Turn your haha’s into jaja’s.
Laughing along with some good comedy and learning Spanish on the couch—it’s every Spanish student’s dream.
Why Watch Spanish Comedy Series?
- They’re fun to watch. Comedy series are funny by their very nature. And who doesn’t enjoy funny? No one, that’s who. But better yet, because they’re so fun to watch, it will be easy to watch them regularly and regular exposure to Spanish will improve your skills. So you’re simulating immersion and really, truly learning—talk about killing two birds with one stone!
- They’re diverse. If you don’t like one series, there are plenty more to check out. You’re sure to find something that you like. And once you’re done with one, you can always just move on to the next. With plenty of old shows and new ones cropping up every year, the supply is limitless. The fun and learning never have to end.
- They teach you language. There’s plenty of vocabulary in any TV series. Best of all, a lot of it will be colloquial, meaning its the sort of everyday Spanish you just won’t learn from a textbook. Additionally, watching will help you get a feel for the sounds of the language. At first, understanding won’t come as naturally and you may find yourself translating in your head. But the more you watch, the more you’ll understand, and soon you won’t even need to translate. Bam! Fluency is at the tips of your fingers!
- They teach you culture. TV both reflects and influences culture, so watching popular TV shows will help get you in the loop. Understanding culture is important because it plays a role in any interactions. If you only know the language, you’ll still have trouble communicating with native speakers. Plus, familiarizing yourself with popular TV shows will give you an easy topic of conversation.
How to Get the Most out of Watching Spanish Comedy Series
- Find a series you like. Look and see which series sound good to you. Watch a few minutes of one series. If you like it, keep watching. If not, try a different show. Selecting your favorite is important since enjoying the show is what will motivate you to keep going.
- Watch often. Try to watch at least a little every day, even if you’re just re-watching your favorite scene. To be fluent, daily exposure is key. Otherwise, your language skills will regress a bit during your off days. And let’s face facts—who couldn’t use a good laugh each day?
- Repeat punchlines. The crowd laughs uproariously! This is your cue to rewind and watch again. Repeat what you hear. If you don’t know a word, you might want to jot it down and look it up. Keep repeating the line until you have it memorized. Now you’ll have no problem remembering the words and you’ll have a great joke in your back pocket!
- Reenact your favorite scenes with friends. It’s like learning a punchline, but on a larger scale. If you get some friends to join in you can reenact whole scenes, picking up valuable vocabulary and pronunciation practice in the process. (Slapstick antics optional).
7 Great Spanish-language Comedy Series for Learning by Laughing
English title: “The Lad of Eight”
What it’s about: Often simply referred to as “El chavo,” this classic Mexican sitcom from the 1970s is wildly popular throughout Latin America. It follows an orphan boy (played by a middle-aged man, of course) in a poor neighborhood and all his shenanigans.
What you’ll learn: You’ll learn plenty of informal language, childish patterns of speaking and slang. Additionally, there is much terminology and discussion related to poverty and the daily struggles of working families, as the featured kid and his family navigate life in a less wealthy neighborhood. You’ll also learn from how the characters turn the depressing subject matter into jokes.
Subscribed to Hulu? Then you can watch it there! You can also look for it in syndication on Spanish-language TV channels. It still gets a lot of airplay on most!
English title: “The Red Grasshopper”
What it’s about: From the man who brought you “El chavo del ocho” comes another classic Mexican sitcom from the 1970s. In this series, the title character is an often-fumbling superhero. What’s worse—the villains he’s fighting or the problems he inadvertently causes along the way?
What you’ll learn: You’ll learn your basic superhero terminology with a little Mexican culture thrown in.
If you prefer DVDs, you can buy volumes of the show’s episodes from Amazon.
English title: “The Plush Family”
What it’s about: This Mexican sitcom started in 2002. It features a dysfunctional family living in a city with a lot of plush fabric. No really. That’s the premise. It’s basically a live-action cartoon, with lots of over-the-top sights and sounds.
What you’ll learn: You’ll learn plenty of terms related to family drama and general everyday life. And, of course, you’ll never forget the word peluche (plush).
For Hulu subscribers, you can stream it on the site.
English title: “What’s Yet to Come”
What it’s about: This Spanish series debuted in 2007. It follows the lives of the inhabitants of an apartment building outside of Madrid. It focuses largely on the housing bubble and its effects on young people.
What you’ll learn: It uses a lot of catchphrases, so they’ll be a useful tool to memorize and repeat. You’ll also witness satire of some stereotypical Spanish personality types which will help with your cultural education.
Own a DVD player that can play all zones? You can also try the DVD.
English title: “Down There”
What it’s about: This popular Spanish series debuted in 2015. It features a 30-year-old Basque man lives with his domineering mother. When they take a trip to Sevilla, his mother ends up in a coma and he finds himself stuck in the unfamiliar city. (It’s important to note that Basque Country is a region in northern Spain that has long harbored separatist leanings).
What you’ll learn: The mother’s accident and ensuing hospitalization will help you learn some medical terminology. You’ll also learn about some of the differences between northern and southern Spain. And you’ll come to recognize the importance of walking very carefully on stairs.
If you have an internationally zoned DVD player, consider getting the DVD.
English title: “The Heroes of the North”
What it’s about: This Mexican musical comedy that began in 2010 follows a small town country band on their road to success.
What you’ll learn: You can learn a lot of vocabulary through music, so you’ll benefit from that in addition to the fun dialogue.
English title: “7 Lives”
What it’s about: Running from 1999-2006, this Spanish sitcom follows a man who wakes up from an 18-year-long coma. Needless to say, much has changed. Inspired by “Friends,” it may feel familiar to American viewers.
What you’ll learn: Many scenes are set in a cafe, so you might learn some helpful restaurant/coffee shop terms. This show will also enrich your cultural understanding since it pokes fun at politics and current events.
With an internationally zoned DVD player, you also might want to check Amazon regularly. Occasionally DVDs turn up.
So with plenty of great options, tune into these sidesplitting comedy series if you’re looking for an absurdly fun way to learn Spanish.
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