The creators of HBO’s surreal Spanish-language show, Los Espookys, gave an interview about how they brought the bizarre comedy to HBO. Los Espookys began its six-episode season on Friday, June 14 on HBO. Set in a fictional Latin country, the show centers on “a group of friends who turn their love for horror into a peculiar business.” The show has been hailed for being a well-executed, oddball comedy that is delightfully absurd.
The creative minds behind Los Espookys include SNL alum Fred Armisen, current SNL writer Julio Torres, and comedian Ana Fabrega. In the interview, the creators talked about all aspects of the show, including the bilingual subtitles, the surreal aesthetics, and the alt-universe setting.
When asked why they wanted to do a show in Spanish, Armisen answered: “There was no reason behind it. It was like an obsession in a way and it just kept coming up internally, “How about something in Spanish?” My mom’s Venezuelan. To me it just made sense. There are songs that are on the radio that are in different languages, and I feel like, there just wasn’t enough of it. I didn’t see it enough on like regular TV.”
The dialogue in the six-episode series is always accompanied by subtitles. If a character is speaking English, the subtitles are in Spanish. If a character is speaking Spanish, the subtitles are in English. Los Espookys was engineered to appeal to English and Spanish audiences equally, and the jokes land in both languages. Fabrega said that everyone thought that “if we’re going to subtitle the Spanish, let’s subtitle the English so that everyone can see it.”
When asked about the “fake horror” aesthetics of the show, Torres said that “the art department did an incredible job at training the viewer’s eye to be like ‘this is artifice in their world, and this is real.'” In the show, the alien costume is meant look fake — with zippers and makeup — while the character of the Water Shadow is meant to be real.
At one point, Los Espookys was titled Mexico City: Only Good Things Happen. Torres said that the show was originally meant to be set in Mexico City, but then “it became this sort of Latin American Tower of Babel situation instead of like creating a faithful depiction of a country that we like but we’re not super connected to necessarily. Once we took away those limits and embraced the fact that it could be anywhere then I feel like we started having a lot of fun. Because then it’s like, well then the embassy could look like anything…”
Fred Armisen, Julio Torres, and Ana Fabrega also star in the show as professional spookers, who use their peculiar passions to turn a profit.
Los Espookys airs on Fridays on HBO. The full first episode is available to watch for free on YouTube.