I binge watched “Smiley” on Netflix this past weekend— and loved it.
It’s a Spanish comedy/drama/gay rom-dramady that has an 8 episode arc. It centers around Alex- younger bartender who is caught in unfulfilling grinder hoookup loops, and Bruno- an older architect they is trying to find anyone to date after endless rejections. Their paths cross when Alex leaves a scathing voicemail for a recent hookup, but he accidentally calls Bruno’s number by mistake.
This random voicemail sets them on a red thread of fate journey which binds them together, even though they fight it.
Around them are the other typical tropes: lesbian couple at the 7 year itch, straight couple going through existential crises after third child, an aging yet wise drag queen, a mother reconnecting with an old friend, etc.
Even though all the tropes are there, it’s really well done. The linkages between all the people seem organic and not forced. The life issues feel real. The dialogue is good, and each story arc is well plotted out. Add to that the element of magical realism with the “thread of fate” concept— and the use of red to symbolize the fate connection.
I just really enjoyed it all. Several points hit home hard with me with Bruno’s story. Single, a romantic, living with his dog and a film buff, he just wants to find love. One of his early interactions is on Grindr, just looking for something… anything. He sends a message and gets a nasty reply that he’s “too old and ugly”. He then deletes the app.
Oof- now didn’t *that* his just a little too close to home!
The real killer happens later, when he delivers this gut-wrenching speech about “just wanting a beer, a regular, cold, refreshing beer, but he can’t seem to find one even though everywhere he looks he sees people enjoying beer”. I don’t want to give too much more away, but the beer is a metaphor and this speech happens at a big, emotional, critical point and it’s just so damn poignant and sad and brilliant….
Ugh! The tears!
Now, this is a Spanish series, and it’s set in “Barthalona” so sometimes the Spanish is blurry and fast. And the subtitles sometimes go by really quickly. But it’s a small piece to pay, because the overall product is really good.
Plus, the cast is muy guapo!
If you’re looking for a nice romantic diversion, I highly recommend this series.
Loved it here too. I was surprised when Bruno walked into the bar for the first time and Alex alludes to how unattractive he is. I thought all the actors were really handsome. I guess Bruno just wasn’t ripped?
I didn’t care for the Ramon character at first – I found him cloying and child-like. But I felt terrible for him, overhearing Bruno’s monologue. Interestingly, that actor (Ramon Pujol) played Alex in the initial production of this.
You should Merli. He’s in it as well.