I MUST Kidnap a Spaniard!

I MUST Kidnap a Spaniard! (the hilarious true tale of my OBSESSION!) SoThenStories.com
So then…I shriek, “NOOOOOOOO!” with such volume and anguish, you’d think a pack of wild zombies had just eaten my entire immediate family AND the last pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

But no, this shriek is due to a devastation so profound, I’m literally frozen in torment.

Let me explain from the BEGINNING:

I’ve already burned through fabulous period TV series like Downton Abbey, The Paradise, Mr. Selfridge, and Call the Midwives. 

NetFlix keeps asking if I’d like to watch Grand Hotel – but I keep resisting because it’s filmed in Spain, so I’d need to read English subtitles!

As a world-class multi-tasker, I’m always doing something else WHILE I’m watching TV, so having to read the screen just won’t work.  Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

But then one day, I take a little lunch break and figure, “Well, I’ll just watch the first episode while I eat, then go find something else to watch while I work on spreadsheets, open mail, do computer work, etc.”

So I’m watching the first episode of Grand Hotel about this luxury hotel in Spain owned by a wealthy family in 1906 and their interactions with the hotel staff –

and I’m all “la-la-lala-la” when suddenly BAM!  Major plot twist!

Then BOOM!  Another twist!

Then a murder mystery!

What?

So of course I have to see what happens in the next episode, which is also action-packed and mystery-intensifying with more plots and subplots.

BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!  Shit is going down, people!

I repeat:

SHIT.IS.GOING.DOWN.

So now I have to see the NEXT episode, and I can’t do anything else because I have to read the damn subtitles – but honestly, I’m RIVETED!

Every chance I get, I zip over to the big screen TV to watch more episodes of Grand Hotel.

My family’s perplexed since they’re not used to seeing me watch TV without doing something else.  And quite frankly, when they suggest using the big screen TV to watch one of their shows, they’re a little taken aback when I scowl and hiss menacingly.

But here’s why:

MYSTERIOUS

This is unlike any other period show I’ve ever seen.  In addition to the gorgeous costumes, the class differences between the hotel’s owners and staff, the antiquated customs of the early 1900’s – there are mysteries to solve, schemes to expose, and culprits to discover.

Grand Hotel is one of the most addictive series ever!  There are mysteries upon mysteries at this luxury hotel!  Some last several episodes, some last a whole season – so we have the satisfaction of seeing some mysteries solved, but always have several others brewing.

There are some good people – and some VERY, VERY bad people – and sometimes you don’t know who’s who.  There’s a large cast of characters and there’s always something going on with all of them!

The show’s like a thriller, packed with suspense and action surrounding murder, blackmail, kidnapping, and many more secrets I can’t mention due to the possibility of Spoiler Alerts!

ROMANTIC

Over the 3 seasons of the show, there are many romances, but the one featuring the two main characters Julio and Alicia is SPECTACULAR.  It’s very suspenseful because there are so many genuine DANGEROUS obstacles in their path.  They’re gorgeous, smart, brave, clever… You’ll literally SWOON every time they’re on screen together.

I am madly in love with Julio –
AND madly in love with Alicia –
AND currently working on a time-travel machine so I can go live with them in 1906 Spain for a thrilling threesome while we solve mysteries together.

SCHEMING

Oh the scheming!  There are so many fabulous, over-the-top characters who conspire dastardly deeds and don’t hesitate to throw other people under the bus (or motorcar, as the case may be).  You hate them.  And you love that you hate them.

FUNNY

As you get to know the motivations, history, and obstacles of certain characters, you can’t help but laugh when they find themselves in certain situations.  It’s not broad slapstick humor – or searing wit.  You’re just laughing because you know these characters so well – even the twitch of someone’s eyebrow can set you off.

DRAMATIC

Holy Hell, you guys.  Lots of drama.  It’s not quite melodrama – but there are some scenes that get pretty close – and you know what?  I LOVE IT!  It’s frothy and fun and awesome!

If you set your timer back to 1906 in Spain when husbands ruled the wives – marriages were sometimes arranged – the poor had to kowtow to the wealthy – judges could be bought – then you’ll enjoy this romp through the troubles and turmoils of everyone connected to Grand Hotel.

WILL YOU LIKE IT?

I realize this might not be everyone’s cup of poisoned tea, but if you’re interested, it’s available on NetFlix streaming.  There are 3 seasons, which total 66 episodes of about 40 minutes each.

If you start to watch it and don’t like it – DON’T TELL ME.  I’ll be as offended as if you’d called my precious newborn “hideous and stinky.”

But if you like it – DEFINITELY TELL ME.  We’ll gossip about the characters for hours, swoon over Julio and Alicia, and scream “Siiiiiii-mo-netta!” every time we see each other!

“THE SHOW SOUNDS AWESOME, DARCY, BUT WHAT MADE YOU SHRIEK ‘NOOOOOO!’?”

Because I’m on episode 58 of the 66 episodes, fully invested in all the characters –

fully enthralled in all the suspenseful mysteries –

fully engaged in the romantic entanglements –

when SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING…

…the English subtitles stop.

STOP.

As in my beloved and reviled characters are all still speaking rapid-fire Spanish on the screen, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE SAYING!

I punch remote control buttons for language and subtitles and everything else, but the subtitles DON’T come back!

I have 8 episodes left to go on a series I’m OBSESSED with – and I have no way to know what’s happening!

