With a dark wave score and all the cultural references you could want, Los Espookys is in its second episode with “El Espanto de la Herencia” or “The Inheritance Scare” in English, we learn more out our espookys and watch them pull off some House on Haunted Hill styled haunts.
Starting last week, Los Espookys, the primarily Spanish-language comedy from Fred Armisen has been giving us the reverse Scooby-Doo feels, as we watch a group of horror-loving friends work to pull off scares for profit. In the last episode, they got Father Francisco a spot on “Mira Esto,” a “news” show styled after Primer Impacto. Now, the crew is tasked with scaring guests one by one as they all compete to win over a billion pesos in inheritance. The one catch? The only son of the man leaving the large sum of money must not win since he never responded to his father’s funny forwarded emails of course.
In 25-minutes, “El Espanto de la Herencia” packs in a lot of characters and story. We get to see “Los Espukys,” their newly founded company, pull off its first gig. We watch Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco), Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherotti), Andrés (Julio Torres), and Tati (Ana Fabrega) pull off a zany haunting with some things not going right and others going off without a hitch. But we only see them pull it off, we don’t see Úrsula’s planning or Tati’s set up and it leaves me wanting more. Instead of watching the reverse Mystery Inc. put on a scare or the of debunking one, we get to see more of tio Tico (Armisen), Andrés’ search for his past, and of course his drama with Juan Carlós (José Pablo Minor).
For tio Tico, his impersonation of a famous Los Angeles artist last episode apparently wasn’t a one-off to connect the host of Mira Esto to Renaldo. Instead, it’s his plot in “El Espanto de la Herencia” after which we see into his family life and get some funny if heavy-handed Latinx stereotypes along the way. But ultimately, the time spent with Tico, developing his character, could have been given to show more of the preparation that goes into the scares that the espookys are creating.
Sadly, given Armisen’s involvement, this is what I was worried about. When the show was announced, Armisen was explained to be a recurring guest, which could mean a few things. In the first episode, Tico exists to both inspire and push Renaldo, helping him complete the first job he does after embracing the inspiration to turn his passion into his work.
Here, Tico has his own story and the Armisen’s signature is the same we’ve seen in Portlandia, his guest spot on Parks and Recreation, which left me wanting to get back to the espooky gang instead of taking in the humor. That being said, the same deadpan and cooky humor is perfect when executed by the rest of the cast. With only 25-minutes, the episode needs to be more streamlined, and that can be done by focussing less on Tico.
While I wasn’t excited by Tico’s presence this episode, I did enjoy Andrés’ story, largely because it directly impacts the main plot of the episode and the fact that the mystery of his birth was established in episode one. It’s a through-line that I’m happy to follow. But we don’t only get to see the wedge between him and his boyfriend Juan Carlos, we also get to see the strangeness of Andrés’ parentage and ultimately this episode does a lot to establish him as possibly the only real supernatural thing in a show about building them.
Overall, Los Espookys is still a hilarious watch and if moves to focusing on its core characters instead shoehorning Armisen’s tio Tico into the narrative it will remain one of the most unique shows on television currently. While the dark wave tracks and the b-movie horror play in the background, the show also give us cultural references that will work on many levels. Between the references to Scooby-Doo, the scam that is Herbalife, to Renaldo’s mom, there is so much here to see yourself in.
Los Espookys airs on HBO every Friday at 8pm PT/10pm CT.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.