“Los periodistas no solo tenemos que pensar en informar sino también en que la información pase como el agua.” – Samanta Villar
As journalists we don’t just have to think about reporting, but also that the information goes down like water. –Samanta Villar
I’m always on the look out for TV series from Spain that I can stream for free from the U.S. 21 días is a non-scripted show about a Spanish journalist Samanta Villar who would spend twenty one days straight trying to replicate various circumstances, such as being homeless or having an eating disorder. I had never heard of this show until just a few months ago, but I’m told by my Spanish tutor that it was a big hit in Spain. It ran on Telecinco and now past episodes are available at MiTele.es.
The show presents itself as investigative journalism, but since its host also serves as its lead protagonist, there’s some serious reality TV kitsch as well. There are a fake REC button and viewfinder graphics that surround Samanta as she delivers her heartfelt monologues to the camera. There also appears to be fake time code on screen that jumps in time, and this distracted me completely. I found myself wondering whether the time code changed due to a cut or whether all the time code was bogus to begin with.
However, I did find watching episodes of this series helpful for learning new vocabulary and for hearing Spanish as spoke by people with different levels of education and socioeconomic standing. Samanta also uses colloquial turns of phrase when describing her emotions, so there is some good learning to be had there as well.
All in all, it isn’t a favorite of mine, but that is because I don’t enjoy this kind of stunt journalism in general. Nevertheless, if your Spanish is at a high intermediate to advanced level, and you are willing to take for what it is, this TV series from Spain could be a great way to improve your Spanish listening comprehension. Find free complete episodes here.
The lead quote for this post came from this June 2010 interview with Samanta Villar. Here she speaks about her experience doing 21 días and her then-upcoming project that followed 21 días, the Spanish TV series Conexión Samanta.
I found Conexión to be more serious and less sensational. The episode “Mucho más que un vientre de alquiler” (Much More than a Womb for Rent) was particularly interesting. Check out Conexión Samanta episodes here.
Please note there are no English subtitles available on MiTele, so it will force you get your Spanish neurons firing!