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Mucha Lucha

Author John Cech
Air Date 1/14/2004

Mucha Lucha Transcript

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You may not have heard of Mucha Lucha before, but it’s got to have the best music of any kids’ cartoon show currently (or maybe ever) on television — to judge by this theme song from the Chicos de Barrio — with its cumbia-rap Spanglish. It’s a welcome departure from the anime and the standard, predictable cartoon fare that’s on for kids today, though Mucha Lucha does tap into the same energy as The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack, and even some of the stylized shapings of Pokemon. There are some borrowings, too, from adult cartoons like Ren and Stimpy and The Simpsons, but these are more in terms sheer imaginative bravura than in actual content. This is, after all, Saturday morning fare on the WB, not late night on the Cartoon Network, even though the first season of the Mucha Lucha is being run there now.

The premise of Mucha Lucha is about as strange as that of most cartoon shows: three kid characters (Ricochet, Buena Girl, and the Flea) become young apprentices at a wrestling school in order to follow the tradition of masked Lucha Libre wrestling, which is wildly popular in Mexico and has been since the 1930s. It’s a fusion, one critic has written, of Cirque du Soleil withThe Three Stooges … Greek mythology, comic books, politics and plenty of testosterone. [It’s] as much an art as it is a sport.” 1 And, like American wrestling, it’s avidly followed by both adults and kids in Mexico.

That’s just a little of the background to the hybrid energies that are driving Mucha Lucha, and they are only the starting point for the kids’ adventures. There’s actually very little wrestling on the show — it’s more about (everything’s about!) Lucha attitude, which is as untranslatable as Mucha Lucha‘s complex, bi-lingual riffs. There’s a pulsing, joyful beat of wildly imagined diversity on Mucha Lucha, and it’s fusions like these that are dancing us, and our children, into the future:

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Brandt, Stacey.”Who Was that Masked Man. Daily Aztec. December 5, 2002.

Posted in Television