I’m usually the first to side-eye adaptations and reboots, or at least, I used to be. Witness my evolution firsthand! I’ve become less of a snob. This is called growing up, and I feel like you should all be super-duper proud of me, or something.
But, honestly, I’ve hated the movie/show version of most of the books I have ever loved, and Roswell, New Mexico aside, there are few reboots I have enjoyed. But even though the Spanish series Gran Hotel is one of my favorite shows of all time, and even though I have watched every episode upwards of 10+ times, I admit I’m more than willing to give the ABC remake, Grand Hotel a chance.
Here’s why: diversity.
What? Isn’t that a good enough reason? Then led me add this: true diversity.
To prove that I’m not a hypocrite, let me tell you all the story about how back in the day (it truly feels like a million years ago), I was willing to give the Charmed reboot the same courtesy. In fact, I was even excited – despite my appreciation for the original. And then they did that thing where they didn’t research/care/cast correctly and after being caught in their mess, just lied about it.
So, I said bye bye to Charmed and never, ever looked back.
That made me cautious, of course. I did my research when it came to Roswell, New Mexico before I could commend them on their portrayal of latinx characters. And, with Grand Hotel, a show set in Miami (a place that has always felt, at its core, like a part of Latin America) and focused on a latinx family, I stalked each and every one of the actors to make sure they actually had latinx roots.
Not that I had to do much stalking when it came to Demián Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez. Or, you know, producer Eva Longoria.
But I’m not just giving them a chance because they hired recognizable “big time” latinx actors to headline their show, though hey, that’s a pretty damn good start, or because Eva Longoria’s touch and the care they’re taking to portray the latinx community in Miami is felt in every second of the surprisingly enjoyable pilot, no. I’m giving them a chance because they haven’t been really talking the talk as much as Charmed did back in the day, but boy, are they walking the walk.
Those are all the latinx actors they hired to play latinx characters, and more than that, the latinx characters at the center of this story. And I haven’t even gone into Wendy Raquel Robinson and Chris Warren, who will play Helen Parker and her son Jason.
Even MORE diversity added to the mix. Almost like you can make a show with a bunch of diverse characters and one “token” white character, instead of the other way around. Almost like some places ARE like that.
And I know, I know what you’re going to say: are you just going to trust a show because it hired people who looked like you, because it made an effort to accurately portray the community of the place the story is set?
The answer is yes, I damn well will. Why wouldn’t I? People have given chances to shows for much less. Remember the last time you watched a show just because it stared so and so or because the poster was attractive or the vague premise sounded appealing? Huh?
Do I expect this show to be the same (or as good) as the original? Not really – this skews more soapy and it’s certainly not trying to be a remake as much as it’s just inspired in the original Gran Hotel, so I won’t saddle it with those expectations. That’s the quickest way to dislike it.
But do I expect this to be the perfect summer show, entertaining and just a tad over the top, while still being funny, good representation, and oh, yes respectful of the story it’s trying to tell?
Hell yes. I except that. And as long as Grand Hotel provides, I’ll be here for every step of this insane journey.
Grand Hotel premieres Monday, June 17th at 10/9c on ABC.