Monday, March 19, 2012

Casa De Mi Padre - Rewarding White Guys for Speaking Spanish...

Journalists have asked Will Ferrel about learning Spanish for his role in "Casa De Mi Padre" a plethora of times. Most comments, of course, praising his ability. I am absolutely intrigued by the premise that this is a comedic take on the unbeatable genre of la telenovela; all in Spanish, with legit stars like Gael Garcia Bernal backing it, being placed in U.S. mainstream theaters. I find it strange that this contextually viewed as an act of bravery, comedic genius, and "art," by gringo media even though this genre, in all its glory, has been in their homes for decades (stop skipping Univision when you flip channels next time). The only difference I see at the moment (as I have not seen the film) is Will Ferrel's starring role and subtitles for English-Only audiences.

Am I supposed to be mad at this? Should I be offended that Will Ferrell is the Moses of telenovelas to gringo audiences, in the same vein as the Rolling Stones did to Black Blues, or Elvis? In fact, it was America Ferrera and "Ugly Betty" that broke ground on bridging the telenovela to gringos before Will. But, what I get from the questions asked is how Will Ferrel is taking it to a next level in adopting Spanish to play his role. The underlying theme is "wow, how great!" "he's pushing himself as an actor!" and "What a great guy," without paying little attention to parallel that millions of Spanish speakers are learning English everyday in the U.S. (and no Rosetta Stone to help out I might add). Or, taking a critical look at how Ugly Betty was as a somewhat successful (and some would argue clandestine) transplant of a Latino genre to gringo television sets.

To give you my view, I want to share my theory about Mexcian, Mexican American, and Fake Mexican food (or just about any "ethnic" cuisine loved in the U.S.). My theory goes "Baja Fresh is good FAKE Mexican-American food" but is terrible Mexican food." I don't get offended that million's of gringos would rather "eat fresh" with Baja Fresh over the taco truck down the way, because they fear its too spicy, won't understand Spanish, not sanitary, or made with lesser ingredients. With thoughts like these, I don't mind they go somewhere else. This is one time we don't have to wear the veil, because the veil has been made out of Taco Bell, Baja Fresh, Qudoba, and Chipotle and placed on gringos instead of us.

If it sounds like I'm rambling, I'm not the only one. Will Ferrel's interview encapsulates the type of questions surrounding his feat of heroism in learning Spanish. Yet, it's Gael Garcia's interview, and his dumbfounded responses about whether gringo audiences will get it, that shows where I stand in all this. Yes, it's another day at the office that Will is getting praised for speaking Spanish, yet laws are being passed to make "native" speakers NOT speak it. But this is not your true school telenovela movie. Its pretty much a Baja Fresh, which can be good if you have a craving for it.

No comments: