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Cinco de Mayo: a day of celebration, remembrance, education, and margaritas. Originally a way for Mexican-Americans who were in the United States at the time to commemorate the Battle of the Puebla, when an outnumbered Mexican army crushed the French forces invading the country, it has since become a holiday dedicated to the celebration and education of Mexican heritage and history. And what better way to celebrate their culture than with a playlist of television shows and movies set in Mexico?
Whether you're looking for something to entertain your friends at a party or you want something to binge watch while you relax with a plate full of traditional Mexican dishes, we've got you covered. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we've rounded up the best television episodes and films set in Mexico, perfect for enjoying alongside your gorditas, tamales and chilaquiles. We've even pulled an important lesson from each, so that you can learn while you laugh.
Arrested Development, "Amigos" In this second season episode, Michael discovers that George Sr. has escaped to Mexico, and heads south of the border to track him down. However, G.O.B. thinks that Michael is the one fleeing the country, and sends a bounty hunter after him. After Michael has to double back to Mexico to pick up Ann (who got left behind in the ensuing chaos), G.O.B. confronts his brother about what he believes is a plan to leave the company. Meanwhile, Buster hides out in Michael's trunk, intending to escape to Mexico to spite Lucille, only to end up at Lupe's house, which he believes to be in Mexico. What This Episode Teaches Us About Mexico: You know the Bluth family's infamous chicken dances? They're considered to be a grave insult south of the border. Also, be conscious of where you park your stair car.
Y Tu Mamá Tambien Tenoch and Julio are two teenagers who meet Luisa, the twenty-something wife of Julio's cousin at a wedding. To impress her, they invite her along on a trip to see la Boca de Cielo, the most beautiful beach in the country. When Luisa discovers that her husband has been cheating on her, she takes the boys up on their offer to see the beach... which doesn't exist. They set out anyway, and the three of them go on a journey of discovery about themselves, their relationships and what the future holds for them. What This Movie Teaches Us About Mexico: There is no beach so beautiful it's nicknamed the "Mouth of Heaven," but there are plenty of other lovely beaches worth seeing - although you should maybe think twice before inviting that beautiful stranger to tag along on your road trip.
King of the Hill, "Lupe's Revenge"Peggy takes the Spanish class she's substitute teaching on a field trip to Mexico, where she quickly abandons the itenerary and takes the kids to a butcher's shop. As the class is boarding the bus to head back to Texas, she forces a young girl named Lupe to get on the bus, thinking she's one of her students. Because Peggy can't actually speak Spanish, she doesn't understand the girl's protests, which results in her being arrested for kidnapping when she finally drives Lupe back to Mexico. Instead of using the defense that she doesn't understand Spanish, and it was a misunderstanding, Peggy's pride takes over. Luckily, her lawyer is smart enough to put her one th stand, where the jury can see just how little Peggy actually understands, and they let her off. What This Episode Teaches Us About Mexico: You really, really should learn a few key correct phrases before you visit. Or, at the very least, don't force strange children to get on your school bus if they're not actually your student.
Orion Pictures Corp via Everett Collection
Three Amigos!When a bandit named El Guapo begins terrorizing the Mexican city of Santo Poco, a young woman sends a telegraph requesting help from the heroes she saw in a movie, believing them to be real. The Three Amigos, who are actually actors, travel to the city, thinking they're being hired for a show. They come face to face with El Guapo and his band of men, and rely on their Hollywood tricks to help defeat him. However, he comes back the next day with a full army, looking for revenge. What This Movie Teaches Us About Mexico: The people who live in Mexico are generally very friendly, and sometimes cunning and terrifying. Also, never trust the telegraph guy. He'll edit your message and you'll end up with actors instead of soldiers.
Monk, "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico"After the son of a prominent businessman dies in a skydiving accident, Monk and Sharona are sent down to Mexico to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. However, between his suitcases getting stolen, the imminent threat of dehydration - Monk, unsurprisingly, refuses to drink anything by the water he brought, which was in the stolen suitcase - and someone attempting to kill him, Monk might not live to see the investigation through. What This Episode Teaches Us About Mexico: If you're a rich kid from San Francisco, you should spend spring break somewhere other than San Marcos, and it's better to risk drinking the water than to almost die of dehydration in a foreign country.
