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Thursday, October 6, 2022

a teenage story with the first trans protagonist of a Spanish series

Scene from the first minutes of To be or not to bethe series produced by Radiotelevisión Española, which can be seen here by Flow.

In front of the mirror in his room, before going to school, Joel practices a monologue that he won’t be able to say in front of his classmates. “Two years ago I discovered that he was a trans boy. I had always felt that I was playing a role that was assigned to me at birth, but that it was not mine. It was thanks to YouTube that I discovered that there were more kids like me and that gave me the strength to start my transition.”

Along the six episodes of about 25 minutes, To be or not to be bill the story of a trans boy during the first months in his new school, a high school specialized in performing arts in which he will be able to present himself for the first time as a boy. In addition, he has a peculiarity: he participates Ander Puigthe first trans male protagonist in a Spanish series.

Ander Puig, in "To be or not to be".  He is the first trans male lead in a Spanish series.

Ander Puig, in “To be or not to be”. He is the first trans male lead in a Spanish series.

To count or not to count, that is the question

Throughout the chapters, narrated in a linear and simple way, the days of Joel and his friends Laia and Ricky in a theater class are recounted. The task of the first day of school – the presentation in the first person – will wake up in Joel the dilemma of counting or not who is a trans boy.

The same will happen to him with Ona, the girl he falls in love with on the first day of class. At home, except for a grandmother whom he rarely sees, Joel is understood and loved by his mother.

Joel (Ander Puig) and Ona (Júlia Gibert), in a scene from "To be or not to be", the Spanish youth series.

Joel (Ander Puig) and Ona (Júlia Gibert), in a scene from “To be or not to be”, the Spanish youth series.

In Spain, the media spoke of “the necessary visibility of the problems of a trans adolescent” and of “the first series starring a trans actor”. Perhaps this visibility is the main merit of the series of coral crossalthough he paints the story with lines too thick to be narrated in this century and in a city like Barcelona.

Joel’s mother is unconditional and seamless. The grandmother? A caricature of rigidity and an ode to the traditional family. And the theater teacher is full of phrases like “we are not based on how others see us”, in addition to making an analogy between theater and stage masks and others. The subplots are completed with Ricky, Joel’s gay friend who wants to come out of the closet.

The work of the protagonist

Ander Puig’s leading role is correct and successful. Although the production has sensitive scenes, it lacks freshness to tell in depth what the life of a trans boy is like, in addition to stretching the story too much about telling it or “continuing lying”.

Ander Puig, the protagonist of "To be or not to be", the Spanish series that is seen by Flow.

Ander Puig, the protagonist of “To be or not to be”, the Spanish series that is seen by Flow.

To be or not to be It is inserted into a corpus of LGBTIQ-themed series as if there were no precedents in its country or other foreign productions.

It does not have one iota of the lucidity of the first seasons of Transparent -eight years have passed since its premiere- and it never becomes as irresistible as the Spanish Poison or the monologue of La Agrado in Everything about my motherthe Pedro Almodóvar film that premiered 23 years ago.

The Spanish media speak of a “necessary visibility”. It is healthy and worth celebrating the existence of a series -and hundreds more- with this theme, but fortunately progress was made in the conquest of rights and productions on the subject. Y perhaps it is not enough just to make visible. Much less when the target audience is teenagers.

File

The cast of "To be or not to be", the Spanish series with teenage protagonists.

The cast of “To be or not to be”, the Spanish series with teenage protagonists.

To be or not to be

Rating: Fair.

Genre: Drama Starring: Ander Puig, Anna Alarcón and Emma Vilarasau Creator: Coral Cruz Broadcast: Flow Duration: six half-hour episodes

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Reference from clarin www.clarin.com

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