On the set of NBC's newest crime drama, Law and Order: Filthy Scumbags, Tomas Alvarez sat and sipped some Earl Grey tea with his pinky up. The gang tattoos that crawl up and down his arms were busily being touched up by the show's make-up crew. Tomas, a classically trained Shakespearean actor, has added to his lengthy television and film credits this past year. "2009 has been one busy year. I was Dead Thug #4 in NBC's Southland pilot, Scowling Drug Dealer #2 on an episode of House, Inmate #26 on Prison Break." He stopped to sip his tea, then continued, "I played Simba in the Lakeside Mall production of The Lion King, and I almost had the role of skilled Mexican-American heart surgeon Jose Tobasco on an upcoming Fox medical drama, Arterial Damages. That was before they cast Ashton Kutcher and renamed the character Joey Basco. So, all-in-all I'm living the dream."
Entertainment Weekly bestowed on him the coveted Minorities to Watch Award, which, unfortunately, contrary to how it may sound, warns those in the industry to keep an eye on their personal effects when Alvarez is on the set. "I take it as the highest honor. Clearly I'm so convincing at playing these roles that women fear me and clutch their purses and producers count every fork and spoon at the craft services table."
El Guapo is a creature of habit. Thursdays he likes to do laundry as he watches novelas. And because he is trying to go green, he pulls up the hamper and uses his washboard abs as, well, a washboard. Although, truth be told, if he’s not incredibly careful, a whole basket of laundry can be ruined and shredded to ribbons by his symmetrical, jagged abdomen. But, invariably, just as he gets started, the doorbell rings and interrupts his domestic work and novelas. On this particular day, the scientists over at the eljumpingbean offices, the pencil-pushers who are locked in the boiler room with paperclips and Bunsen burners and who are fed some gray gruel, showed up excitedly at his door with modifications made to Rosinante (El Guapo’s ever-loyal lowrider) making it the first car converted to run off pure guaponess. Provided that this is quite the revolutionary achievement, the pocket protector wearing crew received an extra helping of gruel and a congratulatory pat on the head and were sent back from whence they came.
And just as your Guapo was getting back to his novela (and mind you it was getting good – at this juncture some scantily clad woman was smacking a burly man who wore a prominent 80’s porno mustache and threw sinister looks at the camera), the doorbell rang again. El Guapo’s pudgy neighbor, Pancho Sanza, arrived with the irate, befuddled look that is permanently etched onto his face, like one of those huge Olmec heads, like he’s angrily trying to determine the origin of a fart. Apparently, Pancho, an aspiring thespian, had gone to a commercial audition for a role described as “the guy next door” and actually being the guy next door, he figured he had it in the bag. At the gate however, a leathery blonde woman with a clipboard eyed him up and down like he had stepped in something foul and refused him admittance. To El Guapo, this underscored the dire need for some cultural code cracking:
Boy/guy/girl next door OR All-American
= Not you. Unless, of course, you are blonde and look like you stepped out of an Abercrombie and Fitch ad.
Example: “Reese Witherspoon, the pre-eminent girl next door (or all-American girl), has just wrapped her latest film, co-starring the spicy firecracker, Salma Hayek.”
= having to do with areas, activities, and other related issues connected to people of any collective hue darker than the beige crayola in the box.
Example: “Due to the fact that he went to an urban high school, little Antonio is functionally illiterate and enjoys stabbing others with rusty blades.”
= there’s a black or brown person present or referred to
Example: “This party is diverse as hell. Look, there’s Maria, she’s ½ Guatemalan and ½ Kenyan. Sweet, it’s like the UN in here.”
= demonstrating (or at least feigning) an appreciation or inclusion of interests of other cultures.
Example: “Bro, I love tacos. They make me culturally aware…and they taste dandy.”
If perchance El Guapo overlooked something, please bring it to his attention.
Your handsome and humble servant,