11 Nov, 2009 @ 15:15
2 mins read

Don’t let ‘Pepsi’ die

IT has been one of the most successful Spanish dramas of all time.

Los Hombres de Paco, now in its seventh series, is watched around the world in countries as diverse as Serbia, New Zealand and Taiwan.

But when its producers decided to write out its popular lesbian policewoman Silvia in a violent end, they had no idea they would face such a strong backlash.

“Don’t kill Silvia, please!” “Bring Silvia back.” “Silvia, forever.” These were just some of the messages posted on YouTube, alongside others in Swedish, Italian and even Japanese.

They form part of an online movement to persuade producers to resurrect the gay female character, played by Marian Aguilera, who was shot in the last episode of the series that ended this summer.

In an extremely violent twist on a show with more than its fair share of bloody finales, Silvia was butchered as she married her partner Pepa (Laura Sánchez) at an idyllic Italian wedding.

Since then, a popular movement has been orchestrated by the followers of “Pepsi,” the acronym formed from the couple’s first names.

Coming out of the US, it was started by the blog AfterEllen.com, which is dedicated to highlighting how lesbian and gay couples are portrayed by the media.

“We have no words to express the emotional impact that Silvia, Pepa and their love story has had on our lives,” reads the ad, which was paid for by money collected via the online movement.

After a post on one of the site’s forums discussed the “romantic” treatment of the lesbian couple in the show, interest in Pepsi really took hold.

As one blogger explained: “It was about time that a television programme showed a relationship between two women in such a poetic and romantic way.”

The website soon put up a link to the Antena 3 website and in turn this led to the creation of a You-Tube channel called Pepsienglishy, where the show could be viewed with subtitles in several different languages.

The fans’ crusade reached its climax this month, when supporters from more than 50 countries paid to take out an advert in national paper El Pais, thanking the actresses for their work.

“We have no words to express the emotional impact that Silvia, Pepa and their love story has had on our lives,” reads the ad, which was paid for by money collected via the online movement.

“Pepsi is superior to the portraits of female lovers because it is unique, realistic and positive, and above all, because it gives us hope,” it continued.

Its producers are adamant however that the plot will not be changed.

This was largely to do with actress Aguilera, who had been on the show since 2005, needing “a change of scene”, said executive producer Alex Pina.

Already working on new material for the eighth season, which airs in January, he admitted though, how shocked he was with the outcry over her TV death.

“We were blown away. The amount of letters and emails that we have received from Brazil, the US, Serbia, Colombia, New Zealand and Taiwan has been incredible,” he said.

The show is geared around a demoted police comissioner (Paco) and his squad. Among them were forensic expert Silvia and fellow cop Pepa, both of whom had complicated family relations.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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  1. worldwide economic crisis, world hunger, children dying, on the edge of WW III, global warming, diseases rampant……..and the PEPSI issue is so important

  2. Actually, positive mass media representation is VITALLY important to minorities. PepSi as they were known was one of the only positive representations of a lesbian relationship in the entire world. That is precisely why they had a large WORLDWIDE following. I would like to point out that one of the primary reasons for the outcry was because of the way Silvia was killed off. The show purposely employed some of the worst lesbian cliches known in cinema history to amp up ratings. Thank you for covering this in your English language paper but your article kinda misses the forest for the trees.

    Additionally, just because people show concern about media representation does not mean we do not work hard on other ‘more important’ issues of our day.

  3. I live in Auckland, New Zealand and I love Pepsi – thanks to Pepsi English on youtube! I can understand the writer’s position if the actres wants to move on to different projects but they didn’t have to kill her at her own wedding! Leave the plot open, let them sail into the sunset and let out imaginations take over would’ve been fine.

  4. i live in india,thangs to pepsi english on youtube.this two carecters teach me what is love,and how to express your love..my request to the director plz restart the new season…with silvia..plz..love u pepsi..

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