Image Source: Getty / Medios y Media
Latin American TV is getting sexier than ever with the new original scripted series El Juego de las Llaves (The Game of Keys). This past week, Spanish-language streaming service Pantaya and Amazon Prime Video both debuted the first five episodes of this provocative half-hour series about sexual intimacy issues, long-term monogamy, and unfulfilled desires. Two more episodes will be added on Aug. 23, and the final three will be rolled out on Aug. 30.
Set in today's Mexico City, El Juego de las Llaves follows four friendly couples who are in stable relationships yet don't seem to be satisfied in their situations. Everything changes when the idea of swinging is introduced, and after some hesitation, they decide to venture into a game of sexual discovery that involves switching partners to spice up their love lives. Repercussions follow, and each character then must face the impact this decision has had on their relationship and on the way they approach their sexuality.
El Juego de las Llaves stars Maite Perroni, Humberto Busto, Marimar Vega, Sebastián Zurita, Horacio Pancheri, Fabiola Campomanes, Hugo Catalán, and Ela Velden. We spoke with Marimar and Horacio, who play Gaby and Valentin, a married couple who don't have children but treat their dog — played by Marimar's real dog, Chata — as one. While their relationship seems relatively chill compared to their other married friends with kids, they have to face different struggles that might bring them to reconsider their marriage.
The onscreen couple, who made their offscreen romance public earlier this month, got candid with us about topics that are still considered taboo in Latin America — but with shows like these, they can be discussed more freely and openly.
POPSUGAR: El Juego de las Llaves is a very avant-garde series for Latin American audiences. How do you think it will be received?
Marimar Vega: We're really not sure how people will receive it, but I think this is a subject that piques people's curiosity. It's still a fairly taboo topic, but the show is tackling it with a lot of humor, and I believe that will resonate with Latinx audiences, because we usually use humor to disguise uncomfortable situations or talks. I do think the show is the perfect mix of that humor and talking about a subject that's very current, touching on the real marital problems the couples of our generation are having, and how we navigate our sexuality.
PS: Have you ever had any issues in the past talking about your fantasies or desires with your significant others?
MV: I would say yes. I do come from a very liberal, open-minded family, where everything was addressed appropriately. Even so, we do live in a society where there's a lot of guilt and judgment associated to expressing your sexual desires, so that has unfortunately influenced me in the past.
Horacio Pancheri: I feel like growing up in Argentina really taught me that women and men are equal and there's no need to mask your fantasies or desires. However, I can be very open with my partner and talk about those things behind closed doors with her, but that doesn't mean that I have to go share my partner with someone else, or that she has to share me with another person.
PS: This is the first time we actually get to see a Latin American show about swingers. What was the biggest challenge for both of you when creating your characters, Gaby and Valentin?
HP: Not judging the character for playing these types of games. If you ask me, personally, I wouldn't do a "game of keys" where I'd go home with the person whose key I randomly pick from a bowl. I don't agree with it. So, from that point of view, it was a big challenge. However, when I was approached to do this, I put all judgment aside and dug into it so it would look as real and convincing as possible.
MV: I think that in my case, the biggest challenge was having a half-hour series with eight characters. You have very little time to present your character, give them their personality, and make people really see the history behind them. I think that was the biggest challenge for all, to really build the relationships, the marriages, and make the audiences feel like they really know the characters and their universe based on the few scenes they had on screen.
PS: How do you bring to the screen the issues a married couple without children face?
MV: I loved the fact that our characters didn't have kids. I really identify a lot with having a dog and treating her like a child. But in the end, I do think that the root of one of their biggest problems is becoming parents or not. Eventually, this is a conversation that all couples who have been together for a significant amount of time will have. If they can't get on the same page about it, then it's going to become a huge issue. As much as Gaby is cool with not having kids at the moment, it's going to become a major problem if Valentin avoids it forever. Motherhood is such a complex topic, especially among women of my generation, and hopefully by touching on it on the show, it will fuel a bigger conversation to destigmatize whatever decision a woman makes about it in the end.
PS: Speaking about treating your dog like a child, how was it to share the screen with la Chata?
MV: It was awesome! She's sitting here next to me, and if she could talk, she'd definitely be leading this interview. It was beautiful, really. La Chata is such a big part of my life, and being able to have her there with me was incredible. However, I think she had more fun working with Horacio — she's in love with him! But overall it was great. She behaved so well, and every time I see her on screen, it fills my heart with joy.
PS: Now that the show is available for all to see, what are your thoughts about it?
MV: I think a series like this one was long overdue, and it's really cool that we, as actors, can be a part of this project and bring something new, risky, and high quality to the table. We all feel so lucky to be a part of El Juego de las Llaves.