Frida The story of the iconic Mexican painter Frida Khalo, the film traces her life from the accident that caused her life-long health problems at 18 through her death at age 47. As she recovers from the accident, she begins painting, and soon marries the muralist Digeo Rivera. However, their relationship is a tempestuous one, with both parties frequently engaging in affairs. Khalo later meets the Russian revolutionary Leo Trotsky, who was granted political asylum in Mexico, but shortly after Rivera discovers their affair and requests a divorce, Trotsky is murdered. During this time, her health began to deteriorate, and she was forced to amputated several toes and her left leg. What This Movie Teaches Us About Mexico: It wasn't the safest place to hide out if you were a Russian Marxist revolutionary in the first half of the 20th century, although the vivid artistic culture kind of makes up for it.
The Bridge Set on the Mexican-American border, this FX series follows two detectives, one American and one Mexican, as they attempt to catch a serial killer who is terrorizing both of their jurisdictions. But in addition to catching a killer, Det. Sonya Cross (Diane Kruger) and Det. Marco Ruiz (Demián Bichir) also need to deal with the police corruption and drug cartels that are complicating things. What This Show Teaches Us About Mexico: Border towns are some of the most interesting cities in the country, as some elements of the cultures blend together seamlessly, while others keep the citizens separated. And no matter what country you're in, every detective miniseries will feature the same character archetypes.
The Road to El Dorado Tulio and Miguel, two 16th century con artists, win a map claiming to show the location of the golden city of El Dorado by cheating at a dice game. In an attempt to escape, the hide on a ship that happens to belong to the explorer Hernan Cortes, and wind up in the fabled city, where they are mistaken for gods. In order to get their gold and get out of El Dorado, they need to rely on a local woman, Chel, who will help them maintain the illusion for her share of their treasure. What This Film Teaches Us About Mexico: The alignment of the stars is of vital importance to any proper tribute. Also, take some time to learn about the local culture so you don't find yourself in over your head pretending to be an ancient god.
Actor Javier Bardem is in talks to portray Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes on the big screen in a film project that has been shelved for over 45 years. Former blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo came up with the script for the movie in the 1960s, and reportedly wanted Kirk Douglas to lead the cast.
Schindler's List scribe Steve Zaillian has been hired to revamp Trumbo's work and produce the film, according to Deadline.com.
Movie bosses are hoping to bring Steven Spielberg onboard to direct the movie, which will centre on the battle between Cortes and Aztec emperor Montezuma.
The new fall pilots haven't even premiered yet, but already the networks are looking forward to their next big task: finding the right pilots and scripts to order for the 2013-2014 season. Development season is well underway and has been for the past few weeks — although this season is marked by a declaration from some networks (namely ABC and NBC) that the typically order-happy suits would not be as quick to bulk up their pilot orders this year. In other words, less is more.
Most of the majors have already made their first-round choices for specific projects, and the trends that have emerged seem to be all about big-name attachments (e.g. Vince Vaughn, Jodie Foster, Ryan Reynolds), period dramas (e.g. Aztec empire, Cold War America, 1890s Europe), international transplants (from Israel, England and Scandinavia) and — in an interestingly-revived yet well-worn trend — book adaptations (including Dracula and two Sleepy Hollow reboots).
Here's what ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, NBC and more have coming down the '13-'14 pipeline so far:
— Dumb F*ck: Single-camera comedy about an average Joe and his brilliant wife who move in with her intelligent yet emotionally stunted family of geniuses; written by Hank Nelken (Saving Silverman), executive produced by Vin Di Bona, Bruce Gersh, Susan Levison and Shaleen Desai.
— Burns & Cooley: Medical procedural about two New York neurosurgeons who compete as they strive to be the top in all aspects of their lives; written by Meredith Philpott (Awkward), exec produced by Matt Gross (Body Of Proof).
