'Los Espookys' Source: HBO

Review: HBO's 'Los Espookys' Stays Dry and Darkly Funny in Season 2

Karin McKie READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Just in time for National Hispanic American Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), the Lorne Michaels-produced comedy "Los Espookys" returns to HBO Max for a second season. This oddball series of 30-minute episodes is like a Spanish-language "Portlandia," also produced by Michaels and co-starring Fred Armisen, following a group of quirky friends with foibles on adventures – this time in an unnamed Latin American country rather than the Pacific Northwest.

The foursome of friends produce horror-inspired events for various clients, including a schoolteacher who wants to create a creepy classroom mascot to scare her elementary-aged students into proper behavior. Vapid Tati (British driving cap-wearing Ana Febrega, also a co-creator) has just gotten into a questionable marriage, and her sister Ursula (Cassandra Ciangherotti) works to make both of their lives more bearable (and understandable). Renaldo (Bernardo Velasco) is trying to figure why he's being haunted by the ghost of Miss Puerto Rico (who has an anchor sticking out of her abdomen), while blue-haired Andres (Julio Torres, also a co-creator) provides ongoing, super-bitchy commentary about all their plans, and battles with his own internal (yet incarnate) demon.

Armisen plays Uncle Tico, whose beloved career as a valet parker is in jeopardy now in the era of self-driving and self-parking cars. He speaks in both Spanish and English, bridging the gap for the rest of the cast, who mainly speak in Spanish with English subtitles. Shakira is skewered ("never trust a white Latina"), and Oliver Twix the twink makes an appearance.

The dreamlike landscape of comings and goings, plottings and executions is pleasant, if not impenetrable. Yet a miasma surrounds the dry humor, resulting in a show that is "so dark, so weird, and so artsy."

"Los Espookys Season 2" debuts September 16 on HBO.

by Karin McKie

Karin McKie is a writer, educator and activist at KarinMcKie.com

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