The second season of ‘Valeria’ arrives on Netflix this August 13. The success of the adaptation of the novels by Elísabet Benavent once again confirms the excellent reception of the series on the platform.
And the creators have managed this by conserving the ‘Sex in Madrid’ spirit we’ve already become accustomed to in the first season, only even more so this time around. The hours the friends devote to this are as envied by the viewer as they are unreal (much to our regret) but even so, they’ll still have us smiling and nodding in recognition as we recall having experienced similar situations in almost every scene.
That impossible (or toxic) love is also back in the lives of our protagonists that, as ‘La Vecina Rubia’ would say: “Makes our imaginations run wild beyond our possibilities”. In this new batch, that crush has already become something more authentic, something much appreciated. While one of the biggest novelties is the protagonist’s facet as an “ex”. Having separated, she now constantly showcases her dilemmas before that man she believed would be forever and whom she herself left. Has she done the right thing? Is she making a terrible mistake?
This is one of the most interesting aspects of the second season, as the show sparks us to reflect on relationships (always strange) with someone who had become such an important part of your life. “I saw you on the subway the other day and tried to catch up to you, but it was too late, a bit of a metaphor for what we had”, her ex says at one point, and it hits her hard.
On the one hand, he wants her to get on, but his attachment to our star become patent when he comes out with statements like “I’m ready to turn the page, I could feel it the other day when I saw you. The train had left the station and I was ok continuing on without you”, and all we want is for him to break down crying for her again.
The major new proposal in these episodes is the ‘can’t live with you, can’t live without you’ syndrome. That Dog in the Manger we’ve all experienced at one time or another, that ego we have to keep in check, but don’t know how. But it’s not the only new element.
One’s profession as a double-edged sword
As an independent and empowered woman, Valeria prioritizes her work above all else (or so she would like to believe), so one of her biggest headaches always stems from the writing of her new novel.
Her latest dilemma comes with whether she should sign her name to her own work or not. “Escape by bus or with dignity in taxi”, is what she’s forced to decide as the publisher offers her a generous sum of money to write without it appearing to be her. But the reality is that that question goes much deeper and what she’s struggling with inside is whether her ego is worth more than her job.
A successful character construction as it mimics the one battling with that same ego when it comes to dealing with her ex: Do I cast aside my selfish interests and allow him to be free and happy or do I still want to have him eating from my hand and worshiping me? This is the same as, do I write to earn a living but without the recognition, or do I write to also feed my self-esteem?
More ‘Sex in Madrid’ complete with good calls and smugness
But Valeria isn’t returning alone. She’s back, together with her inseparable sidekicks Carmen, Lola and Nerea, each representing their own versions of Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, only somewhat more current. They remain loyal to their profiles already drawn up in the first episodes, only this time perhaps even a bit more pedantic… the dialogues that is, not the girls.
Their encounters are filled with fluent and stutter-free conversations with ideas so clear and speeches so spit-fired they’re hardly credible. Among friends, we like the freedom to waver, to doubt, and we like our friends to do the same; to get it wrong, to make mistakes and then analyze our mistakes. But they’re all such “little miss know-it-alls” that instead of giving advice, they appear more to be handing down sentence. The only one allowed to waver is Valeria who, perhaps for this very reason, comes across as the most human of all.
Of course, they should probably all be humming along to “Do as I say, not as I do”, as we observe how they might be able to ‘talk the talk’ but aren’t so hot when it comes to ‘walking the walk’. A feature we’ll be familiar with from the series starring Sarah Jessica Parker and also as happens in the real world. A pinch of truth to appeases the foregoing.
One of the more successful features in this new season are the nods to the 90’s of Ella Baila Sola, the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys. Those imaginary cat walks to choose an outfit for the next date, and the feminist chats about whether “wearing makeup is an option or an obligation for women.”
And of course, Valeria and her friends are back and are even more sexual than before. Completely liberated from men who aren’t protagonists of their lives, but neither are they secondary. Because they try, as best they can, to exercise a level of equality rarely achieved in fiction.