Que Pasa, Tiki Tiki!

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I have interviewed Rosa Parks,  Michael Stipe and the funny guy who sang (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake your Booty with K.C. & the Sunshine Band. There have also been national politicians and country singers and corporate muckety-mucks. They are footnotes in a long career as nosy reporter.

Rosa Parks was a privilege, for sure. The rest of the famous were interesting, but I am not sure meeting, or talking to, any of them made me as giddy as meeting Ana Margarita Menendez, who played Carmencita on ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.?, a television program I watched as a kid in Miami. It ran from 1977 to 1980.

I met her Sunday at Cuba Nostalgia, a weekend event where the food, music and culture of Cuba de ayer is celebrated by the young and old alike.

Marta and I asked her if she would allow us to film her explaining exactly what “the tiki tiki” is to those who don’t understand it. She agreed, offered up this video, and then I hugged her. And she was gracious. (You can see the video we made at Cuba Nostalgia here.)

Thinking about why I got so excited, I can only reason that besides being supremely funny, the show offered up the first look of what it is like to live Latino in a new country. To speak two languages, to balance two cultures and move between the push and the pull of both.

As a young girl watching, it was the only time I saw myself — my experience — on television and honestly, nothing else has come close in the three decades since. At least, for me.

When my husband and I got married, I had him watch ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.? so he’d get it. When he saw me laugh until the tears came, he got it. Even if he only understood half of what they were saying, he knew that the words and actions on the little screen reached me, explained me.

When my 6-year-old is old enough to get it, I will sit her down for marathons of ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.? too. I think it will help her better understand the crazy, funny I come from. And maybe by then, there will be something in pop culture that truly captures her multi-cultural experience too.

Share, por favor!

By Carrie on May 25, 2010 · Posted in featured, videos

14 Comments | Post Comment

Melanie (ModernMami) says:

I had never heard of that show…thanks for sharing! To think, that in 1977 they were speaking full Spanish for a good amount of an episode on TV and now in 2010 we are – well, regressing it seems.
.-= Melanie (ModernMami)´s last blog ..Setting a Good Example for My Children =-.

Posted on May 25th, 2010

Tweets that mention Que Pasa, Tiki Tiki! -- Topsy.com says:

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tiki Tiki Blog and Tiki Tiki Blog, Angel Magaña. Angel Magaña said: RT @TikiTikiBlog: Do you remember Que Pasa, USA? Look! It's Carmencita!!! http://tikitikiblog.com/que-pasa-tiki-tiki/ [...]

Posted on May 25th, 2010

Tracy López says:

Good explanation of “tiki tiki”. This isn’t a term I was familiar with but I’ve inserted it into my mescla of Spanish. Gosh I’m mixed up now though. I learned the basics of formal Spain Spanish in school, adore Mexican and Chicano slang, have been immersed in Salvadoran “Caliche” – and now you’re giving me cute Cubanisms. LOL.

That’s awesome that you got to meet one of your idols and someone who made such an impact on your life. I hadn’t heard of this T.V. show but I watched the video you have here and I really love how they mix Spanish and English equally without apology. I wish they’d do a modern re-make of ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.?
.-= Tracy López´s last blog ..I <3 Miami =-.

Posted on May 25th, 2010

jackie says:

Um, that is before my time, but it is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Posted on May 25th, 2010

Carrie says:

Jackie, I guess I totally dated myself! ha,ha…oh well.

Seriously, while the show played on stereotype, it was so freaking funny and so real that it remains culturally significant today.

Not one single show about Latinos, save for George Lopez, hits home for me. Remember Cane? Wuh.

If you guys want a big crack-up, spend some time on YouTube watching the clips. I love them!

Posted on May 25th, 2010

Amanda says:

That was hilarious!
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Recuperating =-.

Posted on May 25th, 2010

Marcela says:

I love this!

Posted on May 29th, 2010

Blanca Stella says:

Carrie, I remember Que Pasa USA? But it makes me feel old..it definitely is bringing me back into a time warp. Now I have to meet you IRL since I missed you at the Que Rica Vida event. Oye…Que Pasa conmigo?;)
.-= Blanca Stella´s last blog ..Concretar Un Sendero A La Felicidad =-.

Posted on May 29th, 2010

Carrie says:

Blanca, I think the only thing the event needed was a mixer just for media and bloggers. It would have been nice to be in a room together to know for sure whom was whom. I missed a couple of other people I really wanted to meet.

And, for sure, I dated myself on the Que Pasa love, but whatever. Estoy mejor ahora!

La proxima!

Glad you all liked Ana Margo!
.-= Carrie´s last blog ..Latina Bloggers go all Tiki Tiki =-.

Posted on May 31st, 2010

Catherine says:

I have TiVo’d, taped and even skipped class in high school when there was a good episode of “Que Pasa, USA.” Carmensita and the abuela were my favorites… I’m slightly jealous, Carrie.

Posted on June 3rd, 2010

angelica perez says:

What a special treat that video clip of Que Pasa USA? was! Oh, it brought back so many memories of my childhood with my sister and grandmother. I think I was about 10 when I used to watch and I loved it.

Thanks so much for bringing this back to me. This is what the Tiki Tiki is all about!

Angelica

Posted on June 29th, 2010

Melissa says:

I was at Cuba Nostalgia this year and didn’t see her. Bummer. That show IS my family.
Melissa´s last [fabulousness] ..Miami Accent

Posted on September 2nd, 2010

Gina says:

Remezcla is using my favorite Que Pasa Usa?! word on their blog! Jajaja

http://www.remezcla.com/2010/latin/word-of-the-day-papelazo/

Posted on September 29th, 2010

jose cardona says:

I’m am so happy and jealous at the same time. I wanna share this with you. In 2007 this show would come on Sundays at 9pm here in NYC on a Chanel called galavision, and I saw one episode and I was hooked. I would race home from work and be ready to watch this show and always laugh my butt off. This was the only spanish-English show I watched since I wasn’t a big fan of Spanish television..me being Puerto Rican I can relate to the stories alot and the fact the show thru in some comedy made it worth watching, love the show til death and I’m glad that in 2008 I bouth the DVD set of all 39episodes. Anywho have a wonderful day

Posted on August 17th, 2012