Are you on the hunt for a TV show to watch in Spanish? I have a great suggestion for you today: Rigo TV Series.
This TV show portrays Colombian culture and tells the real-life story of one of the sports heroes of the country.
In this blog post, I’ll tell you why you have to watch this show to practice your Spanish.
And I’ll share with you some of the many colloquial phrases you’ll find in the show.
This is important in case you decide to try episode 1 and immerse yourself in this show.
So, put your textbook away, make some popcorn, and turn on your TV.
Let’s get started!
Rigo TV Series: What’s The Show About?
“Rigo”, starring Colombian actor Juan Pablo Urrego, tells the story of the famous road racing cyclist:
He was a regular young boy who was born and raised in Urrao, Antioquia.
This is a small town located 4 hours away from Medellín.
The show focuses on the journey of this young man to become one of the top road racing cyclists in the world.
- You’ll see his humble beginnings in the little town,
- People’s struggles with the Colombian rebel groups in small towns,
- And the unbreakable faith of Rigo’s father as he believed his son could:
Ser alguien en la vida.
For Colombians, this phrase means to become someone who can have a comfortable life.
A person with no money problems, and a citizen who enjoys respect and prestige in society.
But, that’s not all the show is about.
Of course, to make it more interesting, it needed a romance, and even better:
A real-life romance that takes place when the Colombian actress, Ana María Estupiñan, gives life to Rigo’s girlfriend: Michelle.
These two characters will have to struggle with family problems and cycling challenges to see their relationship flourish.
However, this Rigo TV Series is far from being a romantic story.
The show is a comedy telenovela based on Rigoberto Uran’s biographical book, which you can check out in the following link if you’re interested:
Note: The link to this book is an affiliate link, which means that if you purchase, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Now, let me share my favorite part about this show, and the reason why I’m suggesting it today:
Rigo TV Series Portrays The Paisa Culture
When I say “Paisa Culture”, I refer to the culture of people living in Antioquia, Risaralda, Quindío, and Caldas.
Yes, this includes small towns and, some Colombian big cities like Medellín, Pereira, Manizales, and Armenia.
This is a very particular part of Colombia characterized by their regionalism, their accent, and their traditional customs.
Now, the Rigo TV Series encapsulates the essence of this culture with stuff like:
- The foods the characters eat.
- How they speak.
- The swearing in daily speaking.
- The attitudes people display regarding school and money.
- Differences in people’s behavior from the city to people of little towns.
- The struggles of Colombians who live in poor areas of the country.
And, of course, something I love about Colombians:
The sense of humor of people in this country.
How Do People Speak In The Show?
If you decide to watch this TV show, you’ll notice that from episode 1 you won’t hear Spanish for beginners.
This is more for high intermediate and advanced students.
Especially for those interested in getting closer to the Colombian culture and getting familiarized with the accent.
Right off the bat, my biggest suggestion for this show is to turn on the subtitles in Spanish.
This way, you’ll be able to follow what the characters are saying and read the words they pronounce.
You’re going to hear a very natural and spontaneous Columbian Spanish.
- You’ll hear tons of idioms and paisa slang everywhere.
- Words are going to sound linked together
- The Cadence of the speaking is going to be super fast.
- And the Paisa accent of the characters is going to be very natural.
No doubt, all worth watching for advanced Spanish lovers.
Now, I went ahead and took some notes from episode 1, and extracted 10 idioms to share with you today.
So, play episode 1 and set the scene on the minute and second I tell you, and try to identify any of the following phrases.
Then, imitate the intonation and the way characters say these phrases.
Oh, I almost forgot… You may watch Rigo on Amazon Prime.
(This is an affiliate link as well, so you’ll be supporting me if you purchase through it ☕❤️)
1- ¡Listo Urrao, Aquí Llegó Tu Hijo!
These are some of the first words that Rigo says in the show.
You may hear them around 40 seconds into the show.
In the scene, you’ll see the guy riding a bicycle arriving at his hometown: Urrao.
Now, what I find interesting about this phrase is that he uses the word “Listo”, which is often taught as “ready”.
However, that’s not what Rigo means when he says that.
Because “Listo” is often used as an “Okay” all around Latin America.
So, in other words, what this phrase means is:
¡“Okay, Urrao, here’s your son!
2- Viejo Pecueco
Right after Rigo says his first words, a traditional Colombian full-of-color vehicle called “chiva” shows up.
