Raise your hand if you love Hispanic stars on TV! In a world where people spend a lot of time watching television shows each day, it can be easy to grow attached to certain characters that exist on the small screen. Recent reports show that the average U.S. consumer spends an average of 168 minutes watching TV each day. And that number doesn’t take into account all those hours you spend (slash waste) binge-watching TV shows on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu. When you take into account those viewing formats, “the average American now watches 3 hours and 21 minutes of TV per day on the weekend, and 2 hours and 36 minutes per day during the week, according to the Washington Post, citing the latest American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor statistics.” Damn.
Considering how much time we spend with our favorite fictional TV characters,
it makes perfect sense that we feel a sense of attachment to them, almost as if they are a friend that exists in reality, not just on our TV screen. And while we know that in reality, these characters are fictional, we still wish that we could have them over for cocktails or know they have our back when times get tough. Here are 8 fictional Latino TV characters that not only bust open Hispanic stereotypes, but whom we also wish existed in our lives.
1. Carla Espinoza, Scrubs Scrubs is one of our all-time favorite sitcoms, mostly because of the incredible bromance between the stars JT and Turk (played by Zach Braff and Donald Faison—real life BFFs by the way). But the real star of the show was Carla, Turk’s love interest and ultimately wife, who was so feisty, so sassy, so smart and so independent that you can’t help be adore her. She was always ready with a quick comeback or insult, she kept the entire hospital in line and she had her friends’ backs, no matter what.
2. Gloria Delgado Pritchett, Modern Family We have to start with one of the funniest characters ever (Latina or otherwise) who stars on TV’s hottest comedy. Gloria Delgado Pritchett, played by the brilliant Sofia Vergara, is funny, loud, hysterical, and has zero shame. She is proud of her heritage, proud of who she is, and isn’t afraid to flaunt what she’s got. We love her confidence and her unwavering love and support for her family.
3. Dayanara Diaz, Orange Is The New Black Sure, she’s a prison inmate with a complicated history and a series of dysfunctional relationships, but Daya, played by Dascha Polanco, has heart and ambition, despite her circumstances and some poor decisions in her past. We’re not saying we wish we could be in prison with her, but we have to celebrate a character with good intentions and a good heart.
4. Betty Suarez, Ugly Betty In a show that was about celebrating your inner beauty, Betty Suarez was the perfect lead character. She was good-hearted, kind, funny, incredibly smart and really determined to achieve her goals, even if others doubted her abilities because of her looks. We could all use a little of Betty’s bravery and confidence.
5. Ricky Ricardo, I Love Lucy Ricky, perhaps the king of Hispanic stars, played by Desi Arnaz, was the funny leading man on I Love Lucy, one of the most successful sitcoms ever on TV. Ricky was hysterical, entertaining and an incredibly talented musician. He was really likable and easy to relate to, and his relationship with his wife (on screen and in real life) Lucy gave viewers #relationshipgoals long before the hashtag existed. The best part is, we don’t have to wish Ricky excited in real life, because he did. The character was based largely on Desi and Lucy’s real life, which made him so much more fun to watch.
6. Dora the Explorer If you have children, or you’ve been anywhere near small kids in the past 10 years or so, you probably know Dora the Explorer. You probably can’t stand the theme song, and if you hear the term “Swiper no swiping” one more time you might scream. But this educational show was groundbreaking when it first came our, and the bilingual heroine Dora has helped kids learn Spanish as they join her on problem-solving adventures. Dora always works to solve the problem with the help of her friends, and we kinda wish a real-life Dora would be our side-kick when we need a helping hand.
7. Rickie Vazquez, My So Called Life It doesn’t really matter that this show was only on the air for one measly season (19 episodes to be exact). The characters were so real and made such an impact that we’ll never forget them. Especially Rickie Vazquez, Angela’s gay best friend who spoke to our soul on more than one occasion. He displayed unwavering loyalty to the people he loved, and we could only hope to have a friend like that in our lifetime.
8. Santana Lopez, Glee Gorgeous, talented, complicated, honest (sometimes to a fault) and really confident, Santana Lopez was arguably the best character on Glee. She was super sassy, used her Spanish at the exact right times to put people in their place, and was absolutely hysterical, even when she said nothing at all.