“When one door closes, another one opens”, is what Ana Milán tells us in the first episode of her new series, ‘By Ana Milán’. Born, (unbeknownst to itself), at a time when every door in Spain was slamming shut to the soundtrack of R.E.M.’s “It’s the end of the World as we Know it” and The Police singing “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”…, Ana Milán was kicking in the doors of Instagram blaring “I Will Survive”.
Although the new show produced by Buendía Estudios premiered November 8th on ATRESplayer Premium, interest in Ana really spiked during that Neverending Story better known as ‘Lockdown’ as the actress entertained thousands of followers daily who eagerly awaited her live daily afternoon shows.
Followers and live connections to her account began multiplying week-on-week and it soon became clear that Ana’s accounts proved the ideal tonic for these strange times. So, Atresmedia didn’t bat an eye when the idea to give Ana her own series was floated, and that it should “feature stories, anecdotes from her career and a wide selection of hair buns…” from the muse of confinement. Just goes to show that not everything in 2020 would have to be shite.
Faithful fans won’t be disappointed by the show as they fill their prescriptions of just what the doctor ordered, delivered in easy-to-swallow 25-minute capsules: Ana Milán in the very essence. A constant mix of drama and comedy with overtones of that unique brand of black humor she’s become famous for. The show features Ana cast in an array of extreme situations that might leave other mere mortals gobsmacked. Not so our protagonist. She launches into a series of witty comments guaranteed to lift your spirits at a time when so many of us struggle to stay focused on simply remaining afloat. As if the philosophy “from Milán to heaven” were based on the premise: “Do you know where you’ll find self-pity? In the dictionary between “salmonella” and “syphilis”…and it’s equally as beneficial for you. It’s not for nothing that Ana was the only medicine some took during quarantine.
Cameos are carefully chosen to the point. From a telephone conversation between Ana and Sonia Martínez, the ACTUAL executive producer of the series, to the reference which the reincarnation of Lope de Vega affords her when he points out that “She’d make a great Countess of Belflor”, bearing in mind that Ana played a cold, calculating, cowardly and evil-spirited character in the “The Dog in the Manger”, a woman incapable of showing her emotions in a role that has pigeonholed the actress since. This is something the screenwriters play with from the get-go. We’re immediately presented with a woman bubbling over with happiness which sets off alarm bells for her followers (well aware of her Berflorian exploits) knowing that the days are numbered for this exuberance of bountiful joy; that smiling, happy, Facebook kind of vibe.
The attention the detail when it comes to the staging is also worthy of note. Nothing appears by chance. Props like the paintings which adorn her living-room walls, works inspired by the concepts of “escape” and “return” tie in beautifully with the narrative. Ikea ornaments tastefully crossbred with artistic jewels that wouldn’t look out of place on Picasso’s walls and therein lies yet another of the attractive elements the writers playfully and triumphantly wield; these Judas kisses that’ll have you wondering where storyline reality ends and fiction begins. How does a rich and famous diva handle life’s everyday mundane ‘dramas’? What’s the private life of a screen celebrity really like? How do once successful thespians tread the tightrope fine line of life when the only folk who recognize them these days are friends and neighbors.
Only a handful of stars can be said to have exploited actor’s limbo as successfully as Ana Milán. The transitional leap from TV to social media was seamless as was the return journey through the main door once again to television and this conversion into diva status on both is all down to her doing. That’s why the only thing we don’t quite get about ‘By Ana Milán’ is that it kicks off with Ana asking to become Lady Gaga in another life. My dearest Ana, if there’s anything we’ve taken away from this, and your live appearances, it’s that you just being yourself is the best thing that could possibly happen. And that my friends is as good as it gets.