Teenagers, crimes, music, sex and class: the 5 keys to the success of “Elite”

The students of the exclusive Las Encimas school returned with everything in the fifth season of “Elite”. (Netflix)

Elite is the second Spanish production (the first is The Money Heist) that entered the list of most popular series in the history of Netflix: its seasons 3 and 4 are in that ranking and, predictably, the premiere of the fifth batch of episodes, on April 8, summoned a huge audience: it was ranked number 1 globally with more than 51 million hours of views . Although the criticism has been divided, even the negative one recognizes it as “the great guilty pleasure” of fictions for marathons.

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Top 10 Netflix regarding series in languages ​​other than English. (Netflix)

From Rebel an for thirteen reasonsfrom Gossip Girl an Riverdalefrom leukocyte an Happiness and of Strange things an Atypicalteen series have grown as a genre in recent years and have been mixed with other narratives, such as horror, vampires and thrillers. But in itself the genre is a success – it also proves Euphoria— based on the drama and intensity, typical of people’s teen years: it appeals to those who live them and those who lived them.

What are the reasons for the success of this Spanish series, which in a few days was number 1?  (Netflix)
What are the reasons for the success of this Spanish series, which in a few days was number 1? (Netflix)

In the case of Elitethe successful formula adds criminal intrigue, avant-garde music, high-voltage eroticism and economic inequality at Las Encinas school. All themes that transcend geographic and age borders: “The best thing was to make it as universal as possible. Deep down, the desires are very similar”, said one of its directors, Darius Madronato the newspaper The country. In addition to actors known in the world for The Money HeistJaime Lorente, Miguel Herran Y Maria Pedraza— and the Mexican star Danna PaolaThese are the reasons why the creation of Carlos Montero is successful again.

1. Current Teen Issues

“Deep down, the desires are very similar,” said director Darío Madrona about the global audience for “Elite.” (Netflix)

The relationship between parents and children is a common theme in the exploration of these series, but Elite has gone a step further by showing contemporary issues of youth. If they seem stereotyped, soon the characters reveal different layers in which they talk about alcohol and drugs, discrimination, machismo, bullying, the effects of social networks, racism, religious conflicts (one of the new students is Muslim), immigration, economic inequality, HIV, and different forms of sexuality and identity.

In season 5, sexual violence is addressed directly, with an accusation of rape against Philippe (who had already violated Cayetana’s intimacy by recording it) and with an attack by several young people on a girl passed out from intoxication. Among the dividing points of the critics is this question: for some, the series exposes something that concerns all adolescents and what was not talked about; for others, he has frivolized a crime.

Alcohol and drugs, discrimination, machismo, bullying, social networks, racism, economic inequality, HIV and sex are the main topics of"Elite".  (Netflix)
Alcohol and drugs, discrimination, machismo, bullying, social networks, racism, economic inequality, HIV and sex are the main themes of “Elite”. (Netflix)

Another outstanding topic, which shows how much the world has changed since the creators of the series were teenagers, is HIV: far from talking about risk groups, we talk about behaviors. The person who suffers from the infection does not comply with the stereotypes of past decades – she is a heterosexual and upper-class girl – and the diagnosis is not fatal, at least in rich countries.

Perhaps a repeated criticism is the lack of diverse bodies, something that in Euphoria was explored with the character of Kat. Montero talked about it with frames: the perfect bodies seen in Elite are “an idealization, a stylization,” he said. “Just as I show swimming pools and dream houses, I also show dream bodies.”

2. An unbeatable genre: the suspense

“Just as I show dream pools and houses, I also show dream bodies,” said Carlos Montero, creator of “Elite.” (Netflix)

Violent death appears to be the leading cause of death among students at Las Encinas. However, the subject does not bore audiences: on the one hand, the script shows revelations —notably after the fourth episode of the fifth season— that lightens the reiteration of the flashback structure. In addition, each chapter closes with a hook: a lack of resolution that leads to seeing the beginning, if only, of the next.

The genre presents an enigma, and part of human nature is to discover the unknown. Faced with a mystery — who did it? — the public becomes one more character, an investigator in search of answers. There are also factors such as danger and hope: the situation may go wrong, but there are elements to believe that it will turn out well. Finally, the thriller allows you to channel negative thoughts and emotions by allowing you to explore the thoughts of a murderer, understand why he acts like this.

