“The Curse of the Fuentes Women” (NBC) pilot preview: “Ugly Betty”‘s creator wants you to have an orgasm!

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Written & produced by Silvio Horta (Ugly Betty, Jake 2.0). Co-produced by Andrew Maher. Directed by Jason Ensler (Hart of Dixie, Franklin & Bash, Red Band Society). For NBC, Warner Bros. Television & Silent H Prod. 62 pages.

Description: When Salvador, a magical and mysterious young man inexplicably emerges from the ocean during a violent storm, he breathes new passion into the lives of the Fuentes women who own a Cuban restaurant on Miami Beach: the beautiful but lonely Lola, who instantly falls in love with him, her mother Esperanza, who’s losing her mind since she’s been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer, and her troubled daughter Soledad, who’s secretly pregnant. The curse that ruined their lives for so long finally breaks…

With Adan Canto (The Following, Mixology, X-Men: Days of the future past), Christina Vidal (Taina), Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall, Law & Order: Los Angeles), Katie Sarife, Sonia Braga (Alias, Royal Pains), Daphne Rubin-Vegain (Smash), Robbie Jones (One Tree Hill, Hellcats, 90210, Bosch), Trace Lysette

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NBC is definitely trying to sweep the latino american community off their feet this year, and most importantly off their spanish speaking channels like Univision & Telemundo, which draw big ratings every night. A smart strategy since ABC is more into the african-american community thanks to the Shondaland series & comedy Blackish, while FOX has the surprise success of Empire. In order to make a splash, they are rolling out the heaviest artillery: besides Eva Longoria’s Telenovela (Read the preview), Jennifer Lopez’s Shades Of Blue (Read the preview) & America Ferrera’s Superstore (Read the preview), NBC ordered a new show from Ugly Betty‘s creator, Silvio Horta. The man had a hard time getting one off the ground with all his previous attempts (Bastards & Sold! for ABC…) failing to get picked-up. Will The Curse of the Fuentes Women break the cycle? It could, but should it?

For those who didn’t understand the pun in the title of the show -can’t blame you, it’s not an easy one- let me try explaining it to you without being too crude. Of course, Fuentes is the name of the family first. But fuentes in spanish also means fountain. The curse is linked to a fountain. But the naughty thing is the (rare) women who ejaculate water -like a fountain- when they have an orgasm are called “mujeres fuente” in spanish, or “femmes fontaines” in french. You got it now? It was important to note because it puts you in the mood for what the show aims at: giving you pleasure -a guilty one or not, you choose- and why not even making you squirt! Not much of the show is really about sex, but there is a scene I have to talk about: Lola, our desperate and lonely heroin, is so turned on by the new man in town that she takes a banana away with her in the toilet of the restaurant and starts to masturbate with it! And she screams loudly. I’m not sure NBC will keep it in the final version, but I’ll be impressed and proud of them if they don’t touch any of it. It was the climax of the pilot for me. Later on, Lola hooks up widly in the kitchen with her cook, Jean Baptiste. But that’s it for the sex. Well, if you don’t take into account the fact that Salvador is so so hot that every scene he’s in is automatically wets your pants.

The first act is kind of excruating to read but unavoidable for us to understand: it’s the whole story of the curse from when it started to today. That’s when the show looks like a telenovela the most. It’s a little bit funny thanks to the voiceover (in the same fashion as Jane The Virgin) but it’s really long. It’s the director’s job to make it better now, I guess. The rest of the pilot is way more exciting, even if I’m not totally sold on the characters. I’m afraid Lola turns into Betty Suarez. We loved her but sometimes, she was too whiny and way too nice with everybody. Esperanza is an interesting and touching character due to her illness, but it will be hard to use her every week as long as she can’t remember anything. Soledad is the mandatory teenage character that has yet to prove being worth more screen time. Hopefully, there’s a Wilhelmina kind of bitch, Orquidia, the one that created the curse in the first place, but she’s not funny in her wickedness, at least for now. And she needs to be. What’s the point otherwise? The Curse of the Fuentes Women is mostly ridiculous, with some crazy scenes like when Salvador spits out so much sea water that he filled a whole room with it or when he makes the whole neighborhood dance because he is so sexy and he knows it, but that’s exactly what makes the show attractive at the same time.

While Devious Maids is a not a ratings juggernaut for Lifetime but a decent player nonetheless and as Jane The Virgin became a critical darling more than a hit for the CW, The Curse of the Fuentes Women can’t be a sure thing at NBC but I totally see it joining their Friday’s supernatural line-up, paired with Grimm. It is way more compatible than Dracula, Hannibal and Constantine were, because it’s lighter, funnier and of course, magical enough. Plus, they really need something like this, not too serious, in their schedule. That being said, TV can do without the Fuentes Women. But who would refuse an orgasm when it’s so gently offered?

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