"Why should you stop solving problems, when you know you have a gift for it?"Los Simuladores
is one of Argentina
's greatest TV shows (having a 9.4/10 rating on IMDB.com
), with excelent acting, outstanding scripts, and awesome production. Also, you probably never heard of it
Los Simuladores (lit: The Simulators
, or more accurately The Pretenders
) are four-man secret organization that can "solve all kinds of problems"... for a fee. And no, they're not the bad guys.
This group helps people who are desperately in need, by doing something they call drills
(lit: simulations - hence the group's name
) which involve complex plans
that one way or another solve the problem. This may or may not involve deceiving the person with said problem, and always
involves deceiving a whole bunch of other people.
The sufferings of the person in need range from "owning money to the mob" to "having to introduce your family to your future in-laws", but could still ruin their life. Then some former client has to tell him/her how to contact Los Simuladores, who in turn will see if his/her problem is worth their time. Said person is usually charged a huge sum of money for the drill
(twice the costs), but the group is willing to help those who can't pay it. Also, since those people are now in debt with Los Simuladores, they might have to provide help in future drills
, which is an awesome resource of continuity nods
A comedic action/adventure show with moments of psychological drama, it is a cult series
in Argentina. You can see the article (which is really complete) on The Other Wiki
Not related to The Pretender
Los Simuladores provides examples of the following tropes:
- Air-Vent Passageway: to help a boy pass an Apathetic Teacher's one-mistake-and-you're-screwed exam.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: The team has a plan to make them look likable.
- Asshole Victim
- Badass Normal: If they aren't, they pretend so.
- Balanced Harem: Ravenna in the second season, altough it isn't a major plot in the series. He lives with three beautiful (and highly intellectual) women, who are deeply in love with him. However, he seems not to have the same feelings for them.
- Bank Robbery: They help foil it (and the commissioner's plan to silence the crooks).
- Batman Gambit
- Bavarian Fire Drill
- Bittersweet Ending: At the very end of the series, Lamponne organized a meeting where, for the first time, they opened up emotionally to each other. Consequently, the group decided to separate and stop their activities until further notice. Medina couldn't help expressing his feelings, eventually he breaks into tears after telling his fellows, one by one, that he loves them. Much to Lamponne's shame, of course.
- The Bully: The team helps a young comic-book lover resist one.
- Catch Phrase: All by Mario Santos:
- Stay calm
- Be punctual and go alone
- Comes in 3, 2, 1...
- Got a light?
- First, we plan an operative. Then we make a budget for it and you would pay exactly the double, for logistics and labor.
- Celebrity Impersonator: The guys pick two Paul McCartney impersonators (one look-alike and one sound-alike) to help a woman leave her post-divorce depression. Hopefully she'll never find out about having given a blowjob to a lucky butcher.
- Chekhov's Gun: Subverted. Through the entire second season, one of the members of the secondary brigade wears a black glove on his left hand. When asked about it in the finale, he just answers he hadn't realised the other glove was missing.
- Cleopatra Nose: Maybe one of the reasons why Ravenna is so popular with women.
- Cliffhanger: The original first season finale.
- Con Artists (siding with fairness, though)
- Continuity Porn
- Credits Jukebox: The closing credits feature real songs which are related to each episode. The song for the first Season Finale is "The Great Pretender".
- Dark and Troubled Past: Santos
- Darker and Edgier: Most stories deal with daily problems, however, there are episodes which deal with bigger and significantly darker issues than the rest:
- "An Involuntary Job" (13x01, in which the team is hired by a mobster who wants to free his partner from jail, responsible for the deaths of children in meal centers by buying spoiled food, and Santos decides not to take the case, only to be stabbed in the leg and kidnapped, to force the rest of the team to work against their will, or else Santos would be executed).
- "The B Brigade" (07x02, where the team infiltrates the FBI to free their fellow partners of the B Brigade who where captured by U.S agents who took them for actual terrorists and brought them under prolonged interrogation and torture).
- In the second season, there's the B plot of Milazzo trying to find the four protagonists to get revenge for what they did to him in "The Last Hero". Altough the second season has lots of comedy, there are small segments showing Milazzo and his tireless search for the team, all this in a very dark tone with noir/thriller elements.
- The fate of the original Máximo Cozzetti (which name Ravenna uses as a pseudonym), who's in a mental hospital believing there's a Soviet robot out there to kill him.