3. A soundtrack that falls in love

One reason for the success of "Elite" is its soundtrack, which featured music supervisor Lynn Fainchtein.  (Matías Uris/Netflix)
One reason for the success of “Elite” is its soundtrack, which featured music supervisor Lynn Fainchtein. (Matías Uris/Netflix)

“We have given a lot of importance to music in Elite”, Madrona commented to los40. “We wanted it to be reflected from the adolescent world, to our 40-year-old, with all the rhythms that sound today,” added Montero. “Music is important in a series because it is also important in life: it is the vehicle of emotion.”

The list is in Spotifyand throughout each season it reproduced an ultra-contemporary and popular catalogue, which included the music supervisor lynn fainchstein. have sounded Pol Granch, Rosalía, Rhye, Sacre, Mula, C. Tangana, Tiësto, Lola Indigo, Aime Simone, Hardwell, Bad Gyal, Sprints, Ocie Elliott, Simon Field, REYKO Y alex roseamong many others.

In season 5 there is an electro pop cover of “Cariñito”, the well-known Latin American cumbia, made by the Spanish sandra delaporte Y sergio salvi. You can also listen to Moa Moa, La Bien Querida, Mothermary, Sparkle Division, Bubble Tea and Cigarettes, Flo/So, NWYR, Kelly Lee Owens and even “Adesso É Amore”, by Ennio Morricone.

4. Lots of sex

Sex is an important topic in adolescence, and also in Las Encinas.  (Netflix)
Sex is an important topic in adolescence, and also in Las Encinas. (Netflix)

At the disco. In the shower. In the pool. In the parties. Boy-girl romance, same sex, threesomes, open couples, voyeurism. The hypersexualization of Elite It has been much talked about since the beginning of the series, in particular because it uses sex both from the adolescent fantasy and from the power factor that it implies, and which the plot is generally about.

But not only the impulse of attraction is covered: there is also a lot of romantic back and forth, moving words, vulnerability to falling in love, family and social pressures, casual eroticism of naked bodies. There are characters who explore their bisexuality. And the trans actor Another Puig will play a young trans in the sixth season: “I feel very good to be doing something that I really like, acting, and at the same time helping people who are going through something that I went through at the time, and I had a bad time . Now I can help make sure it doesn’t happen like that.”

Isadora (Valentina Zenere) will bring eroticism to the fifth season of "Elite".  (Netflix)
Isadora (Valentina Zenere) will bring eroticism to the fifth season of “Elite.” (Netflix)

Among the new faces of season 5, in terms of sex, the characters of valentina zenere (Isadora) and of Andre Lamoglia (Ivan).

5. Poor and rich and nouveaux riches

From the beginning, Elite raised the issue of economic and social inequality: the group of adolescents from the exclusive Las Encinas school was joined by three young people from the lower class, whose roof has collapsed in their neighborhood school. The scholarships received by two boys and a girl who come from public education do not enable them to fit in a place from which “the leaders of tomorrow will emerge”, according to a teacher, on which one of the new ones reflects that this is what that’s scary

In addition to poor versus rich, season 5 of "Elite" will pit old money against new.  (Matías Uris/Netflix)
In addition to poor versus rich, Season 5 of “Elite” will pit old and new money against each other. (Matías Uris/Netflix)

The rich kids will be the leaders of tomorrow not because of their own merit but because they are the children of the elite in the 21st century, where the culture of effort and social advancement have lost their meaning and the privileged take care that the next generation inherits their power. There are also strokes of luck: Iván, for example, is the son of the best soccer player in the world, and that is why he is rich. Yet for families like the Blanco Commerfords, there are nuances between old and new money.

The issue of inequality particularly impacted the public in South America, such as Brazil. “We thought that the issue of inequality would be better understood,” Madrona said. “There, elite schools and fortified chalets are normal.” But even in Europe the process of disappearance of the middle classes occurs in some countries, and as in almost all of Latin America and certainly in Las Encinas, either you are poor or you are rich.


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