Hope no one minds if I use this blog to write about television, rather than to engage in adorable Internets battles with my significant other! Oh, that Jeanette and Langlieb. When will they ever learn?
In the midst of the summer pop culture doldrums, in which the best the average American viewer can hope for is another Lohan hospitalization, one little show soldiers on. The program, hosted by the silver fox Don Francisco, has held steady week after week, on one network, for twenty years. There has never been a repeat. The show incorporates elements of practically everything else on TV: Idolesque singing competitions with Gong Show finishes, Jerry Springer Schadenfreude, the hard bodies of Baywatch's halcyon days, and the leadership of Don Francisco, a man leaking the charisma of a Conan O'Brien - Fidel Castro lovechild. The show, of course, is Sábado Gigante, a mega variety show with the staying power of the Law and Order franchise.
Sorry ladies, no Latin-flavored Detective Stablers for you to drool over here. However, the menfolk will be more than taken care of, with Don Francisco's menagerie of raven-haired, ample-bosomed assistants spicing up Univision's Saturday mornings. I must confess that I did not first discover Sábado Gigante in my college "Hispanics in the U.S." class, when we were all assigned various telenovelas and Spanish talk shows to study. Nay, Sábado and I first met one day when I heard frenetic Spanish chatter blasting from my parents' kitchen TV, and entered the room to discover my father sipping coffee, eyes glued to the set.
"Why are you watching this?" I asked my monolingual father, who insists on calling all Latinos (including Brazilians) "Spanish people."
"These Spanish girls have big bazoombas," he said.
So they do, Dad. So they do. And since that enlightening weekend morning, I know to leave my old man to his Sábado Gigante, because everyone needs a little guilty pleasure. Even when you are so far out of that guilty pleasure's target demographic, it's not even funny.