Q&A: IM­TIAZ ALI

The dys­func­tional fam­ily of Net­flix’s House of Flow­ers makes for ad­dic­tive TV

India Today - - INSIDE -

DDys­func­tional fam­i­lies make for good tele­vi­sion. Dig deep enough into a seem­ingly per­fect fam­ily and there’s a Pan­dora’s box of drama to un­cover—from the hy­per­sex­ual For­rester fam­ily of The Bold and the Beau­ti­ful to the san­skaari Vi­rani fam­ily of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

The Span­ish-lan­guage drama La Casa de las Flores (House of Flow­ers) by Manolo Caro, which de­buted on Net­flix (Au­gust 10), takes the clas­sic trope and runs with it. The se­ries re­volves around the De La Mo­ras, a high so­ci­ety Mex­i­can fam­ily runs a suc­cess­ful flower shop. Like Nar­cos, the show was filmed in Latin Amer­ica.

The open­ing few min­utes set up the story: the hus­band’s mistress hangs her­self in the flower shop on his birth­day. She leaves be­hind two chil­dren, a let­ter for the wife, and lots of chaos. For the view­ers, Roberta re­turns from the grave as a nar­ra­tor.

The fam­ily strug­gles to deal with the be­trayal, while try­ing to keep up­ap­pear­ances. The sto­ry­line segues into smaller sub­plots, deal­ing with dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters— the for­eign-re­turned daugh­ter, Elena; the con­fused son, Julian; the nosy neigh­bour Carmelita, and the house help, Delia.

As the episodes progress, more se­crets tum­ble out— debt, a clos­eted gay char­ac­ter, a sex change op­er­a­tion, an af­fair, a sex tape, and an il­le­git­i­mate child. The dead Roberta also owned her own House of Flow­ers, a cabaret.

Each episode is named after a flower that also re­flects its theme. The Lily, for ex­am­ple, sym­bol­ises free­dom, so the episode named for that bloom fo­cuses on a com­ing out story.

It’s the women who hold the se­ries, and the fam­ily, to­gether. Ce­cilia Suárez stands out for her por­trayal of Paulina, the old­est daugh­ter. Verónica Cas­tro plays the ma­tri­arch Vir­ginia with aplomb. The show also suf­fers from some stock el­e­ments that feel worn out: the to­ken black char­ac­ter, a crotch­ety neigh­bour who is ‘cured’ by sex and a drug an­gle (it is Mex­ico, after all). Nev­er­the­less, the drama is ad­dic­tive and the story of a fam­ily try­ing to por­tray it­self as per­fect even while it crum­bles from within, is at once com­pelling and fa­mil­iar.

—Joanna Lobo

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