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Seeing as you might find yourself going a bit stir crazy, and would prefer to do something productive from your couch every once in a while (aside from trying to WFH and pretend like the world is not a goddamn nightmare zone), we’re gonna be giving you some sugerencias in the coming days and weeks! Sugerencias is Spanish for suggestions! Which is a cool segue into the fact that…

…hi, I’m a 32-year-old human who’s emotionally invested in a web series for teens! But at least my Spanish is improving! 

I started learning Spanish in the 6th grade, meaning I’ve slowly but surely been building up my skills for the better part of 21 years. (Which is p. goofy to think about!) In high school and college I continued studying Spanish, spent a semester abroad in Argentina when I was 20, and when I graduated from good ol’ university I went BACK to Argentina for another stint! And while I’ve bebopped around to Spanish-speaking countries (the most recent being Madrid this past fall) in the meanwhile, and occasionally bust out el español here in NYC, not being fully immersed all the time makes one a tad bit rusty.

And do you know what helps with that? TV! There are loads of great Spanish language shows and movies available to stream (I’d highly recommend Money Heist / La Casa De Papel on Netflix, for starters), but I’ve recently found myself gravitating towards SKAM España, a web series from Movistar’s YouTube channel that’s an adaptation of Norway’s OG SKAM. They’re up to three seasons now, each one following the angst-ridden lives of a group o’ teens living in Madrid. 

You: “And what do the teens get up to, Megan?!”

(It’s sort of like an updated, less hectic version of Degrassi. Like, yes they have problems, but I don’t think anything will ever match the sheer scope of the myriad issues faced by the students of Degrassi.)

Each episode is just a little snippet, most (I think, anyway) clocking in at under ten minutes in length, and THAT is what I find to be the perfect amount to test the things I already know, and to absorb some vocab that I might not be familiar with and/or rusty on. 

Of course, since the series is set in Spain, and since it centers on teenagers, not everything I’m picking up is universally applicable/recognized. But then again, my Spanish (which is largely influenced by my time in Argentina) is already pretty Frankenstein-esque, so I’m p. okay with throwing in some curveballs. Keepin’ things PICANTE, y’know what I mean?

Usually English subtitles are added to the videos shortly after they get uploaded, but usually I try to watch them either 1. when they first come out and I have nothing else to go on but the Spanish dialogue, or 2. with the subtitles turned off if the episode has already been translated. Sometimes I understand everything, sometimes just the gist, but whatever blanks there are in my comprehension I can go back and fill in by watching again with the subtitles turned on. (Again, this is why it’s v. handy that the episodes are so short!)

One example of a word I learned is gilipollas, which is a delightful-sounding term that essentially means douchebag/dickhead! HEE-LEE-POY-AHS. Hee-lee-poy-ahs. HeE-LEe-pOy-aHS. (I say it in my head all the time now!)

As I say, there are already three seasons at the ready, but if you decide you are (like me) unafraid of looking like a fucking weirdo grown-up watching a show for teens and end up blowing through all the episodes, fear not! S4 is set to premiere on April 9th, and that is at least one thing we have to look forward to in the coming weeks. Here’s the trailer:

So if you’re looking to brush up on your Spanish skills, this is my top recommendation! Godspeed, all you GILIPOLLECES! (That’s plural for GILIPOLLAS, wow, the more you know!)


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