Club de Cuervos
Let’s call it “professional curiosity.” I suppose I couldn’t pass on the chance to watch Netflix’s first attempt at non-English original programming, so I sat through the whole (first) season of Club de Cuervos, which aimed to tackle crossover storylines of Latin America’s greatest sport passion: Futbol.
Club de Cuervos tells the story of the wealthy Iglesias family, whom have prosper in the town of Nuevo Toledo by revamping the local football soccer club of Los Cuervos and reinvigorating the town’s economy by developing huge projects like the local stadium, a 5-star hotel, an airport and highways. The story begins when patriarch Salvador Iglesias Sr. (Luis Rábago) croaks while chastising his son Salvador “Chava” Iglesias (Luis Gerardo Méndez) for living the life of a silver-spoon heir more in love with partying with coke and hookers alongside the Los Cuervos players — among them; captain of the team Moises “Moi” Suarez (Ianis Guerrero) and Argentinean player El Potro (Joaquín Ferreira) — than actually caring for his team, like elder half-sister Isabel (Mariana Treviño).
During the service, Salvador Sr.’s current main squeeze Mary Luz (Stephanie Cayo) reveals to the Iglesias siblings that she’s expecting a baby brother… or sister, and that instead of splitting the inheritance 50/50, they’d be splitting it in thirds. Isabel’s world crumbles as his lil’ half-bro Chava is named President of the club, setting out to turn Los Cuervos in the Real Madrid of Latin America. But, certainly, Chava’s ego is too big for small town Nuevo Toledo.
This is probably the first time I’ve sat through a show where I wanted the main character to crash and burn- BAD. Does that make me an awful person? The fact that I actually sat through the whole thing — the second half flew by faster than the first — maybe shows that Club de Cuervos has something. For those unfamiliar with Gary Alazraki’s name, but have seen his comedy hit Nosotros los Nobles, his style will be familiar (Méndez and Guerrero also show up) in the first two episodes setting up the sibling feud, as Chava sets out to screw up every single worthy working relationship that has ever served the club a purpose. Though Isabel is -almost always- right, her biggest mistake is a spur-of-the-moment vengeful action (that she fixes, by the way), struggling to gain anyone’s favor in the team (or the audience). Treviño’s performance is the best in the show, as her character is the one with the most scope. She skids the line of the common uptight career woman, but makes her vulnerable enough to care for her.
It’s also commendable the fact that the scripts were developed in English [Russell Eida, Alessia Costantini (Scrubs), Mike Lam and Jay Dyer (Californication) haven’t worked in the Hispanic industry before] and had the Spanish “turn-around” with the intricacies of the “mexicanadas.” I do generally find Mexican Spanish to be one of the hardest to understand in regular speech, though I must admit the English subtitles lacked in dialog. I suppose it’s hard to textually translate the tone of an uppity man-boy — think about how the Latino dub of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air works for Hilary Banks.
Tits, and full frontal nudity from Ferreira [that’s already been screencapped] are in order because it’s Netflix, and we CAN! My only general complain about the show is that other than the brother-sister spat, none of other storylines are interesting… until mysterious Futbol-Don-Corleone Eliseo Canales (Carlos Bardem) shows up. But even then, Chavas doesn’t crash and burn as hard, being completely out of character in his comments in favor of his pansexual Catalan-star, the even more egocentric, Aitor Cardoné (Alosian Vivancos). It serves to balance out the power struggle, but comes out of nowhere and is never gradual. The same with the final Chava-Mary-Luz-Isabel showdown.
Also- this f*cking shot. What is this? 1930s Hollywood? We can’t even use Google Translate properly by having a “Japanese” sports announcer with an extremely poor use of “Chinese” text. It literally took me out of the episode, breaking the whole illusion.
Sidenote: Is Stephanie Cayo a huge star in Peru?  I mean, really? She’s Peruvian, sure, but I would say she’s a bigger marquee-name in Colombia where she’s starred in more telenovelas, which have had lesser crossover success since Betty La Fea and Pedro El Escamoso.
If I had to name a ‘star’ -sadly- I would have to name-check TV personalities (of whom I don’t know their names on purpose) and actors of such pop culture phenomenons noughties’ Asi es la Vida, and overlong Al Fondo Hay Sitio.
Throwback: Remember when the lil’ Cayo sis played the young version of Las Juanas‘ Carolina Sabino in the Michel Gomez’ turn-of-the-millennium novela Estrellita?
All the things you turn up with during research~