Mike Tries to Watch a Peruvian Soap Opera

Because my name is Mike and I’m American, people in Peru have joked that I’m a character on the Peruvian soap opera, “Al Fondo Hay Sitio” [“There’s Room in the Back”], which features an American character named Mike. It’s apparently one of the most popular shows in Peru. My friend Ingrid was kind enough to send me a link to an episode and, while I don’t understand a lot of the words, I’ll walk you through my understanding of the episode.


definitely either a convenience store or a Barbie accessory store

We open in some sort of convenience store where Mike is talking to these three people. They’re demanding to know how he can be Fernanda’s boyfriend when Fernanda is dating Joel. Mike explains to them that he is indeed Fernanda’s new boyfriend and well – sucks for Joel. He then asks, “Why, do you know Joel?”

In Peru families traditionally stand in diagonal lines

“We’re his family!” they tell Mike, furiously. “I’m his grandmother,” says his grandmother. “I’m his sister,” says his sister. “[undecipherable],” says his rabbi (?). They angrily chase Mike out of the store.

If you’re watching along, you’ll notice that Mike looks and talks just like all the other Peruvian characters, though his character is American. You kind of have to suspend disbelief, as Peruvian shows don’t concern themselves with such superficial matters like realistic skin tone or accents. Later in the episode he’s asked his last name. “Miller,” he says. Alright, I guess that’s pretty American. “Miller-Villaviciencio,” he continues. Oh… okay, then.

Oh, how convenient to find you here. Plotwise, I mean.

Joel flees the store and who should be walking by right at that moment? Fernanda! Mike’s dramabomb of a girlfriend. She’s apparently just come from breaking up with her other boyfriend, Joel. She’s shaken up, but Mike consoles her and then they make out.

Thanks for breaking up with your other boyfriend for me

As it turns out, making out with your new boyfriend directly in front of your ex-boyfriend’s house/convenience store doesn’t afford you the privacy you might expect, as Joel’s whole family sees them!

I'm not sure why we're so surprised as this information was disclosed to us 3 minutes ago

The woman in the blue dress is later revealed to be Joel’s mother. We don’t ever actually get to see Joel in this clip, but based on his mother’s age, I’m guessing either A) Fernanda was dating a 7 year old boy or B) Joel’s mother gave birth to Joel when she was about 5 years old.

Joel’s family proceeds to loudly discuss the situation despite the fact that they’re standing at an open window 8 feet away from the smooching couple.

Sound doesn't travel as far in Peru because it's closer to the equator (Coriolis effect)

Fortunately, Mike and Fernanda have the courtesy to pretend they can’t hear the family’s running commentary, as it would have interrupted the flow of the episode, so they continue making out.

There's scheming afoot!

Switching gears, now we’re in a fancy house. These two characters are talking too quickly for me to understand, but they definitely seem like they’re up to something. They’re interrupted when Fernanda and Mike enter and we learn that these two people are Fernanda’s grandmother and her butler. The butler was apparently hired when the family realized they needed someone to raise one eyebrow suspiciously, as this is basically all he does for the remainder of the episode.

I call this one 'the Holmes'

This is suspicion with a touch of goofy

This may be more irritation at having to put up with her terrible laugh

Even though this seems to be the first time Mike is meeting anyone in Fernanda’s family, Fernanda’s grandmother proposes that they throw a spontaneous party that night so that Mike can meet all of Fernanda’s family and friends. Mike and Fernanda inexplicably agree to this enthusiastically and Mike scampers off to go change. Once Mike is gone, Fernanda and her grandmother squeal in delight about how awesome Mike is. Just before the show breaks for its first commercial, we close with a shot of the butler, who is, not surprisingly, raising one eyebrow in suspicion.

Nothing gets by the butler. Nothing.

So, pretty good show so far. Better than the current season of “The Office” at least. I can’t wait to see what the butler and the grandma were scheming about! And I wonder how this party’s going to go over for Mike!

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1 Response to Mike Tries to Watch a Peruvian Soap Opera

  1. hired_gun hired_gun says:

    “Joel flees the store and who should be walking by right at that moment?”

    I believe you meant to write Mike leaves the store.

    What are dads for? ;-)

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