— Founding Fathers: Drama about a war veteran whose Texas hometown is in the hands of a militia group led by his older brother; written by Rich D'Ovidio (Thir13en Ghosts), produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott.
— Untitled McG Project: Retelling of Romeo and Juliet, revolving around two rival families fighting for control over Venice, California; written by Byron Balasco (Detroit 1-8-7), produced by McG (The OC, Supernatural, Nikita).
— Untitled Kurtzman/Orci Project: Drama about a mysterious game; written by Noah Hawley (The Unusuals), produced by Heather Kadin, Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci.
— Dracula: 1890s-set period piece about the iconic vampire; written by Cole Haddon, produced by Tony Krantz and Colin Callender; starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors).
— The Blacklist: Drama about an international criminal who surrenders himself and helps the government hunt down his former cohorts; written by Jon Bokenkamp, exec produced by John Davis, John Fox and John Eisendrath.
— Hench: Based on the comic about a man who becomes a temp for super villains; written by Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives), exec produced by Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey (Prime Suspect).
— Cleopatra: Period drama about the Egyptian queen Cleopatra; written by Michael Seitzman (Americana), exec produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Dan McDermott.
— Pariah: Drama inspired by Freakonomics about a rogue academic who uses economic theory to police San Diego; written by Kevin Fox (The Negotiator), exec produced by Kelsey Grammer, Stella Stolper and Brian Sher.
— After Hours/The Last Stand: Medical drama about Army doctors who work the night shift at a San Antonio hospital; revisited from last season; written by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah.
— Untitled Parkes/MacDonald Project: Drama about an interpreter at the United Nations who works with diplomats and politicians from around the world; written by Tom Brady (Hell on Wheels), produced by Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Ted Gold.
— Untitled Charmelo/Snyder Project: New Orleans-set drama, described as a "sexy Southern Gothic thriller"; created by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder (Ringer), exec produced by Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.
— Untitled Rand Ravich Project: Drama-thriller following a secret service agent at the center of an international crisis in Washington, DC; created by Rand Ravich (Life), produced by Far Shariat.
— Island Practice: Based on the book Island Practice: Cobblestone Rash, Underground Tom, and Other Adventures Of A Nantucket Doctor, about an eccentric doctor with a controversial medical practice on an island off the coast of Washington; written by Amy Holden Jones (Mystic Pizza, Beethoven), produced by Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo and Oly Obst.
— The Brady Bunch: Reboot of the series, about a divorced Bobby Brady who re-marries a woman with children of her own; written by Mike Mariano (Raising Hope), co-developed and exec produced by Vince Vaughn (Sullivan & Son).
— A Welcome Grave: Based on the book series about a private investigator who comes under suspicion when a rival turns up dead.
— Backstrom: Based on the book series about a House-like detective who tries to change his self-destructive nature; written by Hart Hanson (Bones), produced by Leif G.W. Persson (novel) and Niclas Salomonsson.
— Ex-Men: Single-camera comedy about a young guy who moves into a short-term rental complex and befriends the other men who live there after being kicked out by their wives; written and directed by Rob Greenberg; starring Chris Smith and Kal Penn.
— Sleepy Hollow: Contemporary reinterpretation of the Sleepy Hollow short story; written by Patrick Macmanus and Grant Scharbo, produced by Scharbo and Gina Matthews.
— Gun Machine: Based on an upcoming novel (of the same name) about a New York detective whose chance discovery of a stash of guns leads back to a variety of unsolved murders; written by Dario Scardapane (Trauma), produced by Warren Ellis (book author), Scardapane, Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.
— Sleepy Hollow: Modern-day thriller based on the Sleepy Hollow short story, following Ichabod Crane and a female sheriff who solve supernatural mysteries; written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Fringe, Hawaii Five-0) and Phillip Iscove, produced by Heather Kadin and Len Wiseman.
— The Beach: Based on the 1996 novel and 2000 movie about a group of youths who try to start society over on a remote paradise; written by Andrew Miller (The Secret Circle).
