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Series / Los Simuladores

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"Why should you stop solving problems, when you know you have a gift for it?"

Los Simuladores (lit. "The Simulators", or more accurately "The Pretenders") is an Argentine TV series that ran for two seasons, from March 2002 to December 2003.

Los Simuladores 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 here.

Not related to The Pretender.

Los Simuladores provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Bad: Averted in that there is not a main villain of this series, and the stories gor for a more Villain of the Week format. The closest thing the series has to a Big Bad is Franco Milazzo, during season 2, and Marcos Molero.
  • 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.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Detective Molero to Franco Milazzo. He doesn't care a bit about how deathly could Milazzo be and how pissed off he is about this whole situation. Molero spends their entire scenes blatantly laughing at his face for being sent to the jungle by the team.
  • Catchphrase: 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.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: An underlying theme in many of their episodes, which also fits very well with that particular moment in Argentine history, and with many issues the country suffered (and still suffers): An abstent state, corrupt public officers, exploitative business, publicity over-saturaution, loan sharks, scammers, domestic abusers, Dirty cops, etc.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Constantly throught the whole series.
  • Cliffhanger: The original first season finale.
  • Con Man: A whole team of them. Siding with fairness, though.
  • Darker and Edgier: Most stories deal with daily problems, however, there are episodes which deal with bigger and significantly darker issues than the rest:
    • "Out of Calculation" (07x01): During a drill, Santos and Lamponne get involved in a bank robbery, and they have to deal with a group of murderous Dirty Cops.
    • "An Involuntary Job" (13x01): 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): The team infiltrates the FBI to free their fellow partners of the B-Brigade who were captured by U.S agents who mistook them for actual terrorists and brought them under prolonged interrogation and torture).
    • In the second season, there's the subplot 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.
  • Darkest Hour: Either 13x01 or 07x02 could qualify. In the first one, Santos is kidnapped and the team is forced to freed a corrupt public officer from a maximum security prison. In the second, the B-team is abducted by the FBI, and they are forced to travel to Washington D.C. to freed them. Both are the riskiest missions undertaken in the series (Im the first one, either they succeed or Santos dies. In the second one, either they succeed or the B-team spends the rest of their lives im Guantanamo (or, alternatively, they drag the FBI attention over the team). Both situations feature the highest stakes and risks of the whole series).
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The series' theme tune, Astor Piazzolla's "Cité Tango", is the same one the team uses as their ringtone.
  • 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".
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The reason why they decide to rescue the B-Brigade from the FBI headquarters. Any other choice would end up bad for everyone.
  • Film Noir: It has a lot of elements of this, the use of music (sometimes very smooth and jazzy), the ambiguous morality, the anti-heroes, the mysteries... Some episodes has a special feel of this genre;
    • "The Copernicus Pact" : The team bassicaly introduce the targets of the operative in a simulated Casablanca-like romantic film noir.
    • "An Involuntary Job" : This episode includes a kidnapping, an attempted escape from a maximum security prison, the clients here are the biggest assholes in the whole show; two cheap bastards petty mobsters who are responsible for many acts of corruption, and one of them involving the death of children.
    • "Rectoscopic Diagnosis": at least the first part of the episode that shows the predicament of Vanegas; he's threatened by a underworld loan shark that tells him that if he doesn't pay what he owes at the end of the week, the gangster's gonna kill his two kids. Unusually dark for this show, and this is already the second episode.
    • "Holiday Weekend": Oh boy Holyday Weekend... by far one of the darkest episodes. Here practically isn't a "simulation"; bassicaly, the team tries to solve a very turbid murder mystery.
    • "Z 9000": This has a comedic effect, but the setting and "plot" the team creates has a great sci-fi neo-noir feel.
    • In the second season, the subplot of Milazzo chasing the team plays this trope very straight.
    • Marcos Molero, a private detective hired by Milazzo. An alcoholic anti-hero who doesn't know that Milazzo plans to kill the team. It's a noir character 100%.
  • 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".
  • I Have Your Wife: Well, more like "I Have Your Leader": Santos is kidnapped by mobsters in the first season finale, forcing the team to unwillingly help them for free.
  • Karmic Trickster: In their way, they are this. They punish the bad guys, fix the dubious ones, and help the good ones.
  • The Matchmaker: The team act as this tn the very first episode.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Power Walk: The opening and closing credits. IN THE RAIN!
  • Product Placement: Very well integrated, mostly businesses and vehicles.
  • Reality Show: The guys arrange a fake, Survivor-like reality show to send one Villain of the Week 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 Coupled with quirky Day in the Life-style sequences from the other 3 guys.
  • 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 hell. 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.
  • Team Pet: Betún (Lamponne's dog) in the second season, an Almost Normal Animal.
  • Villain of the Week: The team has to perform drills on different characters across the episodes, some of them quite unsavory (and sometimes directly opposed to the team).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lamponne tends to this.
    • After "saving" the life of a (deceived) mobster, the thankful thugs 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.


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