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25 Ways "¿Qué Pasa, USA?" Totally Got The Cuban-American Experience

What a casualty!

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¿Qué Pasa, USA? was a show about the Peñas, a Cuban-American family living in Miami.

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It ran on PBS in the late '70s and was fully bilingual, making frequent use of Spanglish. (Just like actual Cuban-American families!)

It was one of the few (If not the only!) sitcoms that really got what it's like to grow up Cuban in the U.S.

1. It showed how you can't talk about anything without your parents KNOWING.

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"¡Las estoy vigilando!"

2. ...And that goes double for your abuela.

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"¡Eso no se veía en Cuba!"

3. It depicted all those times you had to say hello to someone you can't stand.

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Besitooooos! 😙😒

4. And when you had to greet relatives and family friends you barely know.

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"Go say hi; she's the cousin of your neighbor's daughter's friend's wife's secretary's goldfish's great uncle IN CUBA."

5. Like the Peña house, your home was definitely always filled with tchotchkes.

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How many santos and Lladró figurines can one living room hold?

6. It showed THIS FACE.

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Every Cuban facial expression is 98.6% chin. And now you know.

7. And THIS hand motion.

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It means trouble is coming and I CAN'T WAIT TO GOSSIP ABOUT IT.

...See what I mean?

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8. In fact, every argument was 99% hand gestures.

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How would you know what kind of "tiki tiki" I'm talking about if I don't make the accompanying hand gesture? Por favor.

9. It accurately depicted those times your parents decided that you'd ONLY speak en español in the house.

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"E S P A N O L."

10. And that, while America may run on Dunkin', your U.S.A. is reliant on café cubano.

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There is no substitute.

11. It showed the exquisite awkwardness of bringing home un americano o americana for the first time.

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Yemaya, Jesusito, La Virgen, San Lazaro, and Santa Claus just in case: Grant me strength.

12. Not that your family wasn't super proud to be American, of course.

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13. That said, you were constantly reminded to act properly, lest you were deemed too "Americanized."

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"¡Eso es cosa de americano!"

14. The show also showed all your pleasant memories of going on a date...

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...Just you, your crush, and an entire security force.

15. It provided a glimpse into all the very chill, very low-key reactions from your family members.

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¡¡¡ñooooooo!!!

16. ...And their love of chisme.

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All business is their business.

17. In fact, it showed how even the slightest argument is likely to draw all the chismosos in a seven mile radius.

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Rally the troops! There's bobería afoot!

18. Sure, sometimes things were lost in translation.

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Ahem.

19. ...Which sometimes resulted in brand-new sayings.

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Sometimes they even made MORE sense than the original. (Fíjate que Cubans improve everything.)

20. It perfectly depicted how your house was almost always filled with family.

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Flan for everyone!

21. And how, if you needed a ride to or from the airport, you'd better expect your ENTIRE family to tag along.

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It's easy to fit 19 people in one car if you know what you're doing.

22. You wanted privacy? Forget it. You were lucky if you were allowed to lock the bathroom door.

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And there was always the risk of abuelita barging in without knocking.

"¿Y qué? ¡No ví nada nuevo!"

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😩

23. It VERY ACCURATELY depicted how your Cuban mom will 1) HATE your first apartment...

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Nothing is good enough for her baby.

... And that 2) she WILL try to clean it up and make your bed.

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It doesn't matter whether you're eight, 18, or 158.

24. Most importantly, it showed how proud you were to be both Cuban and American.

25. And how much you loved your crazy, aggravating, nosy, overprotective, loving, awesome, perfect family.

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💖

¡Viva la familia Peña!

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