One of the tragedies of having so much damn TV out there is missing out on all the lovable weirdos hiding in the shows you aren’t watching. Consider, for example, Tati, from HBO’s Los Espookys. There is no one on television like Tati. Wholly realized by comedian and Los Espookys co-creator Ana Fabrega, Tati is a person best described as a living improv comedy sketch. A self-styled entrepreneur, she takes on odder-than-odd jobs (like running slideshows for business meetings, except the presenter uses a clicker that shocks her so she knows to change the slide?) that somehow work out for her (she becomes sought after by Hollywood producers for writing abridged 10-page versions of classic novels?) yet leave her exactly where she started (her asking price for the rights to her stories is $8?). There’s simply no one like Tati on TV. She is Schrödinger’s dimwit, all things and nothing at once. In other words: She’s great television.
Los Espookys is full of characters like Tati. A surreal comedy about a group of friends who launch a business staging “hauntings” for people who need them, Los Espookys traffics in the absurd. In one episode, a lazy cemetery groundskeeper hires Los Espookys to pose as ghosts who tell grieving family members that their corpses aren’t buried in the wrong graves, they just wanted to swap spaces post-burial. In another episode, a woman on the brink of divorcing her husband hires them to punish him by staging a haunting where everyone he sees looks and acts like him, so he can see how miserable she makes him.
Tati is just one member of the titular Espookys gang, and all of them are equally delightful. There’s leader Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco), a sweet guy who loves horror and is perplexed at the thought of anything else. Andrés (Julio Torres) is the heir to a chocolate empire who falls out of favor with his family and has difficulty maintaining his lifestyle of glam disdain. And Úrsula (Cassandra Ciangherotti) is Tati’s older sister and maybe the only “normal” one in the crew.
Set in a fictional, unnamed Latin American country, the strange and unusual is normal in Los Espookys, making a character like Tati simply the oddest in a world full of oddballs. With a setting like this — which started as a way to make sense of the fact that the cast of the primarily Spanish-language comedy all hailed from different countries and spoke with different accents — Los Espookys is able to shape the universe around its characters. What happens at any given location is only as weird as the people in it.
In its second season, which concludes Friday, Renaldo is haunted by the ghost of a dead beauty pageant queen, a water demon tries to get a job at the U.S. Embassy, Andrés begins dating a wealthy widower and conspires with the moon to get rid of his children, and Úrsula’s increasing frustration with everyone causes her to stumble into politics.
Mainly, though, Los Espookys is just a very funny celebration of being a weirdo. The gang that forms Los Espookys are a multiplicity of things: queer, fanciful, deluded, stubborn, nonsensical, and more than anything, themselves. There’s no one like them, and every episode I get to hang out with them is some of the best TV I see that week.