Sabado Gigante is a staple in many Latino households. Before you knew who Bob Barker and Oprah were, you were watching Don Francisco and his gang. That’s probably why you didn’t realize it sooner, but Sabado Gigante is completely bizarre. The part contest, part variety show has the oddest cast of characters, songs and segments. In the more than 50 years that it has filled a weekly three-hour block, it’s had plenty of time for ridiculous antics. But here are the 10 craziest things about the show (that you know you love):
The 10 Craziest Things About 'Sabado Gigante'
Your Whole Family Can Compete
Your mom can win a car. Your little sister can compete in a pageant show. Your dad can tell jokes or get heckled by El Chacal. And you can probably compete in all of them. The show tries to reach all demographics, which is why anyone can participate in it.
El Chacal and His Lion Cage
El Chacal is the ultimate troll. He’ll kill your singing dreams before you even open your mouth with a sound of his trumpet, and if the mood strikes him, he’ll put you in a cage with a man dressed up as a lion. (This segment has evolved over the years by doing away with the man in the lion suit.)
Don Francisco Is Always Yelling
He only has one level: loud! The most impressive part of this is that he somehow keeps it up for three hours.
It Gets Children Talking Like Adults
Most of the times, the children are super adorable and total hams. But sometimes, such as with Miss Chiquitita, the judges, who are children, judge other little girls and use words like coquette and sensual, terms that are not exactly appropriate for niños.
The Show Keeps Up With the Times
Don Francisco shouldn’t be so cool, but he is. Michelle Obama (on a pre-recorded telecast) was on the show. When Psy was making the rounds after “Gangham Style” went viral, he paid Don Francisco a visit, too. Don Francisco danced and even shared his version of the song. Also, a slew of Latino celebrities appeared on the show in their prime or before they hit it big.
You Can’t Just Jump in Mid-Segment
Good luck following if you didn’t watch from the beginning. You might suddenly see five people on stage in costumes, and you’ll have no idea how they relate to each other. (They probably don’t have anything to do with each other.)
Don Francisco Doesn’t Age
He’s slightly grayer, but he doesn’t look as though he’s aged very much in the last decade. His voice doesn’t sound like an abuelo’s either.
There Are Always New Segments
La Colita, an audience-wide booty-shaking contest. A lookalike segment. El Detector de Mentiras, or a lie detector test. Some are recurring, and some are just a one-time deal. Just know that you’ll always be guaranteed something new because the show will try everything at least once.
Viewers’ Reactions Are Hilarious (And Memorable)
Sabado Gigante has been around so long that it started in a pre-digital world, but it has only gained more relevancy because of Instagram and Twitter. Now, people share memes inspired by El Chacal (If an ex wants to get back with you, the only appropriate response is “¡Y Fuera!”) and Don Francisco’s agelessness. Or they, like Latino rapper Bodega Bamz, name-drop Don Francisco in their music.
It’s Hit Its 51st Season
The show is the longest-running program on TV, and in the 51 seasons, there have been more than 2,400 episodes. This means that in that time, the show has rarely taken off a week.
It’s impossible to fill that much content without being the craziest show ever. If you haven’t checked it out since you’re childhood, tune in on a Saturday. You’ll be guaranteed some smiles because of nostalgia, and at the very least, you’ll get some entertaining bits.