Review of “Manes”: the Series that Wants to Show that All Men Are Not the Same

The new Colombian Prime Video series shows us different types of men, but its development falls short of its premise. This is our review of "Manes".

Poster of the series 'Manes'

Photo: Prime Video

LatinAmerican Post | July Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: Reseña de “Manes”: la serie que quiere demostrar que todos los hombres no son iguales

27 years ago, the Colombian screenwriter Mónica Agudelo gave life to "Hombres", a novel starring Margarita Rosa de Francisco and which was recognized for its dialogues that responded to current events and reality. The new Prime Video production "Manes" was based on this novel, in the Latin American country, released on February 15 and which has been well received by the public. Here we tell you a little about this new series.

What Is "Manes" About?

In the series set in Bogotá we follow the story of Antonia, a woman who, after breaking off her engagement, decided to return to the country and get a job there; and Julián, the CEO of a startup who finds it hard to commit and maintain stable relationships. Antonia and Julián cross paths by pure chance, and from that moment begins a love story that is overwhelmed by the comings and goings of the plot.

In the middle of the romance between the two protagonists, we meet the other secondary characters, who are mostly men. From these characters we see different types of mens; the one who married and had children very young, the single father who now dates much younger women, the macho, the dog, the "friendzoned", etc.

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A Simple Series with Some Pretensions

Broadly speaking, the series has a very simple premise, that of any production of the rom-com or romantic comedy genre. It even meets some clichés of this genre: the protagonist's gay friend serving as comic relief, the protagonist's best friend who at first seems to be her partner, past relationships intervening in the new one, the father who opposes that his daughter is with the protagonist and the wealthy mother who, after an infidelity on the part of her husband, falls in love with a young man who has never done well with women.

In that sense, “Manes” is not very innovative and even passes for a cliché. And it is that despite the fact that the series is sold as a production that wants to show that there is much more to the stereotypes of men, it falls short in doing so and even reinforces those stereotypes. Several media have stated that the series reflects on masculinities from a feminine perspective. However, it is enough to say that the series was neither directed nor written by a woman (despite the fact that it was based on Agudelo's original scripts) and that the narration of the series is not written by a woman to understand that said gaze feminine does not exist beyond the scenes in which we learn the opinions of the women who appear in the series.

In addition, the development of the characters is focused on Julián and Antonia, so we don't get to know these other “manes” very well and their development is limited by a reinforcement of stereotypes. What's more, it seems that what the series seeks is to excuse those stereotypes that have consequences in real life in the fact that they are people with problems and that, therefore, they cannot behave otherwise, such as the macho he is macho because he is a gay man who has not come out of the closet.

“Manes” fell very short when it came to demonstrating what it claims to be, and the production, performances, and direction did not stand out much either.

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