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Series / El Hormiguero

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Left to right: Pablo Motos, Barrancas, Petancas and Trancas.
Spanish comedy-variety-talk show hybrid hosted by Pablo Motos and a pair of purple ant muppets. It premiered on 2006 as a weekly Sunday afternoon show on Cuatro before becoming a Monday-to-Thursday prime time lead-in from its second season and channel hopping to Antena 3 in 2011, where it's still running.
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The usual structure of the show is as follows: Motos and the ants interview the celebrity guest of the day before a bunch of sections that can involve science experiments, magic tricks, and pretty much anything in between, ensue.

Tropes seen in this show:

  • 419 Scam: Pablo Motos once discussed live on the show what happened after he replied to an e-mail version of this. Long story short, his computer had been rendered useless.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The jury's still out on whether Barrancas is a male or a female.
  • Attention Whore: In 2012, the show introduced a third ant, Petancas, who constantly craves for the spotlight, has a habit of not letting Barrancas speak, and considers himself the real star of the show. This trait was progressively Flanderized until late 2016, when he was turned into a loud, obnoxious Donald Trump supporter after Trump's victory in the American presidential election. All of this Character Development was undone when the pro-Trump gimmick was shelved in the spring of 2017.
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  • The Big Damn Kiss: Flirty as Trancas is, it's not so surprising that he sometimes finds himself on the receiving end of these. To name just two, he was kissed by actress Nerea Barros (justified since he's voiced by Nerea's Real Life boyfriend Juan Ibáñez) and also got one from Cara Delevingne after proposing to her.
  • Big Eater: Petancas often talks about the huge meals he eats.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: Trancas and C.J. (who are explicitly stated to be father and son) sport unibrows, in a stark contrast to Petancas and Barrancas having No Brows.
  • Bottle Episode: Inverted with the episodes that are filmed outside the usual set in Madrid due to the guest not having enough time in their promotional tour to make it to Spain. London is the most recurring destination for these specials, but the show has also travelled to Paris and Berlin.
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  • Boy Band / Girl Group: During the 2013-2014 season, music producer and longtime El Hormiguero collaborator Carlos Jean held live castings on the show to form Boy Band Why Five and Girl Group Check Baby Check. Both bands flopped, but CBC alum Tamy Nsue would later find success as one third of Sweet California.
  • Crossdresser:
    • Enrique Pérez Vergara when playing Flipy's twin sister Flipa.
    • Juan Ibáñez and Damián Mollá can easily become Juana and Damiana, respectively, when required in their sketches. However, Juan's characterization never involved shaving his beard.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first two episodes didn't feature the usual celebrity interview.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "The Man in Black". Flipy referred to him this way on his first appearance, and it stuck.
  • Foreign Remake: The format has been adapted in Portugal, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil; however, none of the adaptations came even close to matching the success of the original. The rights have also been sold to China, where the science bit was made into a section in Happy Camp, and Will Smith has expressed interest in producing an American remake.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Comedy duo Los Morancos once hijacked the show in retaliation from all the pranks Pablo Motos had pulled on them in their previous visits.
  • Incoming Ham: As part of the character's Flanderization, music, dance and special lighting were incorporated into Petancas's entrance. After becoming a Trump supporter, he now comes out to the American anthem, which he "sings" (or rather simply says "Donald Trump" over and over again to the tune of the anthem).
    "DO-NALD-TRUMP-DO-NALD-TRUUUUMP, DO-NALD-TRUMP-DO-NALD-TRUUUUMP, DO-NALD-TRUUUUUUUUUMP...!!!"
  • Mad Scientist: In the early seasons, the science section was hosted by a character named Flipy, played by Enrique Pérez Vergara, who was a non-villainous version. Naturally complete with a white lab robe.
  • Meganekko: The show's newest collaborator, a Chinese girl called Yibing. She wears glasses, she's cute and is usually cheerful bordering on Adorkable... even if Pablo Motos says she looks like a Kill Bill character (refering to Gogo Yubari) when she takes them off.
  • Memetic Badass: Invoked by the ants on Pablo Ibáñez aka "The Man in Black", who tell downright Chuck Norris Facts-esque facts about him. According to them, Cesar Millan obeys him, he travels in a convertible submarine, women's cleavages stare at his eyes, and he can sneak into Freddy Krueger's dreams, just to name a few examples.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Noticeably averted with Anna Simon, who keeps popping up in rankings of Spain's sexiest women but was never seen in the show wearing any particularly revealing outfit. It was parodied when she tested live a "home-made" bath tub, and took off her white robe... to reveal an Old-Timey Bathing Suit under it.
  • Muppet: The show's had four, Trancas, Barrancas, Petancas and C.J.
  • The Musical: Motos and his crew sometimes do comedy musicals parodying movies. He justifies it saying that he does it for his mother, who understands the plot much better if it's in song and dance.
  • Punny Name: The abbreviation C.J. in Spanish is pronounced "cejota", which would be translated as "big eyebrow", and the baby ant sported a Big Ol' Unibrow on his eyes.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Trancas often shows a Casanova-like demeanor when the guest is a beautiful woman, while Barrancas is shown to be more introverted and shy, so Trancas would be the Manly Man to Barrancas's Sensitive Guy.
  • The Stoic: "The Man in Black" has never been seen smiling on air. David Guetta once tried to make him laugh, and failed miserably.
  • Take That!: On September 2017, Javier Cárdenas, who hosts a talk show on another station on the same slot as El Hormiguero, came under fire for giving voice to doubtful pseudo-scientific theories. A few days after the incident, Petancas ranted on El Hormiguero about how he believed cholesterol was an invention of pharmaceutical companies, and after Pablo Motos called him out for it, he said, "Hey, if Cárdenas can say what he feels like, so can I!"
  • Theme Naming: The two original ants, Trancas and Barrancas, get their names from the Spanish idiom "a trancas y barrancas", roughly meaning "in fits and starts".
  • The Unblinking: Invoked in the "International No-Blink Championship", where the guests are challenged to hold on without blinking for as long as possible. The current record holder is Spanish actor Imanol Arias at 7 minutes and 3 seconds.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Petancas, the show also introduced a fourth ant, Carlos Jesús (usually shortened to C.J.), a baby that was said to be Trancas's son. He hasn't been seen in quite a while.
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