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Photo: ‘Alpha Males’
Netflix delivers a brand-new Spanish comedy about four middle-aged amigos overcoming their toxic masculinity. With an ensemble cast, ‘Machos Alfa’ (titled ‘Alpha Males’ in English) tells four different stories about machismo, sexuality, fidelity, and patriarchy. The series is clever and uses a modern setting that doesn’t overwash the plot with social media as other shows do in their attempt to be relevant. It tackles the issues with its realistic characters and plots. The characters and their issues are believable and do not fall victim to much melodrama. Directed by a woman, Laura Caballero, the series is a lighthearted show that avoids aggressively illustrating feminism.
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The pilot begins with the four men, Luis (Fele Martínez), Raúl (Raúl Tejón), Santi (Gorka Otxoa), and Pedro (Fernando Gil), attending a seminar where they introduce themself by their name followed by, “I’m a sexist.” The show then cuts to a flashback of six months earlier and the series begins to unfold the events that led the four friends to attend the lesson about “deconstructing sexist pigs.” Immediately, the initiation points of the four friends’ stories transpire. From this point on, the series presents the men overcoming each of their personal issues. Through humor that is handled with sensitivity, the series is a relaxing watch with an occasional laugh that accurately displays what it is like for men (who have subconsciously dealt with these masculinity issues their whole life) to overcome their flaws.
‘Machos Alfa’ – Pedro and his Perception of Familial Patriarchy
After being responsible for some insensitive and misogynistic content from his company, Pedro is asked to step down as CEO from his entertainment network. To knock his masculine pride down even more, his replacement is a woman. Now unemployed, Pedro breaks the news to his friends and girlfriend. To compensate for the lack of income for the household, Pedro’s girlfriend, Daniella (María Hervás from ‘La Guarida’), decides to make a career out of influencing on social media. As her career thrives and Pedro’s falls, Pedro finds himself on the opposite end of his familial expectations, which is him in the “trophy wife” position.
Pedro’s plotline is satisfying since the viewer gets to watch this prideful (almost egotistical) man have a humbling six months. Fortunately, it isn’t a riches-to-rags story as it would impact more than just Pedro. It’s a nice plotline about a man realizing that an event he perceives to be emasculating is minor.
Santi Overcoming his Ex-Partner’s Infidelity
Mentally lost after his partner’s affair, Santi is visited by his daughter, Álex (Paula Gallego), who forcefully moves into his apartment after deciding she cannot live with her unloyal mother. Santi’s inexperienced but socially aware daughter gives him the mission to obtain ten bodies, meaning that he must sleep with ten women in order to get over his ex. At first, Santi refuses, but after his daughter’s persistence and opening dating app profiles for him and booking him several dates, Santi gives in to see if becoming a womanizer would really help kill his love for his ex-wife.
Theoretically, Santi’s daughter’s plan has the potential to be successful if executed right. Santi’s flaw is his inability to rebound correctly. Constantly bringing up his ex moments before the “dirty deed” and bringing his dates to his and his ex-wife’s first date location, Santi just can’t seem to get the hang of using women. Santi’s storyline is a nice contrast to the other plotlines centered around diminishing their toxic masculinity. Although it is debatable if it could be called toxic masculinity since consent is expressed and thorough communication that the women are being used happens before the sex, viewers kind of find themself wishing Santi would let go of that one-sided loyalty, get over his wife, and liberate himself with exploring other women freely. Plenty of Santi’s masculinity issues reside in his dynamic with his daughter. Seemingly unable to control her, Santi struggles a bit to maintain control as he should.
Raúl Realizes his Double Standards
Raúl is introduced to a woman who seems to be his partner as they are getting redressed from an implied intimate session. Raúl then flashes an engagement ring to the woman, to which she sarcastically reminds him that she is married. It turns out that this is the ring that Raúl plans to propose to his girlfriend with at that night’s dinner. That is, until his girlfriend, Luz (Kira Miró), proposes instead that they expand their relationship to an open relationship. Uncomfortable with the idea of other men with Luz, Raúl has to face his karma and hypocrisy as the ultimatum from Luz was to accept the open relationship or that she will exit his life.
In effort to make the open relationship work, Raúl sets up some rules that the couple must follow in order for the open relationship to work for both of them. Raúl is taken on a road to self-realization as he finds that he has already crossed these boundaries.
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Luis Struggles with his Sexuality and Libido
Luis’s sexuality is called to question when his wife is fed up with his lack of sex drive leading to a sex-less marriage for half a year. Having lost his way from the repetition of everyday marriage and parenthood, Luis explores other ways to spice up the room and find the niche he needs to raise the tent in the bedroom. In one of the funniest scenes of the pilot, Luis buys a vibrating toy for his wife, Esther (Raquel Guerrero), and while they are in the midst of trying it out, they are reminded of what made their sex life so hard to maintain with the interruption of their children.
With Esther at her last straw, she ridicules Luis’s inability to all of their friends at a dinner party. There, the men gather around and come clean about their struggles in the world of women’s empowerment.
‘Alpha Males’ is available to stream on Netflix.
Actors: Fele Martínez, Raúl Tejón, Gorka Otxoa, Fernando Gil, Paula Gallego, Cayetana Cabezas, María Castro, Kira Miró, Raquel Guerrero
Director: Laura Caballero
Creators: Alberto Caballero, Laura Caballero
By Nino Vongphachanh
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