Sunday, May 8, 2011

Angels and Luchadores

I've never watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Scratch that, I've never watched the TV series. The movie on the other hand was one of my favorite movies growing up. It was one part parody, while also playing with the horror genre. It put horror on it's head, and placed the helpless cheerleader victim in the role of the savior against the forces of darkness.

My favorite scene in Buffy(the film)

But for some reason, the tv series didn't feel right to me. It seemed hokey, it was on WB for crying out loud, and worst of all... it was praised by thousands of teenage girls. All these signs drove me away from the series. That being the case, I especially didn't follow Angel. Spinoffs don't work out very often. For example: Friends > Joey, Baywatch > Baywatch nights (Like we even expected a mediocre show to birth an amazing spinoff), Happy Days > Joanie Loves Chachi. These are just a few of the spinoff crud we've seen in tv history. Mind you, there have been a few fun spinoffs: Happy Days > Laverne & Shirley, The Tracy Ullman Show > The Simpsons, Cheers > Frasier. Perhaps Angel falls under this second, against all odds still amazing category.

I bet you're asking yourself, "What is he talking about? Where are the masked wrestlers from Mexico?" Well, I'm getting to that, just hold your horses. In the pursuit of all things lucha for the sake of this forum, I have watched exactly one episode of Angel. In my lucha research, I have discovered that there is an episode of Angel that deals with luchadores. Season 5, Episode 6 (No. 94): "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco."

A luchador mail guy?

Honestly, I was afraid to venture into the world of Angel and Buffy, but I did it, and I come out alive and unscathed. I also must say, I liked the episode quite a bit! <shock & awe> It dealt with the subject with respect, a bit of research, and made it fit into their world. I was really impressed, and I'm easily bothered by people who use luchadores in stories with little to no understanding of the history and tradition of the sport and film genre.

Let's see if angels can fly!

Santo has taught us that vampires and luchadores are mortal enemies

So we have the main characters, Angel, a black guy, a green demon, and a blonde vampire ghost who work at some sort of agency, much like BPRD in the Hellboy universe, but also works in the legal realms of contracts, hexes, and other pacts. Sorry I don't know these characters' names, this is my first episode of Angel. So, at the agency there is a mail guy, an old luchador called Numero Cinco. Up pops up a case on All Souls Day (November 2 to all you non-Catholics), also known as Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos. This case involves an Aztec demon called Tezcatcatl whose taking victims' hearts. With a little research, the crew discovers that this guy popped up 50 years before in Los Angeles as well. The story is that there were five luchador brothers who were undefeated in the ring, and took on paranormal tom foolery by night. Sadly, they had all perished in one final battle, except for Numero Cinco. Numero Cinco slowly lost cases due to the hardship he endured, until the Wolfram & Hart Agency picked him up.

Me llamo Tezcatcatl, mucho gusto.

These are the lightest of light weight luchadores I've ever seen.
Santo would scoff at these mosquitos.

Luchadores in suits, a staple in the lucha genre

Length: 42 minutes
Year: 2003

Favorite Quote: "¡Vamanos lecherita!" - "Let's go milkmaid!"

The Ratings:
My rating system is out of five stars, and consists of six categories, then an overall score.
  • Story: I was impressed by the story, you could tell that the writer must have watched a few lucha films in his time. The Hermanos Numeros would wear suits and masks outside the ring, it felt much like a film. It had a touch of camp, while being very earnest in it's story. I liked it.
  • Horror: While the episode won't be sending chills down your spine, you'll be impressed by the Aztec demon. He was pretty wicked looking.
  • Action: Lots of action. I also liked how the luchadores would toss their opponents like a super hero flick. The action was more choreographed, and a little less spontaneous than an old Santo flick. We even get to see some headscissors action!
  • Camp: Cheesy green demons, a Cheech Marin-sounding hasbeen luchador, a vampire ghost, demons, brother luchadores with numbers on their masks. It's definitely ridiculous, but it was done earnestly that it didn't feel like it was making fun of the genre.
  • Nudity: Zero nudity, zero sexual situations, totally safe for junior lucha-fans.
  • Overall: It was fun, I would recommend watching it to a fellow lucha fan without hesitation. I'm not saying I'll go and watch the rest of the Angel or Buffy tv series, but I was pleasantly surprised!

We even get a touch of Mexican cultural enlightenment by an appearance of an ofrenda.

These zombie luchadores raise their hands in approval.

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