1992 was a key year in the recent history of Spain. As so many recent films and books have reminded us, with the Barcelona Olympic Games and the Seville Expo, the country, or at least its image, was opening up to the world as a great social, economic and political crisis was brewing. Another year that will be difficult to forget, and not only for Spaniards, is 2020. Those two moments will be intertwined in the plot of the 21st season of Cuéntame como pasa. The La 1 series returns on Thursday 14 (22.10) with a double somersault: while its usual plot takes place in 1992, viewers will see in parallel how covid-19 affects the Alcántara.
Few national fictions have dared to reflect the pandemic beyond those that were born during confinement. Cuéntame will be the series that exercises, unofficially, as a record of the historical memory of recent Spain that does it. “We thought that, after the covid, we could not continue as if nothing had happened. It was an almost visceral need to tell what had happened ”, justifies Ana Duato in a telephone conversation. “The series has always known how to evolve and adapt to the times, it has a life of its own. This is a leap that we all live with fear, because whenever a project takes a turn like this, it gives a bit of vertigo as to how to do it, how to face it, how the public will take it … But in the work, I think it is a success . For the viewer there is a before and after the pandemic, and it cannot be the same, because we are no longer the same ”, adds the actress.
Although the main action will follow the trend that has been traced in the 19 years that Cuéntame has been on the air, the entire season will be dotted with bits and pieces of that contemporary version of the characters. The two timelines will be linked by a similar plot that will allow parallels to be established. Carlos Hipólito, the voice-over that has been narrating the life of the family since 2001, will appear on the screen for the first time to play a Carlos Alcántara who has already turned 60. “It’s weird because, in a way, I know this character very well. We have all seen him grow up, but I have paid special attention to him because he inspired me a lot to do the off, he reminded me of my childhood … He was a character that felt very much like mine, « says Hipólito. “It is being very nice. I was talking about it with Ricardo Gómez [actor que interpretó a Carlos Alcántara durante 19 temporadas], which is as if we were both filming together, because I am very aware of everything he did with the character, « he explains.
In that time jump, Carlos Alcántara, who has managed to make a living from writing and resides in America, is now a separated man with two children. He returns to San Genaro to take care of his parents, who are already over 90 years old. “Carlos is a more mature guy now. He retains the character’s sympathy, but he is more serene, less tormented than in the last stage we saw of Ricardo Gómez. Of course, he maintains that permanent curiosity about everything ”, describes Hipólito. Also joining the series is Silvia Abascal, who will play her little sister, María, now a 48-year-old doctor who lives in the fight against the pandemic on the front line of battle.
The faces of Carlos and María Alcántara change in that jump in time, but those of Antonio and Mercedes, although with the changes typical of age, remain and it is some aged Imanol Arias and Ana Duato who interpret the old versions of their characters , a process that involves a complex characterization work, reinforced with digital effects. “Mercedes in 2020 is very lovable. She is like a grandmother of those that we all would like to have, very cuddly « , describes Duato, who highlights the importance of the elderly in society and in the family: » In Cuéntame we always talk about the family, it is our pillar. The family does not go out of style ”.
The production was already planned a decade ago to transfer its characters to the present and take Carlitos and his friends to 2010, but that attempt was frustrated in its early stages. Now the veteran series not only dares to take that leap but also turns it into a long-term plot that is gaining strength as the chapters progress. « It was probably the most appropriate series to tell what we have lived through this strange and tremendous year, » reflects Hipólito, who does not believe that this corkscrew will negatively affect the series. « You could remove the parts of 2020 and it would be a chapter of Cuéntame as is. It does not detract from anything, in any case what it does is add. We are going to see the characters when they grow up, but that does not mean that we are no longer interested in the characters in 1992. On the contrary, the vision of what happens to them in 2020 enriches the narrative of what happens in 1992 ”, he adds.
Duato acknowledges having doubts about how viewers will receive the time jump: “It’s like a jump into the void. But every season you end in Cuéntame you have the same feeling because we push the story to the limit. It is going to be very emotional. It’s like stepping into a family photo album where you see the future. This season speaks a lot about the moment we are in now, with the feeling that all together we can overcome something. It is a season that is a hymn to hope, that together we can ”.