For a certain subset of television viewers, Bravo is the gold standard of programming. Real Housewives, Vanderpump Rules, Southern Charm, Below Deck -- when it comes to glossy, narrative reality TV, no one is doing it better right now. However, with so many successful franchises in the works, it can be hard for a freestanding new show to break through with fans. But it seems as though the network may have found its next potential hit.
Mexican Dynasties, which premiered in February, is quickly becoming a sleeper sensation among the Bravo fandom, as word of the show's addicting drama and over the top personalities spreads. Set in Mexico City, the series follows three wealthy Mexican families: the Madrazos, whose grandfather was the first to bring luxury cars to Mexico; the Bessudos, whose family founded Jarritos; and the Allendes, whose fortune comes from the success of the patriarch and former teen idol/soap opera star Fernando Allende.
While each of the three families is fascinating in their own right (the uncomfortably close relationship between the Madrazo siblings, Oscar and Paulina, could fuel an entire essay, with their cast mate Doris Bessudo even saying their relationship reminds her of Game of Thrones' Jaime and Cersei), it's the Allende family that is the clear breakout of the series.
Led by Fernando and his wife of 31 years, Mari, who also acts as his manager, the Allendes are as dysfunctional as they are eccentric. Seven years ago, Fernando and Mari gave their eldest son, Elan, an ultimatum -- either choose his wife Jenny or his band with his younger brother Adan. And Elan did what most of us would do: choose his wife and to make a name for himself on his own terms. After establishing a career in construction, Elan and Jenny have now returned to Mexico where they've recently signed with a record label and are recording their first album under the name Shambayah. Meanwhile, the youngest in the family and also an aspiring singer, Adan, still lives with his parents, loves embracing the perks of being Fernando Allende's son, and will have you constantly bewildered that he is approaching 30 years old and not a child.
Case in point: A "typical morning" for the Allendes, per the series premiere, involves Fernando, Mari, and Adan sleeping in past noon with Adan joining his parents in bed for cuddles once they've finally risen. But this is not the infantilizing detail the fans have latched onto. No, that would have to be Adan's love of milk. As the family's head of security Jesus explains, whenever Adan gets upset -- as he does quite often -- they have to give him a glass of milk to calm him down, as though he is a baby and not a 27-year-old aspiring music superstar.
A fun drinking game when watching the series is to take a shot every time you spot Adan drinking a glass of milk. Your bones will thank you. But it should be noted that Adan himself doesn't drink alcohol to "take care of his voice." I'm not sure who is going to tell him that dairy isn't exactly high on vocal coaches' recommendations lists...
Adan clearly has no problem with his arrested development or coddled lifestyle, though -- in fact, he'll get extremely defensive whenever his decisions are questioned, accusing the refreshingly reasonable Elan and Jenny of merely being threatened by his musical talent and confidence when Elan suggests that he may want to move out or -- now this is a real wild idea -- get a job, since getting accepted to appear on the Mexican version of The Voice doesn't actually count. (Especially if you wind up turning the opportunity down.)
It's obvious that there is a rivalry between the brothers, and it's obvious whose side Fernando and Mari are on. Clearly resentful of the fact that Elan wants even a modicum of independence, Fernando and Mari spend the entire first half of the season ignoring Elan and Jenny's success and taking every opportunity -- even Elan and Jenny's record label signing party -- to showcase Adan in ways that are so shameless that you can't help but laugh -- or drink copious amounts of tequila if you're Elan and Jenny.
It really is a shame GIFs cant make noise though, because you have to hear Adan's singing to truly understand it and appreciate the depth of this comedy. (When he goes for his "signature" high note, Jenny accurately says he sounds like a goat, so thank god for auto-tune.) Fortunately for Adan, the delightfully direct and honest Doris Bessudo approaches him about taking over for Mari as his manager, creating the closest the show will probably ever get to a love triangle with Adan torn between his mother and Doris. But it seems fitting that the kid who drinks five glasses of milk a day won't be caught in some sexy romantic pickle and instead will be forced to choose which maternal figure will guide his career, which he is convinced will soon have him performing at the Super Bowl halftime show.
I could seriously never stop writing about Adan, who has everything a great reality star needs: unstoppable confidence that isn't based in reality, low levels of self-awareness, and people like Elan and Jenny at his side to consistently put his outlandish behavior in perspective. But it would do everyone a disservice if I didn't also take the time to point out the incredible watchability of Fernando. For those who don't know, Fernando Allende was a massive star in his day, starring in Spanish-language soap operas before transitioning to music, prime time and film roles, reality hosting gigs, and producing. Today, he also moonlights as a painter, creating art such as this, which he titled "Feline Good."
This man is a meme machine who has dedicated his life to Adan and whose reactions when either one of his sons threatens to assert any autonomy are absurdly melodramatic. Not that Mari is much different. As we learned in a recent episode, Adan actually used to be married, but he decided to divorce his wife because his mother told him it wasn't best for his career. So you can only imagine their reaction when he starts to date again midway through Mexican Dynasties' first season.
Throughout all of this, the show's editors are deliciously shady, always making sure to note the time of day when Fernando, Mari, and Adan finally wake up (never before noon and sometimes as late as 2 p.m.) and zooming in on people's reactions whenever Adan's singing falls flat (literally). But probably the best shade of all comes from the various families' house staffs, who get the opportunity to do their own confessional interviews where they hold nothing back and say exactly what we're all thinking.
Mexican Dynasties has gifted us with some of the most GIF-worthy, amusing, and bizarre but lovable people I've seen on reality TV in a while, and it's not hard to imagine this cast fueling seasons of great drama to come. I can already picture all the future spin-offs Bravo could give us too: Mexican Dynasties: Cancun, Mexican Dynasties: Guadalajara, Mexican Dynasties: Adan Moves Out -- JK, we all know that one will never happen.
But before we can really even joke about a spin-off, first I need Bravo to renew the flagship. So do yourself (and me) a favor and watch Mexican Dynasties, the best new show Bravo has come out with in years (sorry, Dirty John).
Mexican Dynasties airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on Bravo.