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What The Cancellation of Gordita Chronicles Tells Us About How Hollywood Views Latinx Stories

by Michellas Baca

 

The abrupt cancellation of Gordita Chronicles  speaks to Hollywood’s refusal to commit to diverse representation in what it produces and backs, only doing it as long as it remains trendy to do so. 


The series, created by Claudia Forestieri, follows the Castelli Family as they make the move from the Dominican Republic to America, only to find out it wasn’t the “Dream” they’d thought it would be! Forestieri, the mastermind behind some of the best Latin stories in Hollywood today; like Selena: The Series and Good Trouble. Gordita Chronicles was heavily inspired by her own experience growing up in Miami during the 

80s.


We had the pleasure to speak with Forestieri on the thought and passion that went into creating this beloved show. She shares with us saying, “Most of my family thought I’d lost my mind when I left Miami to pursue my TV dreams in LA. As a dominicana, getting married and having kids was supposed to be my number one priority, so I felt like I was betraying my own culture.” Regardless of her family trials, she never forgot where she came from and let her roots grow the foundation of her career. She goes on to explain the crucial role her culture went on to play in her career, “But once I got here, I befriended other latinos who had also disappointed their parents by becoming creatives instead of doctors and lawyers.” A tale as old as time and one we all probably can relate to, one way or another. 


Forestieri continues by giving thanks to organizations like NALIP and other diversity programs, sharing that she was able to find like-minded latinos working towards the same goals. She says, “I assembled my own little community. Without them, I would’ve never made it. Nobody makes it in this industry alone— NADIE.” Further sharing this tidbit of wisdom of struggling creatives, “You just can’t stand on the sidelines and hope your dream will come true, you gotta get involved with nonprofits that center Latines and push the culture forward.” Something that I took to heart and carry with me everyday.


It is because of Claudia’s past struggles and love for her culture; she is able to tell these relatable stories, full of heart. And Gordita Chronicles is no short of that legacy.


The show is hilariously narrated by the youngest Castelli member, Cucu, as she walks down memory lane, looking back on her life as a middle schooler in the 80’s. Each episode is jam packed with gut-busting moments and even more heartwarming ones; from Mrs. Castelli attempting to receive her American driver’s license, to Cucu partaking in her very first Halloween “Chicken-Cheating” (which just so happened to be my favorite episode out of the whole 10 episode season). But it’s the little moments that make the show standout; from Cucu learning just how important friendship is to girlhood, as Ashley continuously shows up for her, to following Emilia’s self exploration throughout the first season. 


This show resonated with many viewers by being so incredibly relatable, hispanic or not. We all have experienced being ostracized, at least once in our life. Growing up is learning and exploring who you are and it’s the people around you who help you discover that. This show beautifully touched on those experiences and viewers' hearts… so why aren’t we getting a season 2? 


When speaking to Vulture about the show's cancellation Forestieri said, “I don’t think there’s an appreciation for shows about the Latino experience, and I think it’s an industry wide problem. I think if you don’t have any Latinos, any Black people, any people of color among the leaders and decision-makers that connect to something on a personal level, it’s easier to cut things.” The show went on to score a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but despite garnering critical acclaim, it was still canceled.


Showrunner and longtime writer for HBO, Brigette Muñoz-Liebozwitz has also spoken out about the show's cancellation, believing that this speaks volumes to Hollywood’s diversity issues. Liebozwitz has been quoted saying, “It didn’t matter that our show was beloved, it didn’t matter that we had good audience numbers. It didn’t matter that we were writing about content that was important for underrepresented communities. None of that mattered.” when speaking to the Writers Guild of American West and Rolling Stone magazine back in march of last year. Further adding, “If we don’t have executive talent who see themselves in the material, they’re not going to care enough to fight for something because they don’t connect to it. And again, this is a piece of a diversity problem that we have in Hollywood right now.” And both women are completely valid! 


This show was backed by big names such as Eva Longoria and Diana Maria Riva, as well as a disgruntled, yet extremely loyal following. Despite that, just as production was ramping up to start filming season 2, they were informed by Sony that HBO will be pulling live-action family and kids programming when they decided to become “Max”. Forcing the 10 episodes to find a new home on Tubi and the rest of the series in some strange Twin Peaks limbo, viewers were left wondering if they will ever get to see Cucu win over Yoshi (though, I have my doubts). 


It’s truly a heartbreak and betrayal like no other. You can’t help but love the Castelli’s as if they were your own family, constantly tuning in to catch up on the chisme for the week! It was if you were calling your own Tía, tan chismosa, nomas para ser de metiche and have fun! It was a very inviting show and now I live worried sick over them! What will happen to them next? 


I personally admire this show greatly because it is much more than your average classic American sitcom. It explores themes of the Double Consciousness, culture-shock and the power media holds; helping us learn to speak the same language, regardless where we come from. As a first generation, my childhood household was a clash between two worlds, expressed through movies, music and stories. We would listen to Hombres G all morning and then watch Back to the Future at night for the 8th time that week, this is how my dad chose to teach us about our culture and what it means to be Mexican-American, Chicano. Gordita Chronicles reminds me of books like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and themes explored in The Brown Buffalo, and how media helps us connect and relate to one another and this cultural confusion that can plague a young POC. 


Gordita Chronicles

Cucu and Emilia never reject their culture, but find ways to embrace America’s and fit into their new environment. Their shared room becomes full of posters of 80’s icons, from Billy Joel and Toto to the Smurfs and Santana, the perfect balance. Emilia finds ways to blend Madonna-inspired looks with her Latin style, serving iconic looks each episode. There’s references to famous icons from that decade from Gloria Estefan, Jason Voorhees, Mickey Mouse and many more, further illustrating the special bond minorities have with American Culture that seems to be passed down from generation to generation. 


As the young girls explore both cultures to find balance and understanding, their parents work past their disappointing reality of the “American Dream”. We see within their first moments stepping onto the Land Of Opportunity, they’d been stereotyped, set back by small wages, and limited in their mobility to grow. They quickly learn that in order to survive America, one must be competitive, climb that ladder and fight injustice. The family sticks together as they move from dirty motel to a cozy apartment, Cucu getting detention for speaking Spanish in class, and Victor getting confused for the other Latino in the office (the janitor, Eduardo). It’s these hard topics, disguised as fun-loving, family triumphs, that make it digestible for all viewers; further proving Gordita Chronicles’ power and relevance, making the need for this show much more important. 


For your benefit, this incredibly smart and thoughtful show is no longer behind a paywall, making it easily accessible for viewers. I strongly suggest you check it out and fall in love with it yourself. Then after, we can all reconvene, spam tag our favorite streaming platforms and get that full series run we all deserve!





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