The driver is the “furious” old guy who ends up being Rigo’s uncle.
Rigo and his uncle pretend to be angry and play around for a second as if they were going to fight.
One of the phrases Rigo throws to his uncle is “viejo pecueco”, which means:
“Stinky old guy”.
But wait a second, where is the word stinky in this phrase?
Well, it’s “culturally” understood in the word “pecueco”, which comes from the word “pecueca”.
This word is used to describe a “stinky foot” in Spanish.
But in this context, Rigo is using it to throw an insult that exposes the bad smell of the other person.
But, of course, they’re just kidding.
See what I said about the Colombian sense of humor?
3- Muchachos, ¿Bien o No?
After the fight, Rigo happily gets on the Chiva and he says hi to the crowd that was traveling in this particular car.
Muchachos, ¿bien o no?
This is a typical phrase Colombians use to say hi to each other.
If we translate it, we’ll get something like:
“Guys, ¿good or what?”
This translation doesn’t really fit the idea of saying hi.
More accurately, the real idea of this phrase would be something like this:
“Hey guys, what’s up?”
4- Esas Viejas De Allá Son Muy Picadas
Seconds after we see a scene of an Italian guy showing interest in Rigo’s cycling skills…
(This is around minute 3, and second 20)
You’ll hear a conversation between Rigo, the driver of the chiva, and the driver’s wife.
The woman asks Rigo about his life in Medellín, and then she says:
“Me imagino que como todo buen Urán, está lleno de novias por allá”
Translation: I imagine that just like the good Urán (Rigo’s Last name) you are, you’re full of girlfriends over there!
Then Rigo replies with an interesting phrase, he says:
“Esas viejas de allá son muy picadas”.
What does that mean?
Let me explain:
Colombian slang for women is “viejas” which translates to “old women”.
What’s interesting, though, is that they call them this way regardless of their age.
So you may hear a 10-year-old talking about a bunch of other 10-year-old girls and calling them viejas.
Now, Rico calls Medellín’s viejas (women) “picadas” which translates to chopped.
This is Colombian slang as well:
- “Ser muy picado (For men)
- Ser muy picada (For women)”.
What it means is to be cocky, or very proud of himself/herself.
So what Rigo is saying here is:
“Those girls are very cocky”
5- ¿Vos Estás Celoso?
Let’s change the scene, shall we?
Go to minute 11, and second 20.
Play the conversation that the beautiful Michelle, Rigo’s life love has with her current boyfriend.
Rigo is not in this scene, but as the conversation goes on, we can see that Michelle’s boyfriend is a little uneasy about Rigo.
When she notices this, she throws a question to him:
“¿Vos estás celoso?”
This question means “Are you jealous?”
What caught my attention here is that Michelle was using the pronoun “Vos” instead of “Tú”.
This is just the spontaneous way Colombians switch between pronouns in conversations.
You rarely find this in a textbook or traditional Spanish lessons.
In TV shows or real life, however, you’ll find this pronoun ALL-THE-TIME.
6- Esto Es Lo Último En Guaracha
Fast forward a little further to something around minute 12.
We’ll see Rigo sitting at a table with his friends, showing them his new phone.
They’re hanging out in the central part of the little town.
How do I know?
Well, because it looks like a traditional park in a small Colombian town.
- People were everywhere,
- A church in the back,
- The mayor’s office is right next to the church,
- And people selling traditional food like empanadas or buñuelos all around.
That’s what you’ll find at a place like this, and they portrayed it beautifully in the Rigo Tv Series.
Now, as Rigo shows his phone to his friends, he says:
“Esto es lo úlitmo en guaracha”
Take note of this phrase amigo or amiga, because this is a typical Colombian idiom that means:
“This is the latest tech”.
Yup, if you translate that, it makes no sense at all, but it is what it is in Colombia!
Let’s keep going to minute 14 and you’ll see Rigo arriving home yelling:
7- ¡Qué Hubo Ma!
I’m sure that if you watch the scene, you’re going to have to play it several times.
The reason is that “Qué hubo ma” doesn’t sound quite like the words you’re seeing on screen right now.
Because Rigo is using a spontaneous way of pronouncing this phrase.
Or should I say mispronouncing it?
Well, whatever the case, this is 100% normal among Spanish native speakers.
What he says in this scene is something like:
And the meaning?
A typical and traditional:
What’s up? Mom!!
