TV Review: “Cable Girls” – An Insightful Guilty Pleasure

Written by Sydney O'Keefe May 04, 2017

cable girls

Set in the glamour of 1920’s Madrid, Netflix original Cable Girls easily pulls the audience in. The show is centred around the con woman Alba Romerio (Blanca Suarez). Alba plans a heist to rob the Telephone company, and to off the detective who is blackmailing her after the murder of her friend Gimena. While there she learns one of the directors of the company is her ex-lover who she was separated from ten years earlier. But in order to pay off the detective she must get close to the son of the founder, Carlos (Martiño Rivas). The ensuing story follows her and her friends as they navigate sexist divorce laws, custody battles, tyrannical fathers, and the bloom of a shy first love all while she navigates her double life and her growing feelings for her mark.

The background of the plot follows the struggle for women’s rights in Spain and the juicy love triangle between Alba and married ex-lover and her mark who she slowly begins to fall for. The show was originally done in Spanish and has been translated to English. The raw intrigue of plot and the lovability of the characters manage to shine through despite the language barrier. Cable Girls is centred around four women from diversely different backgrounds that bond over their mutual struggles and ensuing friendship.

Cable Girls

The open dialogue between the girls shows the slow forming bond. Friendship between the four is reflected by the rise of women’s rights in Spain (and the world). The intense relationship between them is expertly portrayed by the cast. Despite the language barrier English audiences can still relate to their struggles. We can see the universal struggle of women determined to have successful home and work lives. The performance by Blanca Suarez, who plays the anti-heroine Alba Romerio AKA Lydia Agulier captivates audiences with her ability to portray Alba’s façade as nice girl Lydia while maintaining her darker and misunderstood underbelly as con woman Alba. Her cast mates deliver similarly spectacular performances. Ana Fernandex who plays willful suffragette Carlota, is trying to escape the crushing tyranny of her father, the admiral. The development of these two as well as Angeles (Maggie Civantos), the abused workaholic mother, and Marga (Nadia de Santiago), the socially anxious girl who falls in love, creates a truly intoxicating story-line. Cable Girls’ script pushes the plot farther and farther throughout the eight-episode season. While some characters might seem a little flat, as a whole the show manages to depict the multifaceted nature of being a woman, especially in the age of suffrage. And the intrigue displayed by the character development of Alba and the far-fetched yet exhilarating plot make me certain we can expect a more in depth look at supporting characters Angeles, Carlota and Marga in the upcoming second season.

“In 1928 there was 2 billion people in the world all with their own hopes, their dreams and their problems. Life wasn’t easy for anyone but even less so for a woman. We weren’t free, but we dreamed of freedom.”

 The script while overtly dramatic, is incredibly entertaining. Around every corner there seems to be a new twist, a murder, a heist, a secret affair. The writers have truly taken the idea of the roaring twenties and brought it to life. Whether it is the coup d’etat against Spain’s monarchy or the invention of the rotary telephone, the girls are consistently up against some seriously stacked odds. The inclusion of major plot points that are intertwined with the issues of the twenties, mainly marriage laws and the limited options of women, gives a fresh look at the incredible pitfalls of a glamourized age.

cable girls

However, the love triangle between Francisco, Carlos and Alba seems somewhat played out given the incredible rise of love triangles in popular youth culture of today. The rise of Twilight, Sex and the City, Vampire Diaries, and One Tree Hill can be attributed to this popular trope in television. But Cable Girls still manages to interest its audience. All of these shows hinge on the intoxicating drama of a forbidden love triangle. This is the immediate hook of Cable Girls: will Alba choose her past love, the forbidden romance with responsible Francisco; or his best friend and brother in law Carlos who can offer her romance and the life she has always wanted. But as you delve deeper and deeper into the series, Alba’s love life comes second to the bond she feels with her friends and her desire to be a better person. Her twisted sense of morality after being raised by Victoria, a Madame of a brothel, creates a war within herself as she struggles to do the right thing. The incredible journey of Alba’s character development makes her a powerful protagonist.

“I’ve never made any friends. I am so glad you three were late that day…I guess it was our destiny to meet.”

Cable Girls is an intriguing show. The development of interconnected friendships perpetrated by the script brings together four unlikely friends who work together to overcome the problems of the age. And while it may appear that Alba is being forced to choose between two men, the true question is her decision between the confines of her relationships with Carlos and Francisco, and the freedom and independence of her friendship with her fellow cable girls.

My Rating: 7/10

cable girls

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