- Dirty Cops: Both authentic and fake.
- Dub Name Change: OK, this trope only applies fully for the Russian version, but...
- In Mexico, Ravenna is called Vargas, and Lamponne is called López.
- In Spain, Ravenna is called Jota, and Lamponne is called León.
- In Chile, Lamponne is called Lorca, and Mario Santos is called Ernesto Santos.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The final episode of the Argentine version is called... Final Episode.
- Foreign Remake: For Chile, Mexico and Spain. Oh, and there is one remake for Russia as well, called Kings of the Game.
- Jerkass: generally the victims of the drills, like in "The Last Hero", "The Spanish Witness", "Unemployment Insurance", "Z 9000" or "The Social Debilitator".
- Four-Man Band:
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking
- I Have Your Leader: Santos is kidnapped by mobsters in the first season finale, forcing the team to unwillingly help them for free.
- The Matchmakers: In the very first episode.
- No Export for You: Not only it was never translated to English, but it was barely exported to other Spanish-speaking countries (no one knows why). Instead, remakes were made.
- Once an Episode: Santos gets his cigar lit up just after a plan is sucessful (usually by an unsuspecting victim or a client). With a few crucial exceptions.
- Our (Fake) Vampires Are Different
- The Plan
- Picky Eater: Cultured and refined people may have selective tastes in food, but Santos takes this to the extreme. The only tea he drinks is Earl Grey, and his water must be non-carbonated and sodium-free, among other quirks. But he's picky not only with food, but aestethically too. When he works on a plan, he's specific at such extremes as the type of wood and style of the chairs he sits on and the format and recording company of the music he listens to.
- The Power Of Music: Frequently used to trigger mental states and emotions in unsuspecting "victims".
- Power Walk IN THE RAIN!: The opening and closing credits.
- Product Placement: Very well integrated, mostly businesses and vehicles.
- Pseudonym / Nom de Guerre: In the simulations, the guys use names taken from their past victims (like "Máximo Cozzetti", always used by Ravenna), or even names from the show's crew (like "Juan Carlos Cabral").
- In the second season we learn that Mario Santos' name is a pseudonym too. His real name is Francisco de Aguirre.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Astor Piazzolla's "Cité Tango", which the team uses as their ringtone.
- Reality Show: The guys arrange a fake, Survivor-like reality show to send certain antagonist to the jungle, living for himself for one full year. Then he returns and they deceive him again by sending him to kill Osama bin Laden.
- Refuge in Audacity: The script calls for occasional gay kisses or blowjobs.
- Regular Caller: Santos
- Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Could apply in the very last episode. First we got the conclusion of Milazzo's story arc; a thriller/suspense plot where he is determined to take revenge on the team. The opening scene is quite intense with a creepy atmosphere, flashbacks, distorted sounds. Milazzo is not only a very inmoral guy, he's very skilled with weapons and martial arts (what makes him extremely dangerous too) and because of the team, he's erased from existence; he doesn't have an identity, home or belongings, and of course he's pissed as fuck. But this story doesn't last too much, really; once the team gets rid of him (again), the episode goes through a tone shift, becoming a comedic Christmas special which deals with family ties and nostalgic childhood memories. This does not mean it is bad, in fact, is an excellent episode and great series finale.
- Special Edition Title: The series finale.
- Starfish (Fake) Aliens
- Team Pet: Betún (Lamponne's dog) in the second season, an Almost Normal Animal.
- The War on Terror: Terror Alert Level ranging between Blue and Yellow.
- Those Wacky (Fake) Nazis
- What the Hell, Hero?: Lamponne tends to this.
- After "saving" the life of a (deceived) mobster, the thankful wiseguys offer repaying the favor to him (who's disguised as a doctor). He asks them to have a talk with the sexually harrassing boss of his girlfriend.
- In the second season, after hearing about a particularly gross case of domestic violence, he asks "But didn't she cheat on him?" Cue collective Stunned Silence. "...What's the matter? I'm just asking, not justifying it!"
- Later, he finds a man who bullied him in middle school and points a gun to his head. A "BANG" flag gun just to scare him, but still the guy didn't know it.
- The B-brigade sub-leader tells Santos about a male kindergarten teacher who beats the kids. Santos considers the case's not worth a plan, and instead he sends a Big Guy nicknamed "Satan" to threaten him.