‘Alternatino with Arturo Castro’ Review: Comedy Central’s Excellent New Sketch Series

IndieWire | 6/19/2019 | Staff
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“Alternatino” starts with a defining sketch in more ways than one. When a father (played by creator, writer, executive producer, and star Arturo Castro) hears his young son is going out with a female friend, the graying older gentleman tries to sit him down for “the talk.” Yet instead of imparting any knowledge onto the boy, the dad gets an overwhelming education of his own.

First off, the boy isn’t interested in girls, he’s interested in women. But he also knows he’s interested in women right now — he’s young, things change, gender is fluid. As the dad stutters and tries to regain his authority, his son presses on, talking about how sex is different for different people, trying to get his old man to define what kind of sex he’s talking about, and chastising him for describing ****-to-**** sex as “normal.”

Gag - Roles - Person - Father - Teen

The gag is simple: The roles are reversed, and the person in-the-know isn’t the wizened father but the hormonal teen. The execution, though, that’s one of the first elements to set the sketch, and the series, apart. From the timing of each cut, to the rhythm within the dialogue, to Castro’s committed, clever performance — at one point, the son asks what it means if there are “more” than two partners, and Castro’s head tilt and curious question, “More?” induces a fit of laughter all by itself — all of the elements are done well enough to elevate the opener above its easy set-up.

This isn’t the best sketch of the first season. It would be very difficult to pick just one, honestly, given how many prove memorable, insightful, and very, very funny. But what makes this scene the perfect starter is how it immediately positions Castro in a new light. He’s not the drug dealer from “Narcos” or the gay...
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