Cartas a mi Ex, Letters to my Ex (2020) is a show created and directed by Jazmín Stuart (Buenos Aires, 1976). It is an original production by UN3, the TV streaming service of the University Tres de Febrero (Buenos Aires, Argentina). It can be watched both on the UN3 website and YouTube channel. The show includes eight episodes that can be watched individually and share common characteristics: short duration (around 10 minutes per episode), theme (romantic love and breakup) and format (audiovisual “letter” or message).
2. About the series
UN3 advertises Letters to my Ex with the logo: “a report of love in the era of loneliness.” With this logo, what do you imagine we will see in the episodes? Do you believe that we live in “the era of loneliness”? Is romantic love lived differently now than in, for example, your parent´s generation? What is different? What is the same?
Read the article in the journal El Día and the interview with Jazmín Stuart in the newspaper Página12. Answer the questions below and discuss your answers with your classmates.
2.1. What characteristics and formal elements are distinctive in this show, according to the article and the interview?
2.2. Why did the director choose the theme of breakup as the one that bind together the eight episodes?
2.3. What is the show trying to convey, according to the director?
2.4. How does Jazmín Stuart explain that her show is female and feminist?
3. About language
The words from the show Letters to my Ex below are common in the Spanish from Argentina, country of origin of the show. Knowing them will help you better understand what is happening.
|Mina||Popular expression for woman|
|Gordo/a||Affective way to address a man or woman|
|Dar paja, dar fiaca||To bore someone, to tire someone out|
|Chamullar||Talk too much. Cook up a story|
|Flotador||Slang for the body fat around the waistline|
|Re increible||Use of the prefix re- to emphasize the meaning of the noun or adjective that follows|
|Bancarse||Put up with, bear, tolerate|
|Quedarse duro/a||Be surprised, be taken aback|
|Flecharse||Fall in love|
|Los viejos||Affectionate way to address parents|
|Pelotudo/a||Dumb, stupid, slow|
4.1. The show depicts different models and dimensions of love relationships. What dimension is highlighted in each episode? Fill out the table below with a sentence to describe every episode. Explain the reasons why you chose that specific expression. Are there common elements among episodes?
|Episode||Key dimension||Episode||Key dimension|
4.2. In the article above, Jazmín Stuart claims that, in relations, “siempre hay un aprendizaje y uno aprende sobre uno mismo” (“learning always happens and one learns about oneself”). What do the protagonists learn? How does learning impact or change them? Can the romantic relationships in the show be considered conventional? Why do you think so? What types or models of romantic relationships are missing in the show?
4.3. The format of the show is distinctive. In the interview above, the director calls it “epistolary.” How are these episodes like a letter? How are they different from a letter? The protagonists look directly at the audience. How does this formal device impact the viewer? Do you think it brings something special to the show? What other formal devices stand out in the show?
4.4. Sex and corporality take a central role in the show. The camera recreates kisses, caresses, smelling, even blows in the case of the episode about domestic violence. What are the bodies in the show like? Are there old bodies? Overweight? Racialized? Disabled?
In groups of two or three, elaborate a list of activities that remind us that we have a body. Eating or becoming sick are two good examples. Now, compare your list with the show: what activities in your list are in the show as well? How are they depicted?
5. Final assignment
Imagine that you are the recipient of one of the “letters” in the show. Select one of them and respond to the sender. Your response can be a written letter or a video letter. Give your version of the events related in the episode and explain why you acted the way you did.
|Title||Cartas a mi Ex (Letters to my Ex)|
|Developed by||Jazmín Stuart|
|Release||14 February 2020|
|Distributor||Universidad Nacional Tres de Febrero (National University Tres de Febrero)|
|More information||8 episodes. Available in the distributor´s YouTube channel.|
Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española. Diccionario de americanismos. www.asale.org/obras-y-proyectos/diccionarios/diccionario-de-americanismos. 12 Feb. 2021.
“‘Cartas a mi ex’: cuando el final de un amor es una chance para aprender y cambiar.” El Día, 17 Feb. 2020, www.eldia.com/nota/2020-2-17-4-47-59–cartas-a-mi-ex-cuando-el-final-de-un-amor-es-una-chance-para-aprender-y-cambiar-espectaculos. 10 Feb. 2021.
“‘Cartas a mi ex’: las historias del desamor.” Página 12, 9 March 2020, www.pagina12.com.ar/251790-cartas-a-mi-ex-las-historias-del-desamor. 10 Feb. 2021.
UN3TV. Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero. https://un3.tv. 10 Feb. 2021.
UN3TV Channel. Youtube. www.youtube.com/c/UN3TV/featured. 10 Feb. 2021