“The heart is never wrong”! This is the phrase that characterizes the international phenomenon, ‘Aristemo’, and the message they’re trying to give México and the world.
‘Aristemo’ is the ship-name of a gay teen couple from the novela, “Mi Marido Tiene Más Familia” (“My Husband Has More Family”). On the one hand, we have Aristóteles (Aris) Córcega, played by Emilio Osorio, a 15-year-old boy with brown curly hair who lives in Oaxaca, México with his poor parents and toddler brother in his grandma’s building (the Córcega building). Aristóteles is known for being passionate about dancing and singing, and having a pretty big number of followers on social media, making him an influencer. He’s a loving-helping son who’s often all by himself trying to discover who he is. On the other hand, we have Cuauhtémoc (Temo) López, played by Joaquín Bondoni, a 15-year-old boy with short brown hair who moves to Oaxaca along with his father and twin siblings to the Córcega building. He is known for being a loving-studying son, but also shy and having trouble making new friends.
It is established pretty early that Temo is gay, and we find about this when he meets Aris and just stares at him for about 10 seconds. As the story moves forward, they begin liking each other’s company, and they quickly become best friends; as the friendship progresses, Temo falls even deeper in love with Aris (whom, at this point, nothing has been established about his sexuality) and decides he’ll confess his love. When Aris learns about Temo’s feelings he gently rejects Temo, saying he’s not gay. This breaks Temo’s heart and he decides to stop seeing Aris for good.
Days pass and Aris really misses Temo, so he looks for him at school and tells him that he’ll always be his friend and that he’ll always stay by his side. Temo accepts this and they shake hands as a way to start over. As they sit down to talk, Temo expresses to Aris that he wants to come out to his dad, but he doesn’t feel strong enough, so Aris helps him by rehearsing everything he wants to say and giving him all his support. The day arrives and Temo tells his father he’s gay, and his father hugs him and tells him he will always support him no matter what; “In this world of gray clouds, you are the rainbow Temo”.
Things seem to be going well, until Aris’s dad finds out that his son’s best friend is gay and forbids him from seeing Temo anymore. This angers Aris so much that in an attack of anger he decides to falsely confess that he is gay, which makes his dad kick him out of the house. Aris tells Temo he did that because of him, and because he needs to change his family’s way of thinking. Aris’s mom divorces his dad and brings Aris back home, telling him that she will always love him no matter what, and that she hopes one day his dad will accept him.
Months go by and Aris starts to get really confused, he fears that what he said as a lie might be true, and after coming to terms with his feelings he realizes he always loved Temo more than a friend and says to himself that the heart is never wrong. After planning carefully, Aris asks Temo to be his boyfriend at the school’s yard and they finally become ‘Aristemo’.
These past few paragraphs are just the beginning of the love story that changed the face of Mexican television. Before this, gay characters were shown as funny or as cheaters, making them sometimes the ones who destroyed marriages or even families. Then this novela came and changed all that, as it was the first time a love story between to underage teenage boys was being presented in a Mexican product.
The couple became an instant hit among the audience, it reached people from 13 years old up to 60 years old; everyday for eleven months (which was the time the novela aired) #Aristemo top trended on twitter all over México and South America, and even some parts of USA and Spain. It became a world-wide phenomenon that it even got a GLAAD nomination and the winner will be announced this May.
It is known that homosexuality is a topic that not many Mexican families talk about; thanks to this story it became a topic between parents and their children and a lot of teenagers were able to come out to their parents without the fear of being rejected. Closed minded parents also learned to leave their prejudices behind to accept their children as human beings whom only wanted to be loved. There was even a father who sent a letter to the novela’s producer telling him that he used to dislike homosexuality and that he once thought that if any of his sons turned out to be gay he would kick them out of the house. But, after seeing Aris’s storyline with his dad and how much he suffered, he understood he didn’t want any of his sons to go through that, and he thanked the producer for opening his eyes.
After the novela ended, (with two beautiful kisses between the two teens), it was announced that a musical play about ‘Aristemo’ would be staged, and they would go on a national tour. To this day they’ve done about 20 performances in different states and the play has been a complete success. It has been such a big phenomenon that about a month ago a television series continuing the ‘Aristemo’ storyline was announced to premiere in June of this year. And just a week ago Emilio (Aris) and Joaquín (Temo) sign a record deal to create songs sung by the two containing the message they’ve been sending to the audience since the novela started.
This story really marks a before and after on the way homosexual stories are being represented in Mexican television, and I have no words to express how proud I am that my country is finally leaving all its prejudices behind. As a Mexican, I never had a Mexican story that represented me throughout all of my teenage years, and I’m glad that, even if it’s a little late, I finally got a really beautiful one.
If any of you readers want to know more about ‘Aristemo’, there are videos on YouTube of the complete storyline with subtitles (I warn you it’s very long, but it’s worth it) which I will attach the link to the first part, as well as to other ‘Aristemo’ key moments.
Thank you for reading my first article. And thanks to Comicality for giving me this opportunity. I hope you guys liked it, and remember: “The heart is never wrong”.