It’s not disrespectful or anything like that.
This is just the Colombian way to greet your mother! 😁
8- ¿Y Eso Qué Fue?
If you keep watching the episode, you’ll hit minute 17.
In this scene, you’ll see Rigo’s mom watching TV when it suddenly goes off.
“¿Y eso qué fue?”
What this means is
“What was that?”
Now, I thought this was very interesting to mention in this post because the correct structure of this sentence should’ve been:
“¿Qué fue eso?”
However, as masters of the language, Latinos change it to their will.
They make up new phrases regardless of incorrect grammar, just like Neo manipulating the Matrix. 😎
And that’s exactly what happens in this scene!
This woman switched the structure in a very natural way.
In fact, I have to mention that you may hear “¿eso qué fue?” as a fixed phrase and very often in daily speaking.
But Let’s fast forward now to minute 23, and second 50 where you’ll hear Rigo having a chat with his mom.
You’ll hear this sentence:
9- Yo El Lunes Soluciono Este Chicharrón
In this scene, Rigo and his mom are home.
They’re discussing the electricity cut-off in the house because they didn’t pay for it.
As Rigo is trying to help his mom feel better about her economic struggles, he throws a sentence:
“Yo el lunes soluciono este chicharrón”
In Colombia, chicharrón is pork that usually is accompanied by beans.
However, in this context, Rigo is using the word “chicharrón” as slang for “problem”.
Using this word in this context is very common for Colombians, for instance…
If you’re dealing with problems at work you may say:
“Tengo un chicharrón en el trabajo”.
So, what Rigo is saying in this phrase is:
“I’ll solve this problem on Monday”
10- ¡Oido Pueblo Que Me Voy Pa’ Europa!
In minute 26, second 21, you’re going to see Rigo yelling and celebrating right after a phone call with an Italian guy.
This is a victory moment in this episode, and he celebrates by saying:
“¡Oido pueblo que me voy pa’ Europa!”
The first two words “Oido Pueblo” translate “Ear Town”, but the idea here is:
“Listen Up People”.
This is a classic phrase used all around small towns in Colombia.
Especially in these places, people may hear government announcements through megaphones starting with this phrase.
However, Rigo is just very excited and uses his charisma to yell:
“¡Listen up people, I’m going to Europe!”
Also, notice that in this phrase the word pa’ is a shortened version of “para”.
This is playing as a “to” in the phrase “to Europe”.
What I Like And What I Dislike In The Rigo TV Series
I’m not a person who watches a lot of telenovelas.
But I love this one!
One of the things I like the most about it is that it depicts the paisa culture pretty accurately.
And it keeps a sense of humor owned by Colombians.
All the slang, words, and expressions you’ll hear are supernatural and spontaneous.
Perfect for those Spanish students who want to put their listening to the test as they get closer to Colombian culture.
Now, I like watching short episode series, so I have to acknowledge that I don’t like that the episodes are so long.
Sometimes they might last up to almost an hour! 😵💫
Especially for language students, this might be a little overwhelming.
You know, going through all the words of the show would take forever!
So I have to say that this is something I don’t enjoy that much.
However, in general, I think this is a great show.
In Rigo TV-Series you may learn a lot about Paisa culture.
It’s full of slang and local Colombian phrases.
Perfect for those of you who are interested in this country’s culture.
Also, keep in mind that watching a TV show like this one may be frustrating at times…
So I don’t recommend jumping to it if you’re at the beginning stages of learning Spanish.
Do it if you’re intermediate or advanced.
Otherwise, I suggest you go ahead to sharpen your listening skills in Spanish with high-quality courses first.
After that, you may be ready to learn Spanish using a TV show like Rigo.
Oh, and by the way…
At the moment, Rigo is available on national Colombian TV (RCN channel) or Amazon Prime.
So, if you’re out of Colombia, consider joining Prime to enjoy this TV show.
And don’t forget that the link to Prime is also an affiliate link, which means that I’ll earn a small commission for suggesting this service at no extra cost to you.
You’d be buying a coffee for a coffee lover if you end up purchasing through one of my links
(Yes, I love coffee ☕, so thanks in advance 😅).
For now, that’s all I wanted to share with you today.
I really hope you have fun with this show.
And if you have more suggestions for TV shows in Spanish, reply to the following question in the comments below:
¿Cuál es tu programa de TV favorito en español?
(What’s your favorite TV show in Spanish?).