The Happy Ending Project highlights positive lesbian TV pairings – Part 1: Agusleria

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As our readers know well, it can be hard to watch lesbian pairings on TV. With between 25-30% of queer female characters killed off annually since 1976, the odds of a happy ending are slim. In fact, they’re about 8%, to be precise. So, I’ve decided to create what I call the “Happy Ending Project” (not to be confused with other LGBT-focused Happy Endings Projects, like this one). This project is dedicated to finding and reporting on lesbian TV couples around the world that had happy endings, but that haven’t previously received much attention on AfterEllen. These are mostly non-English speaking pairings, but subtitled clips of their relationships can normally be found easily with a little searching.

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This week’s pairing comes from Argentina and is a romantic comedy telenovela that aired in 2013 called “Los Vecinos en Guerra” (“Neighbors at War”). Before we begin, however, a word: the plot of this show is, in a word, crazy. 20 years ago, Mercedes “Mecha” Maidana was part of a group of con artists/robbers. After their last heist went wrong, the group’s heist planner Ciro was arrested the group disbanded. Mecha went underground, marrying and having three kids and living a nice if boring suburban life, with her husband none the wiser. Then her old lover Alex moves in down the street and tells her that Ciro is now out of jail and planning his revenge against his old crew, who he believes turned him in. Alex hires a group of actors-turned-criminals to pretend to be a normal family and protect her and thus begins the one-season show.

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Agustina Joglar, called “Agus” and played by Sabrina Fogolini, is the best friend of Mecha’s daughter Paloma. As someone online extremely aptly pointed out, she looks like a combination of Cara Delevingne and Kaya Scodelario. Valeria Acosta (Natalie Pérez), “Vale,” is…frankly, she is the living embodiment of a garbage fire.

When we meet her, she is dating Alex’s son Lucas, but when Lucas gets word that he impregnated former girlfriend Paloma, he heads home to do the honorable thing and be there for Paloma and the child. Valeria can’t let go, however, and follows him home to the house of actors pretending to be family (which also includes a man pretending to be a woman, Tootsie-style), making an indescribable nuisance of herself in the process.

In fact, as a viewer it’s impossible to feel much more than revulsion towards Valeria for a long time after she’s been introduced since she goes out of her way to alienate everyone around her. She sabotages Lucas’ relationship with Paloma, insults people to their faces, and acts like an all-around pest.

She also lies constantly in order to manipulate people around her, but so obviously that people are rarely fooled. Poor Agus, however, is smitten almost at first sight, a fact that Vale takes advantage of until she reunites with Lucas…only to promptly date Agus. They then spend a long time fighting, cuddling, and fighting some more, almost always about something outrageous that Vale has done.

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Even though clips of “Agusleria,” the portmanteau for Agus and Vale, are cumulatively quite long, the pairing was only a minor component of the show. Still, they have multiple storylines of their own. The following are what I found to be the high and low points of the pairing:

The Good:

  • Agusleria make a cute, adorable teenage couple. Endstop. Both actresses commit to the romance and don’t shy away from physical contact (they get many kisses and chances to touch). They’re also both gorgeous.
  • Agus’ coming out story is very well done, both in terms of her own coming to terms with being gay and the responses of her family. Agus recognizes that Vale is the last person for whom she should have feelings, but…love is love. Agus’ conversations with her mother in particular ring true.
  • Agus and Vale very clearly get a happy ending, even if it’s a rocky road to get there. It’s a soap opera though, what else would we expect but drama and turbulence?
  • Fogolini as Agus is fantastic. As a viewer, you can see exactly what she’s feeling at all times. Even when you’re urging Agus to run the other way from the trainwreck that is Vale, you’re still pulling for Agus.
  • Vale’s hair is amazing. Every time she appears on screen it’s like a shampoo commercial. Agus has nice hair, too. I got hair envy watching this couple.

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The Bad:

  • As cute as Agusleria’s love story could be, I personally couldn’t shake the feeling that it would never end well. Vale is too damaged and emotionally unstable to ever be faithful and committed to Agus in the long term. It’s only a matter of time before Vale screws up again.
  • Vale spends a lot of time manipulating and hurting Agus. You’ll find yourself occasionally hoping that Agus meets a nice girl who is not Vale and finding stability and happiness with that girl instead.
  • It’s not quite clear what happened to cause Vale to shift from being infatuated with Lucas and doing everything she could to be with him to deciding to date Agus. Is she really bisexual (Agus self-identifies as lesbian), or is this just a “phase” of being in a comfortable, stable situation after years of instability in her life?

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Overall grade: B. Although the pairing had a happy ending, I am personally ambivalent about Agusleria as a couple in general because of Vale’s behavior over the arc of the story. I can’t help wishing Agus had been given someone who loved her faithfully and took care of her after her relationship with Vale failed the first time. Still, points for good hair and abundant cuteness.

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