With all the reboots of iconic films and TV shows happening right now, I couldn’t help but think about some of the productions I would want to see again. But, of course, updated and infused with the Latinidad we love, and which is seriously lacking on both the small and big screens. Which shows and movies would you want to see remade with Latinos in the cast? Producers take notes!
I reimagined 15 such television shows and films, that I thought would benefit from Latinx characters, played by Latinx actors. Some selections are reality shows that delve into everyday topics like music and fashion but with the experiences of Latinxs added in a bit more, or completely, to enhance our representation in these areas. By doing so, we also change the whole tone of the show and give it a different dimension, a different flavor, and therefore make it into something completely new.
In Living Color
When the sketch comedy show In Living Color came out in 1990, it took the world by storm and changed pop culture. Some of the legendary characters to emerge from the hit are Homey D. Clown, Fire Marshall Bill, Wanda, Benita Butrell, and Vera de Milo. I would love for In Living Color to come back on the air, with the next generation of Wayans and other hilarious comics, including some funny Latinxs. There are so many important topics, and famous people to speak on these days!
Sex and the City
Sex and the City is such a fabulous show, following the lives of four different yet very-connected 30-something BFFs in New York. I would love to see a stylish revamp of it, but with an all-Latinx cast. It could also be an adaptation of the book The Dirty Girls‘ Social Club, by Alisa Valdes Rodriguez, which follows six 20-something Latina friends in Boston. Because we need to see more chic, successful Latinxs on TV living their best lives.
You’ve Got Mail
The 1998 film You’ve Got Mail took the tech of the time — online chat rooms — to tell a love story. An indie book store owner (played by Meg Ryan) doesn’t realize that her online love is actually her real-life enemy, a corporate book store chain owner (played by Tom Hanks). This would be cool updated for 2019, with an online dating catfish story gone right, and starring Latinx actors.
Madonna has been vocal about her love of Latinx and Spanish culture. Besides “La Isla Bonita,” she had wanted to play Frida Kahlo and did play Argentinian First Lady Eva Peron, in the musical Evita. And she won a Golden Globe for the role. But, it would be nice to also see Evita Peron’s life portrayed without the continuous singing, and by a Latinx, and we can say specifically Argentinian, actress. There’s no reason why Latinx stories should only have one or two versions, anyway.
I almost didn’t want to mention La Bamba because it is such an amazing classic. Although Lou Diamond Philips isn’t Latinx, he did such a good job playing Chicano rock icon Ritchie Valens, that we practically adopted him into the culture. And the film also features several Latinx actors, including Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, and Elizabeth Peña. But I think it’s time for a new version of La Bamba, especially to keep Ritchie Valens’ legacy alive and introduce him to a new generation of Latinxs.
The ’80s and ’90s had some good sitcoms. Remember the TGIF lineup on ABC? One of the shows on this TV lineup was Perfect Strangers. It told the story of Larry Appleton, a Midwestern guy living in Chicago, who gets the surprise of his life when his long lost cousin, who he doesn’t know, arrives at his door from Greece. Heartfelt comedy, of course, ensues. This would be a good time to recreate this eye-opening and loving show, but this time cast with a Latinx actor playing a Latinx immigrant.
A Different World
A Different World was such an inspiring, great show. It followed the lives of a group of African-American friends, who all go to college together. It pushed the importance of education and Black excellence, and we need something like that for Latinxs, and for this generation. Bring this show back, please!
Thelma & Louise
The 1991 film Thelma & Louise became a classic, about two best friends who are ride or die, until the end. When I thought about a remake featuring at least one Latinx actress, two real-life BFFs popped into my head: Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz. How badass would that film be?
Just the Ten of Us
Another late ’80s/early ’90s comedy that was part of ABC’s TGIF lineup was the short-lived show Just the Ten of Us. It was about a family of 10, headed by a high school gym teacher and his wife, and with four teenage daughters, who couldn’t be more different. This would be a cool show to bring back and cast with a large Latinx group of actors. We don’t get to see many shows that feature Latinx families interacting with each other and how different our personalities can be, even within the same familia.
The Mambo Kings
It’s not like there haven’t been movies about Latinos in Hollywood. A major problem is that oftentimes, these roles are given to non-Latinos. Just take The Mambo Kings, for instance. The lead role of Cesar Castillo was played by Italian actor Armand Assante (a lot of Latinx roles have gone to Italian actors). Although there are other Latinxs/Hispanics in the film, set in the 1950s (Antonio Banderas, Talisa Soto, Desi Arnaz, Jr. Tito Puente, Celia Cruz), it would be cool to bring this story back with a fresh new batch of Latinx actors.
We are not saying that we need a whole new The Bachelorette made up of Latinxs (although that would be cool), but can we at least get the first Latina bachelorette in history?! I mean, it’s been 15 seasons. It’s time. Whether it’s girls on The Bachelor, or guys on The Bachelorette, we are always sprinkled into the show sparingly. And don’t even get me started on Juan Pablo as one of the bachelors.
227 was a great show. It was about several different African-American characters who all lived in the same apartment building in Washington, D.C. It was all about women coming together to share some chisme about what was going on at 227 Lexington Place. How fun would a Latinx remake be of this show? It would be fabulous because you know we love our chisme.
Vanderpump Rules is a reality show that centers around a group of employees at several of Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants. I watch this show, and it’s one of my guilty pleasures. Its stars make for good TV, but it would be so awesome to see what goes on in the lives of their Latinx staff (aside from the funny Tom Sandoval), especially the chefs and other Latinx workers who make all the food and keep the restaurants successful. What’s going on in their lives? In fact, a show like this could center around a Latinx restaurant with Latinx owners, managers, servers, and chefs, so you can see how each piece of a restaurant’s puzzle works, and who is behind it.
All About Eve
All About Eve is one of my favorite movies — ever. The 1950 Best Picture winner, with Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, tells the timeless tale of the established star who takes the ingenue under her wing, only to be paid back with betrayal. This would be a great film to reimagine with Latinx actresses in the two main roles. A Latinx All About Eve (All About Eva?) could speak to the lack of parts for Latinas in film/stage/TV, while also modernizing a classic.
Behind the Music
A show that they should totally bring back and either feature a ton of Latinxs on or create a Latinx version of is Behind the Music. It was there that you learned the life stories of your favorite musicians, how they became who they are now, and what happened to those who disappeared from the scene. Wouldn’t you like to know all these tidbits of information? I do!
I love watching shows like Girl Code, I Love the 80s, and the like because they’re hilarious, informative, and feature a lot of people’s honest opinions and recollections on things we can relate to. That’s why I think there should be a similar show featuring all Latinxs. Girl Code is diverse, which is great, but there are so many intricacies with being both a woman and Latinx, that I feel that a whole show could come from that. A show like that cast with just Latinx actors would be highly successful.