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Gerald Erichsen

Desperate for New TV Shows? Try 'Housewives' in Spanish

By March 17, 2008

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If you're a Desperate Housewives fan who is missing the show in the aftermath of the writers strike, you might try watching new episodes in Spanish.

Well, they aren't totally new. Univision, the largest Spanish-language network in the United States, earlier this year begun airing its own remake of the blockbuster ABC telenovela. And a remake it is: According to a recent New York Times article, Univision's Amas de casa desesperada is nearly a scene-for-scene refilming of the show, starting in the first season.

There are some differences: Wisteria Lane has become Calle Manzanares (Apple Orchards Street), and the characters have been Spanish names. The sets in Buenos Aires (also used by three international remakes of the show) are basically the same as the ones in the U.S. show, except that Roman Catholic items in the houses help establish the characters as Hispanic.

The show features a multinational cast, many of whom are probably recognizable by the Univision fan base of Latin American soaps. According to Univision, they include Mexican actress Lucía Méndez as Alicia Arizméndi (Mary Alice Young in the English version of the show), Venezuelan Scarlet Ortiz as Susana Martínez (Susan Mayer), Mexican Ana Serradilla as Gabriela Solís (Garbrielle Solis), Colombian Lorna Paz as Leonor Guerrero (Lynette Scavo), Mexican Julieta Rosen as Regina Sotomayor (Bree Van de Kamp) and Venezuelan Gabriela Vergara as Roxana Guzmán (Edie Britt).

Look around the videos on the Univision site (they include three-or-so-minute summaries of the episodes that have aired so far), and you won't have much trouble figuring out who's who if you're familiar with the show. With the exception of Vergara, the actresses were apparently picked in part for their resemblances to the original characters. The closest match is probably Ortiz, who looks easily as if she could be a sister of Teri Hatcher. She even has the same facial expressions as the ditzy character in the original.

Univision broadcasts the show at 10 p.m. ET on Thursdays.

The other Spanish-language remakes of Desperate Housewives have been filmed for Argentina, Brazil and Colombia/Ecuador. According to the Times, the Univision version eventually will be shown in Mexico.

Although the Univision version is new this year, it isn't the first time Desperate Housewives has been shown in the U.S. in Spanish. Shortly after the show became a hit, ABC began broadcasting the show with a Spanish soundtrack that can be heard on newer televisions equipped with second-audio-channel capability.

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