[clip with thanks to LAPEPSILHDP]
This past Wednesday, an era came to a close: After more than 18 seasons, actress Fátima Baeza and her character Esther left the
trainwreck Spanish TV show “Hospital Central” (at this point, I will not get into the ridiculous plotline that had her leave without her wife, Maca, and without their three children).
Extended videos of her last episode – if the clip above isn’t enough of an impression – are available over at the formidable FBFC, Spanish only, though I’m sure that the subtitled version will have appeared somewhere on YouTube by now (please leave the links in the comments if you find any!). I don’t check for the subtitled versions any longer because I watch “Hospital Central” (the little I watched in recent years, since there were only few rays of light since Season 12 – something I blame entirely on the sloppy writing) in Spanish.
And the fact that I am able to watch Spanish shows in Spanish today is something I owe to “Hospital Central”, next to various other things.
Allow me to get sentimental here for a moment. I stumbled upon “Hospital Central” around Maca’s and Esther’s wedding episode (thanks, Afterellen!) and found the couple so adorable and well-portrayed that I caught up in no time and ended up learning Spanish along the way. This show – once upon a now loooooooong gone time – made me want to learn Spanish so that I could keep up with it.
Maca and Esther were (and remain) iconic figures of lesbian media representation in Spain, and also beyond. They hail from a time before PepSi and their wedding episode was shot briefly after Spain passed its gender-neutral marriage law.
Maca and Esther were adorable. They were easy to relate to. They were too cute for words. I still can’t help but smile when I rewatch their scenes from Seasons 8-10 today (and there’s Cruz, too – mhmmm, Cruz… but I digress).
That said, the wringer they’ve been put through over the past ten seasons – especially the latter ones – can only be equaled to jumping a whole population of sharks. Esther deserved a better parting episode (apart from that the actress deserved not to be fired in the first place), and both of them deserved some actual writing over the past years of this
From a high proportion of accidents over getting pregnant while cheating over amnesia to crazy stalker girlfriends, questionable taste in affairs (Re: Blondie), the frequent wardrobe shop of horrors and three-second-reunions, these characters have seen it all and have been through degrees of incredibility that don’t fit in the category of “plothole” anymore, but must instead be filed under “warped time-space continuum”.
And yet, I have a soft spot for these two.
Even though I’m relieved I don’t have to follow this show any longer with both Esther and Maca gone, I feel sad at the end of the journey of these two extraordinary characters.
Maca will be around for two more episodes (her exit may leave us with the proverbial spoonful of sugar at least, which the girls over at the FBFC are generously sharing with us – spoiler alert!) and also be gone. Perhaps after her exit we can convene again and discuss whether it was what we wished for, or not, whether it could have been better, and how so…
For this week, that more or less broke up our couple (did I mention that it was over an utterly ridiculous storyline?), I want to pay tribute to these two important lesbian fiction figures – they were married (let’s just forget about that little divorce in the middle) and are still alive, which is more than we can say of other beloved Spanish TV lesbians. They raised a family together (origin of some of those three children aside). And despite the plotlines that they’ve been put through, they’ve made it through most of it together.
And Maca and Esther, on the side, showed to many Spanish people especially of the older generation (including my own mother-in-law) that lesbians are normal people (though perhaps not always as insanely attractive as Maca) who fall in love like everyone else and aren’t the least bit scary. And that is quite a feat, if you ask me. I’m glad I was along for most of the ride, even if I had to tape my eyes and ears shut through certain parts of it. But hey, that’s what fan fiction is for.
But now, for old times’ sake: Do you remember the magic of when it all started?
[both clips with thanks to DubesorVico]
…and? Are you smiling a silly smile right now? – Welcome to the club.
Do you know and/or like Maca and Esther? Why yes, or why not? Do you have favorite memories of them? Favorite moments? A theory of just when and why things went wrong? Does Esther look better with long hair or with short hair? Is there a plot you would have liked to see played out with these characters? Do you have personal memories attached to the show (e.g. did it make you learn Spanish?!)?- Feel free to go nostalgic and/or off on a tangent in the comments.