The United Stateshas Saturday Night Live, Argentina invented Caiga quien caiga and Cuba broadcasts Vivir del Cuento on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. through Cubavision. At present, it is the TV show with the highest audience rate (96%) in the country (but, where the hell did the remaining four per cent go to?).
The popularity of Vivir del Cuentois already certified by winning an award as Cuba’s Most Popular TV show by a contest carried out by another TV show Enter Tu y Yo.
Most Cubans, used to cutting down names to save time, refer to it as “Panfilo”, which is the name of the main character interpreted by actor Luis Silva.
Every Monday evening this witty eighty-year-old men wonders about or answers different polemics on delicate issues such as dual currency or current economic reforms.
In about 25 minutes, the show satirizes daily life in Cuba, a new business that doesn’t seem to prosper, an absurd situation resulting from the current legislation or any kind of trouble Panfilo and his friend Chequera only just walk out from, not to talk about the frequent references to and contrasts withthe 80’s.
Without mincing his words, Panfilo has commented news from the Granma newspaper, holding a sample in his hand, trying to findan explanation for the fact that thousands cattle died from starvation in Villa Clara province, in a country where there is shortage of cow milk and beef.
The actors and the staff not only aim at making spectators laugh, but also aim at giving elements for making people reflect about what’s going on in their country. “It is a space of situations and that’s the challenge, to make comedy out of those situations so that people have fun with them and reflect about them as well”, explained the director of the show to the Cuban News Agency (ACN by its acronym in Spanish) after receiving the award.
Vivir del Cuento is about heroic deeds, even beyond thecraftiness and intentional ambiguity of its scripts. This journalist recalls the reaction of a professor during a television course, who noted he didn’t use to watch the program, but he had to the day “they got a cow in the studio”. He said it in amazement, the same feeling with which he had fun watching Panfilo and Chequera take care of the poor animal, in that hilarious Cuba on both sides of the TV screen.