Happy Pride month! In honor of the festivities and in the name of lesbian visibility (what AfterEllen is all about) we’re featuring our Happy Ending Project, which we first started last Pride season. The project highlights TV lesbian couples from around the globe who got happy endings, which is rare, as we all know. Lez get to it.
Part 2 of the happy ending project (click here for part 1) positive lesbian TV pairing comes from Mexico in the form of a telenovela called “Las Trampas Del Deseo” (“The Pitfalls of Desire”), which aired in 2013/2014. The couple, which consists of Patricia de Santana and Lucía Salazar de Fuentes, were a tiny component of the show, which billed itself as a psychological cop-political thriller, but nevertheless the two had many subplots of their own, including coming out, handling family reactions, body dysmorphia, depression and addiction.
Lutricia, which is the portmanteau for Lucía and Patricia (Patti), was many things: passionate, fun, cute, depressing, and infuriating. It’s perhaps the most bipolar coupling to date, and for that reason it’s not for viewers who only want rainbows and puppy dogs. Even though Lutricia technically had a happy ending at the 23rd hour of the show, large parts of the relationship were unhealthy, and particularly during the last quarter to third of the storyline the relationship was full of hurt and mistreatment by Lucía towards Patti.
That said, there are multiple things about the storyline to commend itself to viewers, most of all the treatment of Patti’s coming out and the romantic scenes between the two. Also, Alexandra de la Mora (Lucía) and Bianca Calderón (Patti) were extremely engaged with their fans and actively supported and lobbied for Lutricia. Lutricia could not have been what it was without de la Mora and Calderón. The following were what I found to be the high and low points of the pairing:
- Patti’s coming out story as a later in life lesbian is really well done. Patti comes to understand that although her husband is her best friend, she does not want to be sexually intimate with him, and this leads her to a long road of coming to terms with her identity as a lesbian. Her daughter Valeria’s reaction is also realistic: although she is initially very adversarial about her mother’s relationship with Lucía, which she sees as a barrier to her parents reuniting, she eventually relents and becomes her mother’s greatest advocate and defender.
- Romantic scenes between Patti and Lucía are extremely passionate, to which de la Mora and Calderón are owed full credit. Viewers are left in no doubt that Lutricia are a sexually active, amorous couple. Lucía is sexually assertive while Patti is the type of cheesy romantic who makes dinner.
- There is honesty in the idea of two women coming into a relationship with very different ideas. Patti is a lesbian coming to grips with her sexuality who is looking for forever with the friend with whom she’s fallen in love. Lucía, who is at heart heterosexual but for Patti, was sexually and emotionally fulfilled by her husband but left bereft by his sudden death. Although unfazed by the idea of a sexual relationship with another woman, she uses her relationship with Patti (initially and then off and on) to fill the hole of her husband’s loss and struggles to redefine herself as a woman in a relationship with another woman. The idea of two formerly self-identified heterosexual women figuring out the parameters of their relationship—and how fast and slow to take things—is also well done.
- The ending is happier than the scenes leading up to it would have predicted (largely a result of relentless lobbying by de la Mora and Calderón and fan support for the couple). Nine months down the road, Lutricia are still together because Lucía has grown enough as a person to be able to be a good partner to Patti.
- De la Mora and Calderón are both hands down excellent in their roles. Calderón is highly sympathetic and really makes Patti a three-dimensional character who wears her heart on her sleeve. De la Mora, in contrast, sizzles as a beautiful housewife who exudes sexual confidence even as her insecurities erode her already weak identity. Lucía’s journey in particular is interesting to watch, and her jealousy of Patti dating another lesbian is fantastic and adorable. Given that both de la Mora and Calderón were super supportive of Lutricia and their fans and fought for the Lutricia endgame, the fandom could not have asked for better champions of their ship.
- Lucía is absolutely, drop dead gorgeous if you’re into high femmes. Or if curvy, shy, and empathetic is more your type, Patti is absolutely adorable and sexy as well.
- Although for half of the relationship Patti and Lucía seem happy together and in love, the remainder of the time Lucía is uncommitted, uses Patti mostly to fill a void in her life, becomes distracted by men, and acts carelessly with Patti’s fragile heart. All of this is inevitable in a telenovela, but it becomes extremely frustrating. At a particularly low point, viewers are likely to find themselves rooting for Patti to find happiness with someone who will treat her better.
- Lucía’s daughter Larissa is absolutely awful. For Lutricia’s entire run, the girl never becomes any less odious of a human being. She repeatedly sabotages her mother’s relationship with Patti and manipulates her mercilessly.
- To change up the dynamic of the Lutricia relationship, the show introduced a pseudo-love interest for Patti named Isa, who ended up being a semi-predatory lesbian. Although this advanced Lutricia’s storyline, it would have been nice to have a less aggressive version of Isa, who would have had the same catalytic role without being so…rapey.
Overall grade: B+. I want to love this pairing, and there are many parts of it that I do. Lucía and Patti are both gorgeous and look at each other with passion and love, but there are also many scenes that are awful and painful to watch. It will help viewers who want to get into the pairing to know that de la Mora and Calderón wanted Lutricia to find happiness and that they viewed Lutricia as an ultimately positive relationship in which Patti helped Lucía find herself and become a better person. So during the darkest times in the Lutricia relationship, remember that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“Las Trampas Del Deseo” would have been an excellent show to recap because of the myriad storylines and emotions given to Lutricia, and readers are encouraged to at least watch a “best of” montage if they don’t want to commit to the full storyline. In 2014, Calderón (@BiaCalderonG) Tweeted AfterEllen asking for feedback about Patricia and expressing hope that the finale would meet fan expectations. This is the sort of humility and kindness on the part of actresses that always heartens and humbles us here at AfterEllen. So three years later, here’s a response in hindsight:
Fans probably hoped for a tiny bit more from the end of Lutricia (a few more kisses, a little more screen time, and more certain closure), but a happy endgame for Lutricia is what ultimately matters. There’s nothing we would have suggested any differently for Patricia. It was a fantastically acted role and an excellent storyline. We’re beyond grateful for all the love and support Calderón and de la Mora showed their fans, and wish the best of luck to both in their future roles. The lesbian community will always have your back.