Now in its 17th season, Maca and Esther have weathered their share of drama, including problems with extended family, Esther’s one-night stand with a man that resulted in an unexpected pregnancy, and Maca’s infidelity with psychiatrist Veronica ‘Vero’ Sole (Carolina Cerezuela), which turned into a full-blown relationship after Maca and Esther broke up.
The Maca-Vero pairing even developed its own fan following, until Vero finally took a job at another hospital because she believed Maca would never completely get over Esther.
Vero, Maca and Esther
But all of this has made Hospital Central viewers even more emotionally invested in Maca and Esther’s inevitable reunion, which has been slowly unfolding this season, with the two recently deciding to live together again.
The popularity of the lesbian characters and storyline on Hospital Central paved the way for other series to follow suit. "Other channels thought that having
a lesbian storyline could help increase their audience share," contends Showtime.
The increase in lesbian/bi characters on TV in the last few years is due to the writers "discovering they can tell a story about love between two woman that appeals not only to lesbian/bi viewers, but to their core audience, too," says Rogue.
These TV shows haven’t just become popular with Spanish viewers. Thanks to the internet, they’ve gained a worldwide following — articles and recaps of Spanish television shows are among EurOut’s most-read content on their site, and Spanish TV shows are popular topics in the AfterEllen.com forum.
One couple with a large international following is "Pepsi," made up of lesbian police officer Pepa (Laura Sanchez) and forensics expert Silvia (Marián Aguilera) on Los Hombres de Paco (Paco’s Men), a primetime comedic police drama which debuted on Antena 3 in 2005.
The couple has been embraced by straight and queer fans of the show alike, and in press coverage and promotional materials, they are featured just like any other couple on the series.
The show’s lesbian storyline began when Pepa joined the show early in the fifth season, and rekindled her romantic interest in her sister-in-law Silvia (one of the original cast members), with whom she had shared a kiss years ago.
The two pair have now become one of the most popular couples on the series, fueling the creation of popular Spanish-language fan sites like pepaysilvia.mforos.com, and English language ones like The International Pepa and Silvia Community.
Sites like Lesbicanarias, EurOut, and and Random Flores recap the shows in Spanish and English, and the international popularity of this storyline led to Sanchez — who is a well-known model in addition to being an actress — being voted No. 54 on our Hot 100 this year. The series also won our 2008 Visibility Award for Best International Scripted Series with Lesbian/Bi Characters.