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Brushing up on my Spanish skills with ‘Silvana $in lana’

"Silvana $in Lana" is a telenovela on Netflix
(Courtesy of Netflix)

With much of the arts moving to online and streaming platforms, here’s a look at a weekly standout:

My pick: “Silvana $in lana,” an instantly addictive telenovela.

Why: Even though Spanish is my first language, I’m starting to forget it. So I recently decided to watch and listen to more things in Spanish: podcasts, movies and other shows. But nothing really clicked until I found “Silvana $in lana,” a telenovela on Netflix that has consumed every single second of my free time.

The title roughly translates into: Silvana without money. And the premise is kind of like “Schitt’s Creek” meets “The Brady Bunch” crossed with a bit of Pedro Almodóvar’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”

It’s about Silvana, a woman raised in luxury who suddenly loses her house, her husband and her friends. Silvana, who has never worked a day in her life, now has to support her three daughters and her mother. The ladies go from having chefs and chauffeurs to a cramped duplex where the sisters all share a room. Of course, Silvana’s neighbor turns out to be a single dad with three sons, resulting in a lot of drama and romance.

Even though I’m watching it in Spanish, it’s also available to watch with English subtitles. It’s actually a great show for anyone looking to brush up or stay on top of their Spanish skills because the vocabulary is kept at a pretty basic level. Viewers also learn slang and popular expressions, like “mosquita muerta,” or little dead fly, which is used to talk about someone who looks sweet and innocent but is actually evil.

This show is set in Miami and has a cast of actors from all over the United States and Latin America including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Venezuela. It was released in 2016 and ran through 2017, so it’s likely lots of people already know the joy of Silvana and her neighbor, Manuel (my family tried to get me to watch it a long time ago, but I resisted).

Now I’m about 20 episodes in (no spoilers!) and I can’t stop watching or singing the theme song — in Spanish! Mission accomplished!

Find it: “Silvana $in lana” is streaming on Netflix.


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