks, especially TikTok, fragments of the series and comments about the adventures of Diego, Santi, Fiti, Marcos, Eva, Teté and Guille, and have discovered that, in the end, it had all been a Resines dream.

“We are very excited that, 14 years later, a series that you can see on Amazon Prime Video, on Atresplayer, on YouTube…, because there are few series that you can see on more sites than There is no one living here, enter Netflix, get into the top 10 and stay there ”, says Alberto Caballero, co-creator of the series with his sister Laura and Iñaki Ariztimuño. This second life (although, in reality, the series has never left the popular imagination, with its reruns on DTT and dozens of memes that circulate through networks) responds to several factors, according to Caballero: “There are people who say that they grew up with it or it reminds them of something, but also very young people who are discovering it now. What happens is that Netflix is ​​more comfortable because it is their usual platform ”.

Javier Olivares, screenwriter of The Serrano between 2006 and 2008, he also highlights the nostalgic factor as one of the reasons for the resurgence of these series from the beginning of the millennium and adds one more factor: “The need to have wardrobe bottoms on the platforms, because there is not enough time to create to be able to generate all the supply before the compulsive demand that exists. There is no one living here and The Serrano, with their defects and their virtues, they are two monuments of Spanish fiction, and it is very good that, just as you can access Friends, you can do it to There is no one living here. I also prefer that these second lives have the originals to a revision of the original, a reboot”Says the screenwriter, creator of more recent hits like Isabel O The Ministry of Time.

'Los Serrano', starring Antonio Resines and Belén Rueda (in the center of the image).
‘Los Serrano’, starring Antonio Resines and Belén Rueda (in the center of the image).

There are more Spanish series that were well received at the beginning of the 21st century, but not all of them are enjoying this success among the new generations. Why have these productions withstood the test of time? “First, that they are very funny, and they were very clear about the main objective that a series should have and that some forget, which is to entertain,” says Olivares. “They are formulas that have not gone out of style and will not pass. They were modern and pop series. Television is popular culture, and these two series are full-blown popular culture. They were commercial and creative spearheads ”, he adds. Olivares also highlights the names behind them. Among the producers of The Serrano Alex Pina was there (The Money Heist), Daniel Écija (Journalists, Family doctor, Paco’s men…) And Pablo Olivares. Laura and Alberto Caballero, responsible for There is no one living here, They also showed that theirs was not a one-day flower, adding hits such as The one that looms and The village. “What happens is that people, when they talk about The Serrano O There is no one living here, as it is popular comedy, they despise them, but seven million people saw them, people spoke in the subway like Fiti [personaje que interpretaba Antonio Molero]. It was a shared social phenomenon, and that no longer exists ”, he continues.

For Alberto Caballero, these are series “that portrayed various aspects well. The Serrano It was quite novel because of the reality that it counted, that it happened in many families, and it gave a lot of play. It is normal that they return, time puts everything in its place. They connected with the spirit of their time and added some timeless feature. People feel good or evade seeing them, and that has echoes of fun that, if you don’t replace them with new things, they prefer to go back to the old ”.

Eva Isanta, Pablo Chiapella and Ernesto Sevilla, in 'La que se avecina'.
Eva Isanta, Pablo Chiapella and Ernesto Sevilla, in ‘La que se avecina’.

“Karaoke effect”

The Caballeros know what it is like for their creations to be seen by the public over and over again. Mediaset reissues The one that looms on the Factoría de Ficción (FDF) channel. According to data published by Alberto Caballero on Twitter, in October the 222 reissues of episodes of the series had a cumulative audience of 46,482,000 viewers (a figure resulting from the sum of the viewers of each of these broadcasts). There are more than 1,800 reissues a year. If someone tunes in to FDF, it is more than likely that they will come across The one that looms on the air, and its chapters are seen over and over again. “It’s like an inertia, it’s like putting the background music,” says Caballero. “It is the same that happens with some groups or some songs. It is what Paolo Vasile [consejero delegado de Mediaset España] he called the ‘karaoke effect’: you know it, but the good thing is that you know it. It also happens with some films that have 30 reruns and continue to give good data. For some reason, there are series that are seen again in a pleasant way and others that are not ”.

These revisions occur, paradoxically, at the time when there is the most television production in history. “But that there is a quarry of 4,000 kids playing football does not guarantee that a Messi will come out. This goes in waves. There is no guarantee that by producing more people will find more things, it may even work against it. And these were series that made a community, which were discussed when arriving at the office, the institute or the university, they had a golden minute of 10 or 11 million viewers: one in four Spaniards was watching it. That is creating community. Now people see it when they feel like it and it is more difficult to generate series that in 10 or 15 years will be consumed with this mixture of pleasure and nostalgia ”, completes Caballero.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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