In Season 3, “Acapulco” Remains Maximalist Fun with Heart

Apple TV Acapulco key art

Apple TV+’s colorful work comedy, Acapulco, is finishing its third season after a year and a half off the air and it may be better than ever. Created by Austin Winsberg, Eduardo Cisneros, and Jason Shuman, the hit bilingual series stars Emmy and SAG Award winner Eugenio Dérbez (Instructions Not Included, Overboard), who continues to find entertaining and uplifting ways to portray the “self-history” of its protagonist, Máximo Gallardo Ramos.

Loosely inspired by the movie How to Be a Latin Lover, the Acapulco series goes back and forth between the 80’s and the present to show how Máximo Gallardo, a humble pool attendant, becomes a powerful Mexican tycoon. In the present time, an adult version of Máximo Gallardo (Eugenio Dérbez), tells his mischievous 14-year-old nephew Hugo (Raphael Alejandro) the story of his youthful experiences in Acapulco, Mexico. Meanwhile, in the joyous 1980s, a naïve young version of Máximo (Enrique Arrizon), tries to make his way in the resort of Las Colinas, as he deals with family conflicts and disappointments in love.

Told in both Spanish and English, Acapulco is filled with humor, Latin flavor, and an impressive, maximalist aesthetic.

Season Three Lets the Cast Shine

Acapulco has already carved out a comic identity of its own by its third season so it can now expand its world, which gets richer as we learn more about its non-Máximo inhabitants.

In 1985, Máximo is finally with Julia, the girl of his dreams, and has earned a well-deserved promotion to the surprisingly challenging Assistant Operations Manager at Las Colinas. From the daily hustle and bustle to the unusual whims of guests to extravagant events, the young man discovers many secrets and the less charming side of hotel management. Determined to conquer his growing ambitions, the twenty-something spends his days tempted to cross certain lines he shouldn’t.

One of the smartest things Winsberg, Cisneros, and Shuman do is to lean on their committed cast and let them develop and shine, making us care about the gentle Máximo, his endearing and loyal friend Memo (Fernando Carsa), the talented designer Julia (Camila Perez), the Casanova of the pool Hector (Rafael Cebrián), the spoiled and clueless Chad (Chord Overstreet), the diligent Chief of Operations Don Pablo (Damian Alcazar), and the former telenovela star turned entrepreneur Diane (Jessica Collins). Beyond their initial comedic roles, each and every one returns with notably expanded storylines.

They Keep It Balanced

Like Ted Lasso, Acapulco strives to keep a healthy balance between its charismatic lead performance (Dérbez and Arrizon, each with something valuable to offer) and a handful of equally entertaining supporting characters.

For example, midway through the season, Héctor, the flamboyant hunk from the pool area, gets his own arc in Take a Chance on Me. Without being overly sentimental or cloying, the episode delves into the inner and family life of one of the cast’s most promising characters. Meanwhile, in the present, Máximo finds himself back in Las Colinas and deeply repulsed by how much the iconic resort has changed. He can’t just revisit his favorite memories, he has to confront his messy relationships and regrets. It’s a smartly balanced episode in a season full of them.

And Make the Most Out of Guest Stars

Jamie Camil in Acapulco

Guest stars joining the third installment include Jaime Camil (Jane the Virgin), Karen Rodriguez (Swarm), and Cristo Fernandez (Ted Lasso). Camil is brilliant as Alejandro Vera, the sexy new co-owner of Las Colinas. The same can be said for Fernandez, who brings to life Gustavo, Máximo’s artistic and reckless son-in-law. For her part, the hilarious Karen Rodriguez steals the show as Dulce, Memo’s cunning sister, who now works inside the resort and is ready to be Máximo’s rival.

Acapulco Gets the Big and the Little Things Rights

Whoever’s on screen, Acapulco remains a series about chasing dreams, self-improvement, human warmth, the hotel world, and acts of service and hospitality. Season three adds to this mix by exploring themes such as human ambition, work ethic, the costs of an all-consuming career, reconciliation, and new beginnings.

Plus, if there’s one thing we can trust, it’s that Acapulco’s production design and set look as bright and flashy as ever. This is a show that dresses every scene with charming details of yesteryear. I loved, for example, seeing the return of the poolside musicians (the incredible performers Rossana De Leon and Rodrigo Urquidi), who energetically sing Spanish-language versions of great ’80s classics, splashing us with nostalgia. So, while Acapulco’s fourth season has not yet been confirmed, I’m rooting for it. It would be quite a treat to return to Las Colinas and spend more time with Máximo, Memo, and all the well-meaning Latinos who bring the hotel to life.

The final episode of Acapulco’s third season premieres Wednesday, June 26 on Apple TV+.

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