— Hard Up: Single-camera comedy based on Israeli series about four twentysomething guys who are strapped for cash; written by Etan Frankel (Shameless), produced by John Wells.
— Lowe Rollers: Animated comedy about a struggling Titanic-themed casino in Las Vegas; written by Mark Torgove and Paul Kaplan (Outsourced) and Ash Brannon, produced by Ryan Reynolds, Jonathon Komack Martin, Steven Pearl and Allan Loeb.
— Untitled Chris Levinson Project: Cop drama about a detective who puts his life under surveillance when he begins to lose his memory; written by Chris Levinson (Touch), produced by Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.
— Untitled Friend/Lerner Project: Drama set on an aircraft carrier following young naval officers and a female fighter pilot who tries to solve an onboard murder; written and produced by Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner (House).
— Untitled Ryan Reynolds Project: Half-hour comedy about a disgraced hotelier forced to manage a rundown airport hotel; written by Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay (Clash of the Titans), produced by Ryan Reynolds, Allan Loeb, Jonathon Komack Martin and Steven Pearl.
— Untitled Jason Katims Project: Romantic comedy about a single female attorney; written by Jason Katims (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights) and Sarah Watson.
— Getting On: U.S. adaptation of a British comedy about a group of nurses and doctors working in a women's geriatric wing of a run-down hospital; Big Love creators Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer to exec produce with Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner and Geoff Atkinson.
— Buda Bridge: Belgian-set crime drama about a woman who is found dead on a famous bridge in Brussels; written and directed by Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead), produced by Michael Mann (Luck) and Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad).
— Hello Ladies: Comedy about an oddball Englishman who chases women in Los Angeles; written, directed by and starring Stephen Merchant (The Office), produced by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (The Office).
— Angie's Body: Drama about a powerful woman at the head of a crime family; written by Rob Fresco (Heroes, Jericho), directed and executive produced by Jodie Foster, Fresco and Russ Krasnoff.
— Conquest: Period drama about Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes, who clashes with the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II; written by Jose Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo.
— Low Winter Sun: Based on 2006 British miniseries about the aftermath that follows the murder of a cop by a fellow detective; written by Chris Mundy; James Ransone, Ruben Santiago Hudson and Athena Karkanis to star.
— Those Who Kill: Based on Danish series about a detective and forensics scientist who track down serial killers; written by Glen Morgan, produced by Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo, Peter Bose and Jonas Allen, directed by Joe Carnahan.
— Untitled LaGravenese/Goldwyn Project: Legal thriller about an attorney who discovers new evidence that re-opens a sensational murder case; written by Richard LaGravenese, directed by Tony Goldwyn, exec produced by David Manson; Marin Ireland to star as female lead.
— The Americans: Period drama about two KGB spies posing as Americans in Washington, DC; created by Joe Weisberg, exec produced by Weisberg, Graham Yost, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey; directed by Gavin O'Connor; Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Noah Emmerich to star.
— The Bridge: Based on the Scandinavian series, about a murder investigation opened up after a dead body is discovered on a bridge connecting the United States and Mexico; written by Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid (Cold Case), produced by Carolyn Bernstein, Lars Blomgren and Jane Featherstone.
— Untitled Dr. Dre Project: One-hour drama about music and crime in Los Angeles; written by Sidney Quashie, exec produced by Dr. Dre.
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[Photo Credit: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW]
The Desperate Housewives star filed for divorce from basketball player Tony Parker earlier this month (Nov10), citing irreconcilable differences amid reports he had been unfaithful.
But Longoria is refusing to let her personal life interfere with her career - she will co-executive produce two new shows for America's ABC network, in addition to a mini-series for the Starz channel via her UnbeliEVAble company.
The ABC projects include the drama Sendera, about a wealthy family from Mexico and another from Texas, which are locked in a power struggle. The show will be produced with Cold Case actress Kathryn Morris' Hotplate Productions, reports industry publication Daily Variety.
Meanwhile, Longoria will also produce the Starz historical series Aztecs, about the love affair between Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes and his interpreter, Malinalli.