The subtitles just disappeared in the middle of an episode!  What if the translation company just STOPPED TRANSLATING the series in episode 58?  Maybe they ran out of money!  What if THERE ARE NO SUBTITLES for the rest of the series?

My heart rate increases.  The room spins.

I’m about to run screaming into the streets, grabbing the first Spanish-speaking person I find, kidnapping them back to my house, and forcing them to translate word-for-word EVERYTHING that’s being said!

I’m screaming “NOOOOOO!” so loudly that my 16-year-old daughter Chloe comes running in, certain that ninja warriors are attacking me.

“What?! What?! What?!” she shouts.

“My…my…Julio!…Alicia!” I stammer, pointing to the TV.  “Siiiiiii-mo-netta!”  I wail.

Chloe calmly clicks into Settings and changes the Accessibility button to Closed Caption.

My subtitles come back!  I hug her enthusiastically!  I jump and dance and cavort about!

All is right with the world.

Honestly, I was ready to fly to Spain and hunt down each actor and actress to find out what happened in the last 8 episodes.  But thankfully, my subtitles return and I watch the rest of the series.

It is FANTASTIC! 

I absolutely adore binge-watching this charming, mystery-laden, romantic, captivating period piece.

And this portion of my life will henceforth be known as, “Hey, remember that time Mom went off the rails for two weeks and did nothing but watch Spanish-language TV?”

WORTH IT.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Have you seen Grand Hotel? Do you want to join me in my time travel machine back to 1906 Spain?  PLEASE tell me the names of your favorite binge-watching shows because I’m in serious withdrawal over here now that I’ve finished Grand Hotel! HELP!)
Grand Hotel Alicia and Julio

Hey Kid, Don’t Do the Crime If You Can’t Do the Time!

Don't Do The Crime, If You Can't Do The Time, Kid #funny #punishment #nightmare #behavior

So then…he folds his skinny little arms over the covers, juts out his chin, and says, “But, Mom, I can’t make it 4 days without TV!”

I stifle a smile as I click on the lamp on the bedside table. My 5 year-old son is fresh from bathing, so he’s tucked in bed in colorful jammies with damp hair and the sweet face of an angel — but his expression has all the gut-wrenching desperation of a junkie who’s just been denied access to the methadone clinic.

I plop next to him on the bed and say, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

Crime? Mom, come on!”

“Tucker, I warned you several times earlier today, so you knew the consequences of your behavior.”

“Mom, why don’t you take away my video games? I love video games way more than TV,” he says hopefully.

Not so fast, Brer Rabbit.

I shoot him a look. “Do you think I don’t know that your video game controller is broken? I’m not taking away something you can’t use anyway. So no TV for 4 days.”

“This is so not fair!” He furrows his little brow.

“Oh come on, take it like a man. When I was your age, if I misbehaved, I would have been spanked!” I turn toward him and prop my head on the pillow.

“But I can’t live without TV for that long!” he says.

“That’s what Rico thought too. Did I ever tell you about him? When I was a kid, he lived in the house across the street from us in Panama. He was a little older than you are now and loved TV. But his dad was pretty strict so he restricted the time Rico could watch it. And he’d take it away if Rico misbehaved. They fought about it a lot. One time, when Rico was forbidden from watching TV, he got up in the middle of the night to sneak TV without his dad knowing — but his dad came in — and you know what he did?”

“What?” asks Tucker, very interested.

“He shot the TV!”

“WHAT?” asks Tucker in surprise.

“Yep, he had a service revolver, this gun, and he just walked right over and shot the TV!”

Tucker contemplates the death of his favorite device very somberly. “Did they get a new TV?”

“No, and what’s more, Rico’s dad insisted that the TV sit there in the living room for months as a constant reminder – shattered screen and all.”

“That’s awful,” says Tucker. He’s horrified by this story, which reminds me of another childhood memory of this family.

“Yeah, the dad was really strict. Rico’s sister was a teenager at the time and really beautiful – thick long black hair all the way to her waist, pretty face, gorgeous eyes – but he wanted her to focus on high school and stay away from boys, so he forbid her to date. So one night she said she was going to her friend’s house to do homework — but when she came home, her dad found out that she’d been on a date with a college guy! So you know what he did?”

“He shot her?” asks Tucker with wide eyes.

“No, no, no!” I laugh out loud. “He didn’t shoot her! He waited ‘til she was asleep, then he picked up her ponytail and cut her hair off!”

“Really?” he asks, dismayed.

“Yes, really! She was devastated! She went from this long luxurious hair all the way down her back to this hideous pixie cut. I think he was trying to teach her something about the dangers of being vain and too focused on beauty or something. The whole neighborhood talked about that for months.”

My mind is still replaying those memories when I notice Tucker becoming very quiet, a tiny little worry line between his eyebrows. I guess I shouldn’t have mentioned these stories right before the poor little guy goes to sleep. He’ll probably have nightmares of gun-toting, scissor-wielding maniacs chasing him!

I hug him and say, “Don’t worry, honey. No one’s gonna shoot the TV or chop off your hair while you sleep!”

“Um…OK,” he says unconvincingly.

I feel terrible, of course, but maybe his 4 days of TV exile doesn’t seem quite so bad now.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Have you ever taken TV away from your kids?  What consequences do you impose when they behave badly?  Do those differ from the way your parents punished you and your siblings?)