Imagine this: a neon and glitter splattered set of a supposedly run-of-the-mill high school. Our protagonist: a kid with a heart of gold and voice of an angel who just wants to sing on stage – though the folks at home aren’t too thrilled. Our antagonist: a sickeningly obnoxious theater girl who not only deludes herself into thinking she runs the school but somehow actually does. A basketball team and cheerleading squad that constantly break into song and hip-hop sequences (including choreographed ball bouncing) upon experiencing any emotion. In short, a musical about high school. I know what you’re thinking… it’s obviously the 2019 Argentine teen drama, Go! Vive a tu manera.
Well, if you were actually thinking High School Musical, I’m with you. My initial reaction to the first episode was simple: “This is literally High School Musical… but worse.”
But here’s the thing about cheesy teen dramas – they drag you in. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, by the second episode, I found myself enthralled, fully transported to a dramatized version of the most turbulent yet entertaining time of everyone’s lives: high school. A time of letting adolescent love triangles subsume my existence and thinking my (in reality quite mediocre) artistic talents knew no bounds. Suddenly, I was bopping my head along to main character Mía Cáceres’ hit “Pase Lo Que Pase,” dropping my jaw to revelations about Mía’s godmother and the school owner’s romantic past, and clenching my teeth in rage as yet another scheme by mean-girl-extraordinaire, Lupe Achával, came to fruition.
It’s not for everyone, but I have a feeling that for a lot of us, a musical teen soap opera is the medicine we didn’t even know the doctor ordered this winter. So before Season 2 of Sebastián Mellino‘s web series drops on Netflix this weekend, let’s take a look at the cast of characters, shall we?
THE GIRL WHO JUST WON’T STOP BELIEVIN’
Look-alike: Gabriella Montez’ voice and heart, with the looks of Gossip Girl‘s Serena van der Woodsen.
Tell me more: Mía Cáceres, portrayed by Pilar Pascual, is the girl we’d all like to imagine our past selves as but definitely were not. She’s the absolute sweetheart of the show: talented (AKA the source of all the catchy songs), badass, and kind to the bone. Her dream is to attend St. Mary’s, a boarding school with the best performing arts program in the nation. The only problem: Isabel, her godmother and sole parental figure, can’t afford the tuition. When Mía slam-dunks the audition for a competitive scholarship, mean-girl Lupe (more on her in a bit) prevents the principal (Lupe’s mother) from awarding it to her – all because she caught her boyfriend ogling the emerging star. Still, with a dollop of luck and a lot of blackmail, Mía ends up enrolling in St. Mary’s after all, where she befriends the misfits (a wholly original plot twist) and challenges incumbent queen, Lupe (another shocker).
BUT HERE ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE… QUEEN B de la ARGENTINA
Look-alike: Think Sharpay Evans, Regina George (Mean Girls), and most of all, Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl) all rolled into one.
Tell me more: Entitled, manipulative, and drop-dead gorgeous, Lupe Achával is the mean girl we all love to hate. She’s surrounded constantly by two dim-witted followers (Gretchen and Karen, step aside, darlings). When the show opens, Lupe (Renata Toscano) has been dealt the perfect hand: she’s the principal’s daughter, girlfriend of the school’s best basketball player (Juanma), and lead of “Go,” the music and dance group teens across the country would kill to get into. She’ll do anything to keep this status, including taking down any girl (namely Mía) who dares speak to her beau, or worse, undermine her position as the most talented singer and dancer at St. Mary’s. Well, that always ends well. What? It doesn’t?
THE BOY YOU WANNA BRING HOME TO MAMA
Look-alike: Perfect mixture of Troy Bolton and Gossip Girl‘s Nate Archibald.
Tell me more: The show’s attractiveness level goes from a solid 10 to really flippin’ hot the second José Giménez Zapiola walks onto the set. Álvaro Paz may be wealthy, popular, the basketball team captain, and the son of the school’s principal (stop drooling, ladies, seriously it’s disgraceful), but that doesn’t stop him from looking out for the bullied kids and exuding goodwill everywhere he goes.
The opposite of his sister Lupe, he’s the character we love to love. Álvaro falls in love with Mía at first sight, but quickly learns that while she may be in distress for much of the show, treating her like a damsel won’t get him very far. (Cough, Troy and Gabriella, cough). To complete the Sensitive Boy trademarked image, he also has his own problems, namely a complicated relationship with his stepfather and owner of the school, Ramiro Achával (played by Gastón Ricaud).
THE GUY WHO TAKES GYM CLASS WAY TOO SERIOUSLY
Look-alike: Run of the mill jock with the character arc of Gossip Girl‘s Chuck Bass
Tell me more: Juanma Portolesi, portrayed by Santiago Sáez, starts off seeming like a self-centered jock who would shove a scrawny freshman into a locker at the first opportunity. He quits the basketball team after being passed over for captain, and then asks his girlfriend Lupe to use her influence with her father (the school’s owner) to get the decision reversed. Gross.
We quickly learn, however, that – drum roll, please – there’s more beneath the surface, as he’s still struggling to recover from his father’s death three year prior. Juanma may not be a bad seed deep down but he still causes much annoyance throughout Season 1. He’s Chuck Bass (with his own Queen B, of course) in that he starts off hate-able, but soon enough, emerges from the darkness. I’m most excited to see what he’s up to in Season 2.
Our advice? It’s Friday, so take tonight to binge Season 1 if you haven’t seen it already, and then steamroll ahead on to Season 2 the rest of the weekend. It may not quite evoke the nostalgia of rewatching High School Musical or even Gossip Girl for the tenth time, but hey, you should probably stop doing that anyways.