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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Alpha Males’ On Netflix, Where Four Men Struggle With The Strong Women In Their Lives

It’s always funny to show men being sexist pigs, right? A lot of shows get the idea of the piggish guy wrong, though, showing manchildren who won’t lift a finger around the house or true chauvanists whose views on women are stuck in the 1950s. A new Spanish comedy tries to show four men who aren’t complete pigs but certainly have trouble keeping up with the women in their lives.

ALPHA MALES: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening Shot: Four men speak up at a seminar that at first feels like it’s from a 12-step program, and they all say “I’m a sexist.” Well, two of them do. One says, “apparently I’m a sexist” The fourth one walks out.

The Gist: The four friends — Luis (Fele Martínez), Raúl (Raúl Tejón), Santi (Gorka Otxoa) and Pedro (Fernando Gil) — are at a seminar about “deconstructing sexist pigs”, and they’re all there reluctantly.

Six months earlier, Pedro walks into his job as head of programming for a cable network when his boss tells him that he’s being replaced; the new programmer is a woman, in the CEO’s hope that the network appeals to a younger, less male demographic. He tells his girlfriend Daniella (María Hervás) that he quit. In order to help pay for their new huge house, Daniella decides to become a social media influencer.

Santi walks into his flat to find that his teenage daughter Álex (Paula Gallego) has decided to move in with him, leaving his ex Bianca (Cayetana Cabezas) furious. She then proceeds to set her single dad up on Tinder.

Raúl breaks up with his married sex buddy Carmen (María Castro) in order to ask his girlfriend Luz (Kira Miró) to marry him; he’s about to surprise her with the ring in some fondant, when she proposes they have an open relationship. On the other end of the spectrum, Luis’ wife Esther (Raquel Guerrero) is completely unsatisfied with his lack of sex drive and when Luis tries to bring toys into the bedroom, it doesn’t go well.

All of the men’s issues with the women in their lives come to a head during a dinner party at Pedro’s house, which is also where Álex told Santi’s Tinder date to meet him. Let’s just say she was greeted with a lot of yelling and a man not ready to go out on a date.

Alpha Males
Photo: MANUEL FIESTAS/NETFLIX

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Alpha Males (Original title: Machos Alfa) gives off a vibe similar to Men Of A Certain Age, though the middle-aged men in this series are a bit more piggish.

Our Take: When we say the men of Alpha Males are piggish, we do that with the caveat that their piggishness is more of a function of being left behind by changing gender dynamics and not because they’re jerks. That’s what series creators Alberto Caballero and Laura Caballero are trying to communicate here. All four friends have their degree of male blind spots and have trouble dealing with the women in their lives being the strong, assertive people they are.

None of the four male characters are inherently funny on their own, which is why the situations the Caballeros put them in need to be both absurd and true at the same time, like when their son’s teacher shows them the vibrator he found and brought to class. Instead of Esther being chagrined, she basically upbraids the teacher for being young and single and not middle-aged, horny and desperate for some sparks with her husband. That kind of absurdity works because we’ve already established how frustrated Esther is and how nonplussed about the whole thing Luis is.

What we’re also enjoying is that these friends — with the exception of Santi, who is probably the most beta of the supposed alpha males in the title — are getting something resembling comeuppance. We saw what happened with Luis. Pedro thinks he can lie to Daniella about his job, but when she finds out the truth, she goes deeper into her plan of becoming a well-paid influencer. And the open relationship bomb that Luz drops on Raúl is one of the best examples of how these guys need to adjust to what they see as something new.

The crux of the series is going to be whether this is really going to be something new or if it’s just life continuing apace, with the four men struggling to adjust. It’s why we took a bit of an exception to how the series’ press notes call the female characters “empowered;” from what we can see, they had the upper hand in their relationships the entire time, and it’s now time for the men of the show to come to terms with it and act accordingly. If that’s the case here, it should make for a more interesting series.

Sex and Skin: Carmen is nude after having sex with Raúl, but it’s subtle.

Parting Shot: After the dinner party disaster, the four men sit by Pedro’s pool. Luis jumps in with his clothes on, thinking the other three will follow suit. Not only does he realize that the pool isn’t heated, he’s also annoyed when his friends just shake their heads and go inside.

Sleeper Star: Raquel Guerrero has a fun bit of physical comedy as Esther, when she has to put her kids back to bed with the vibrator still inserted in her rear end.

Most Pilot-y Line: When Pedro tells Daniela about quitting his job, and how creative this will make him, she says “I’ve become a soccer player’s wife!” Maybe she’s referring to the up and down income or the fact that some players hold out hope to latch onto a team for a long time before finally retiring. Not sure.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Alpha Males is just funny enough to keep us watching, especially as the men in the cast find themselves increasingly powerless with regards to how the women in their lives assert themselves.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.

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