Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Veneno’

Living in an apartment with three roommates, I rarely do anything in complete solitude. As each of us wander through our eight-room maze, any snacks become communal; Any melodown becomes subject to a collective pool of advice; And whatever is streamed on TV becomes a spectacle for all.

As of last December, our fully queued home of 20-somethings to find out how to wrap presents, buy our first Christmas tree and make coquito, that spectacle was “Veneno,” streaming on HBO Max.

The show – a Spanish series based on the life of Christina Ortiz Rodriguez, a transgender sex worker, singer and television personality who made her debut to national fame in 1996 – first caught my attention when I was cooking dinner, vegetables. Was cutting and looking outside. Two colleagues in my room watched on TV. After listening to half an episode, I was shocked.

Rodriguez, better known as La Veneno (Venom), was thrust into the spotlight by a TV journalist who interviewed her in a park in Madrid, where she worked as a prostitute. Once Rodriguez’s footage appeared on the late-night show “Esta Noche Cruzamos el Mississippi”, she became a regular on Spanish television, where she built her legacy as the country’s foremost transgender figure.

In 2016, La Veneno’s story was documented by Valeria Vegas, a transgender journalist who wrote “! Digo!” Ni puta ni Santa: Las Memorius de la Veneno “(” Listen! A prostitute, not a saint: Memories of La Veneno “). Vegas, played in” Veneno “by Lola Rodriguez, also consulted on the series, Which was produced by Xavier Ambrosi and Javier Calvo.

Jumping mainly between the 1960s (when Rodriguez was growing up), the 1990s (when she started working in Madrid Park) and 2006 (when she met Vegas), the show was both a tale of fiction and fiction. Is careful to respect. In the show, La Veneno’s memory is flamboyant and decadent, but there is still an honesty to the storytelling that allows the experience to carry the same weight as objective truths.

And even if you’re not with a rowdy bunch of queued and transgender roommates, “Veneno” can fill part of that void. There are three reasons for seeing this.

“Veno,” first and foremost, fulfills one basic requirement: the creators cast transgender actresses to play the role of transgender women. As the narrative jumps through its different time frames, La Veneno is played by three actresses: Jadet Sánchez as a younger, transitioned Christina; Daniela Santiago in her prime as the breathtaking Hot La Veneno; And Isabel Torres became a middle-aged celebrity before her death in 2016 at the age of 52.

As the timeline changes, La Veneno’s youth, fame and later years are woven into a vivid portrait of her life and her community. Within that, the characters embody their own arch; Valeria – journalist who befriended La Veneno in 2006 – Paca La Pirana, goes through her own transition with the help of several transgender women, including La Veneno’s real-life best friend, who stars herself on the show .

While some stories should be a little short for the times (the season is only eight episodes), the width of each character extends further than many homosexual stories – even celebrated ones like “Moonlight” And “Call me by your name” – who largely focus on depressed, lonely people, without a queue support system, who are struggling with their repressed homosexuality.

Of course, the series has heart-breaking moments, but they do not recognize its abundance of comedy, intimacy and joy. The characters of “Veneno” are not defined by trauma; They are funny, thoughtful and deliciously unpublished.

The dynamics and lessons around self-exploration are particularly evident, and striking, as women sit in the PAC’s living room, swapping stories from generations.

“I tried everything until I found myself, Valeria,” the elder La Veneno tells him in the third episode. “You should do exactly that. If you want sex, do it – with whom and however you want. “

And that they all do. Walking every single corner without devastating damage, “Veneno” is a refreshing watch where these women get simple, beautiful, funny and innocent moments as they grow.

As each episode jumps between timelines, stories air through changes from different characters. The arc of La Veneno’s life, in particular, unfolds throughout the season, and we see her evolve from an abusive child with an abusive mother to a national transgender icon and, ultimately, a middle-aged woman who Grappling with loss of fame. And meditation.

During this show, every age evokes the excitement of lust and sexuality.

“I was horny as hell,” La Veneno recalls in the fourth episode a montage show as both her and Valeria kiss people in the club bathroom over the years. “I’ll have a go at everything!”

Especially when the girls gather to gossip in Paka’s living room, they never shy away from sharing dirty details. Whether it is the innocence of a teenage crush; Nervousness of one’s first sexual encounter; Or the raucous joy of watching the middle-aged La Veneno lip-sync “Acercam“In a dildo, there is no shortage of hegemonism furthering the plot.

“I’ll give anything At a gay club right now, “one of my rooms is said to be craving as we watched strangers drink, dance and kiss a little while at the disco”Girls Just Want To Have Fun“There is a blemish in the background. The rest of us bumped into the agreement.

In many ways, the magic of “Veneno” is simple: a chance to remember how it felt to be organized by our communities. As a young Christina in the fourth episode, “No matter how you feel, life reminds you of who you are.”

After nearly a year of quarantine and isolation, it is delightful to see these women strolling on a neon-lit dance floor, gossiping in the desolate parking lot, and Amir Pella’s cooking each other. These scenes are abundant and simple, bringing us back to simple joys which in their infinite forms are associated with love, friendship and intimacy.

Even upon re-watching the show, every episode feels like a promise; There is assurance that one day, we will meet stories, drinks, advice and hugs with people who make us feel that we will look the same as we are.

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