A great love story feels like it can transcend time. And in some cases, it actually does – with a little help from fans.
#Luimelia is a Spanish series from Atresmedia starring Paula Usero as “Luisita Gomez” and Carol Rovira as “Amelia Ledesma” – whose names were combined by fans into a hashtag that eventually inspired the show’s title. It’s a testament to the power of viewers who were eager to see more substantive, and funny, stories about queer women in love. So they helped propel one into existence.
Luisita and Amelia originated as characters on Amar es para siempre, a soap opera set during and after Spain’s Francoist regime in the 60s and 70s. Their friendship blossoms into a relationship that, despite feeling constrained by the repression women and LGBTQ+ people faced at the time, seems destined to persevere. While the two were supporting characters on Amar es para siempre, public reception and a vocal online fanbase helped fuel a spinoff that reimagines Luisita and Amelia’s relationship four decades into the future.
In its prior season, #Luimelia featured ten minute episodes – weaving a tight story that centered Luisita & Amelia’s love for each other and leaning into comedic moments that often commented on genre or broke the fourth wall.
During its most recent fourth season, #Luimelia retains this playfulness, at times subverting narrative tropes and conventional rom-com storylines with a biting comedic edge, while finding room for depth and rich character development within expanded half-hour episodes. And even as the show hits on themes like familial homophobia, housing insecurity, and the difficulty of establishing healthy boundaries within a relationship, it retains an optimism that feels surprisingly refreshing in a T.V. landscape dominated by queer love stories between women that are often relegated to side plots with tragic endings.
The general lack of stories featuring LGBTQ+ leads on television, particularly two queer women as romantic leads, is an issue the stars of #Luimelia bring up often. In a 2020 interview on the show Tele de Barrio, Paula Usero and Carol Rovira touched on the tropes and watered-down storylines that dominate the few shows about queer women on streaming networks available in Spain. Lesbians are always secondary characters or someone’s friend, never at the center of a show, Rovira said. In a 2021 interview with El Espanol, Usero also bemoans the ubiquity of “Dead Lesbian Syndrome” on television (a trope where a love story between queer women leads to violence, tragedy or death).
While the show’s stars might not be able to relate with every aspect of Luisita and Amelia’s relationship, they feel its important to speak out on these topics. Usero has mentioned she doesn’t consider herself straight – and credited her time on #Luimelia with expanding her idea of sexuality – while Rovira is not part of the LGBTQ+ community, but has mentioned the importance of advocating on behalf of queer women without taking center stage. “We’re two actresses playing lesbians,” she told El Mundo in 2021. “We’ll always try to collaborate and do whatever it takes to help with visibility, but no matter how much empathy we feel we have to stay on the sidelines and let those impacted lead.”
And while #Luimelia is a show that prides itself on uplifting queer joy, Luisita and Amelia are living anything but the idealized storybook romance – a choice reflected in the show’s tagline for season four, which roughly translates to: “a romantic comedy about unromantic love.” The beginning of #Luimelia’s fourth season brings the real world crashing Luisita and Amelia just as it seems their relationship is on the verge of stability. Conservative parents, money issues and a soul-sucking office job form cracks in Luisita and Amelia’s rose-tinted glasses – but it’s the sort of reality check that makes these characters’ lives richer. “True love” isn’t always the tidy ending we see depicted in stories and in the real world, love takes work. It’s this meta-commentary on romantic tropes that best exemplifies Luimelia’s comedic approach to story-telling convention.
It’s a perfect romance under imperfect circumstances and by embracing those imperfections, Luisita and Amelia demonstrate what makes them such a compelling queer couple in any decade: their willingness to love and lookout for each other no matter what.
#Luimelia is among GLAAD’s Spanish Language nominees this year for its thoughtful, comedic and nuanced portrayal of queer love between two women, blending a playful and imaginative approach to storytelling with themes that ground this rom-com in the real world and reverberate among viewers.
#Luimelia is produced by Atresmedia and created by Borja Glez. Santaolalla, Diana Rojo, and Camino Sánchez. Season 4 is available in the U.S. on Atresplayer Premium.