"On September 13, 2001, two days after the New York attacks, the first episode of a series that was to change us forever was broadcast." There are endings that can't be any other way. If Cuéntame has reviewed the great milestones of recent Spanish history and has always put television at its centre, it had to reflect in some way its own birth.
Cuéntame has told me about a recent Spain that is already far away. One in which the television still occupied the main place in the living room, the one towards which sofas and other furniture were oriented. The Alcántaras, who have not experienced the central events of the country's recent history in the first person, have followed them on television, the same appliance that has made them immortal.
Farewell to 'Cuéntame', the series that has narrated recent Spain: "It's a miracle that we survived"
Tell me the story of how we've changed. The series, created by Miguel Ángel Bernardeau, Patrick Buckley and Eduardo Ladrón de Guevara (who, in a fatal coincidence, died on the same day that the end of his creation was broadcast), held up a mirror to Spanish society and showed it with its chiaroscuro as it went through the end of Francoism, the Transition and entered modernity after 1992. That recognition of the viewer in the series was for better and for worse. There were even many who were not allowed to get close to her by prejudice or who simply despised her.
Ricardo Gómez, Elena Rivera, Ana Duato and María Galiana, in the last chapter of 'Cuéntame'.
It was inevitable to feel a bit of rejection for that macho Antonio Alcántara, a tyrannical and rather egomaniacal point who was learning with the blows of life and those around him. You also had to love him hopelessly without knowing very well why, just as you love a family member to whom you forgive all their defects. Walking hand in hand with Mercedes the enormous path that women have traveled in the last half century has been one of the great gifts of the series and a life lesson. Herminia's wisdom, Inés' rebelliousness, Toni's courage and unconsciousness, Maria's youth. And the life of Carlos Alcántara before our eyes.
Although the last chapter begins with Antonio, Merche and Herminia's uncertainty about whether Carlos and Karina would go on the 11/<> planes, viewers know that it is impossible for that to be the case. No screenwriter would be so cruel. And anyway, the chill of remembering those moments of bewilderment and disbelief, that feeling of watching something on television that would change history, is transmitted to the other side of the screen.
Pablo Rivero, Ricardo Gómez, Irene Visedo and Carmen Climent, the four Alcántara siblings, reunited for the final episode of the series. Manuel Fiestas Moreno
The final episode of Tell Me accentuates the emotional character that has dominated the farewell season. Carlos' return is the center of an episode that has Herminia's death as its trigger, a death that paralyzes the world of the Alcántaras and makes them face what really matters. The long, leisurely conversations are proof that there is no longer a rush to tell the show. All that's left is the farewell. The characters arrive in 2001 laden with scars, with the invisible wounds of distance, misunderstandings, frustrations. The scratches of life.
The return of Carlos and Karina fits well into the plot. One senses that the heir has not done as well as he hoped when he went to New York, because that's life, things don't always turn out the way you would like. But he does manage, with Karina, to break through the wall that separates the brothers. Elena Rivera's voice says it with the song that Rocío Dúrcal sang: "How the years have passed, what a different world." And so, the family is maintained above all else. The important thing, in the center.
María Galiana and Ricardo Gómez, Herminia and Carlos in 'Cuéntame'.
Cuéntame says goodbye, noticing the passage of time on her. Wear and tear after 22 years is inevitable, and the series has had logical ups and downs. Even so, it has been much more daring than the vast majority of Spanish productions sponsored by the platforms and has gotten into more puddles than the vast majority of the series with which it has shared its journey and origin. The world he was born into is not the same as it is today, nor is television. The society that Cuéntame has narrated has changed. But no one can deny it the merit of having become part of Spain's emotional memory. Few audiovisual works have told the story of recent Spain as well as she has.
It was a running joke what would happen if Cuéntame were to catch up with us or surpass the present. It happened: in one of those triple somersaults that only this series could afford, it showed its characters in the fateful 2020 of the covid pandemic. But in its natural time, Cuéntame has ended up catching up with Cuéntame itself. If Carlos, Josete and Luis, gathered in San Genaro in the last seconds of the episode, had turned their heads to the televisions in a shop window, they would have seen the birth of the series in which they have grown up.
Imanol Arias and Ricardo Gómez, in the final episode of 'Cuéntame'.
"The things we've been through here together," Carlos Alcántara tells his friends. "Someday you'd have to write it," replies Luis, a Manu Dios who in recent seasons has combined his role in the series with his role as a screenwriter. "Who's going to care about that?" retorts Carlos. To the tens of thousands of people who felt a little broken heart this Wednesday when we turned off the television. Inside, from the heart and from the TV, the Alcántaras stay, forever.
You can follow EL PAÍS Televisión on X or sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
I'm already a subscriber