Directed by Javier Solar and Raúl García
Starring Yamil Ureña, Braulio Castillo, Hijo, Sian Chiong
Is with a bit of shame that I admit I saw the mini-series. If you are Puerto Rican and grew up in the ’80s, you knew of Menudo, even if you were not a fan. That is my case, I grew with their albums and music in my house, and I remember one of their films. I can say I like two or three of their songs but I know the history of the group. That alone got me to see the show and then it was the portrayal and performance of both Yamil and Braulio as Edgardo Díaz, the man who created the group and had the idea of how to do it, the reason I kept watching.
The show is not so much about the group, I think is more about Edgardo Díaz and how he views his legacy as the manager of Menudo. The story begins with him managing another group where he realizes that girl fans are the ones who buy more merchandise and that is how he gets this idea of an all kid boy band.
What can I say about the show? I can’t take it as a factual account because some stories featured in the show have other accounts and the timeline sometimes was wrong. The timeline is forgivable, the same was done in the Queen biopic. I do have to say that it was revealing and shocking the way these kids worked and how Edgardo managed their workload. The insensitivity of replacing them just because they grew up, even if indeed that worked just as he wanted.
The show worked for me because of Edgardo and Joselo’s story. I had no idea that a man named Joselo existed and his importance in the group’s success. Now, the kids themselves had no real story told here other than their fear of growing, the drug, and a few rebel moments. I think they had potential in the Robi Rosa story and explore his wishes to write original music and especially with the knowledge of his success after Menudo. There had to be more within the kids that was not explored here, maybe because the real purpose was to tell Edgardo’s story, and he did not look really good as a person here, as a manager and businessman he was a true genius, but how he saw the kids as products was just bad. As a nostalgic trip, I think it worked and I’m sure a lot of Menudo fans remembered a lot of things from their youth and the group’s role in it.
The production was bad, I thought that being made by Amazon they could have done better. The stages were always the same and it looked cheap and the costumes used by the band were bad also. Even the wigs used were bad and I can say that only a few actors resembled the real members. The kid performances were not good at all. They could not recapture on the screen what the real Menudo brought on stage. The songs were overused it felt as if they sang the same song for every performance scene. The series is saved by the adults and the performances of Yamil Ureña, Braulio Castillo, Hijo, and Sian Chiong.
I did not like a lot of things production-wise on the series. It was a great nostalgic trip. I did enjoy it and it did reveal a lot about the man behind the group, they might need now to do research with the members and give the perspective of the kids and what they went through.