So, in the last few weeks, I’ve been marathoning episodes of the Spanish series, “Hospital Central”, which for anyone not familiar with it, it is a prime time ensemble soap like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “ER”, set in the city of Madrid. I first heard about this show several years ago because of the lesbian relationship that started between the new peadiatrician, Doctora Macarena [Maca] Fernandez Wilson (played by Patricia Vico) and ER Nurse Esther Garcia (played by Fátima Baeza).
The story of Maca and Esther starts in the 8th season on a bit of a rough note – Maca arrives and Esther mistakenly thinks she’s the new nurse that’s supposed to be orientating but is late. Maca’s a bit rude to her and they have a couple run ins over the course of a couple episodes. Maca’s family are fairly wealthy but she uses her mother’s maiden name rather than her father’s when she moved to Madrid (from Jerez) after a bad break up, but the Central staff soon learn of her family background. Over a cooking class they start to form a friendship.
In episode 8×04, the episode starts off with Esther walking to work to find out someone is following beside her on a motorcycle, which it turns out to be Maca. Maca offers Esther a ride to work on the back of her bike, which Esther does despite initial trepidation. When they arrive at the hospital, Maca parks her bike and Esther says that her legs are still a little wobbly. [Ed note: okay, *I* would have been wobbly sitting right behind Maca on that bike, but it would NOT have been about nerves of riding on a motorcycle – rather a whole different kinda tension]. they work very well together taking care of patients.
After a long, crappy shift (8×06), Esther goes into the break room and flops down on the couch, where Maca’s been absently flicking through a magazine [it’s been a relatively quieter day for her and several times she’s looked for Esther to go for tea/coffee]. Maca offers to give Esther’s shoulders a massage and tries on a bit of seduction with Esther, kissing the other woman on the neck, which kinda freaks her out a bit. But by the next episode, Esther keeps trying to hunt down Maca. Finding the peaditrician doing some paperwork in cafeteria, she wants to talk about Maca’s kisses. Maca apologizes that she didn’t mean to offend Esther, but what surprises her is that not only is Esther not offended, she wants to repeat the kisses. Maca’s elated but says they have time (also, they’re in the cafeteria at the moment). As Maca leaves the room, Esther’s relieved and excited. Esther and Hector (another ER doc) are treating a young couple of women, both injured from diving. After a little bit of time with them, it becomes apparent to Esther and Hector that the two women love each other. As Hector and Esther head to the elevator, talking about the couple, when they get there, Maca’s already in the elevator. Hector keeps talking about the young lesbian couple and how sweet he thinks the couple is, precious love, meanwhile Maca & Esther keep looking at each other with barely contained tension. When the elevator dings for the next floor, Esther all but rushes him out and before the door closes, she lands a kiss on Maca’s lips, then tightly hugs her, nuzzling into the taller woman’s neck. They get caught by Rusti when the door opens again. Maca apologizes before they both break out in laughter. Thus begins the Maca y Esther love story.
Lots of kisses, many interrupted (which rather becomes a running joke on the show during the first year or two), and the lovely thing about their relationship was that no one really minded that the two women were together. Okay, initially, Teresa (receptionist in the ER) was concerned for Esther since it was her first time in a relationship with another woman, but she was happy that Esther was happy.
Despite the usual soapy nature of things, they married, had a baby boy via IVF, temporarily separated when Maca returned home with baby to help care for her father [allowing Patricia Vico maternity leave], Esther has a one night stand and of course an accidental pregnancy (Fátima’s real life pregnancy), they get back together (sort of), a sick baby needed a sibling stem cell donation (so Esther’s second pregnancy is an IVF one with same father. Maca starts an affair with a new psychiatrist, Veronica (Vero), but Maca decides she wants to get back with her family. Maca has an unexpected medical diagnosis of Sclerosis but is treated for it. Esther starts a relationship w/ a married woman, Bea, but dumps her as she’s fallen back under Maca’s spell. Crazy ex decides to take a dive from a multi-storey building, pulling Esther with her. Maca & Esther get back together, again. All of this over 11 seasons. Despite the break ups and craziness typical of soaps, there’s still a deep love between them that keeps pulling them back to each other. A super-couple. In fact, theirs is one of the longest running love stories on the show that’s been on the air since 2000 (the show sometimes ran 2 seasons/year as there were 15-22 eps per season).
Season 19 (2010/2011) would be the last for the couple as the network and producers decided to wrap up their storyline. Mid season, Fátima Baeza (Esther) and Patricia Vico (Maca) left the show; Fátima in episode 8 (though reappeared at the end of ep 10), and Patricia in episode 10. Both also appeared together briefly in the final episode of Season 19 (ep20). Maca’s end story involved a young lesbian couple, one of whom was a patient who was on dialysis and required a kidney transplant. Because the patient (Sol) was a minor (17), the hospital was legally obligated to call them, although they hadn’t been part of her life recently. Alma, her partner had been the one to take care of Sol while she was sick. Once the parents were called in, the father didn’t want Alma anywhere near Sol. Thankfully, Maca advocated strongly for the couple, and for Alma’s right to look after Sol, who’s fire and spirit reminded her of Esther (who had already moved with the kids to Buenos Aires for a job). Below are the scenes for that final story. It was a nice bookend to the show’s love story for Maca & Esther to have a young lesbian couple bring them once back together again (Esther had a job offer in Buenos Aires which was why she left first; Maca’s love for Esther made her overcome her fear of flying.
Over the course of the show, since I have seen full episodes of much of the show, I grew to really like many other characters: Dra Cruz Gandara, Dr. Rodolfo Vilches (occasionally, when he wasn’t being an ass), Dra Claudia Castillo, Dra Laura Llanos, Dr David Gimeno, Receptionist Teresa Montoro, Dra Leire Duran, Dra Veronica Sole, nurses Alicia Monastiero, Eva Mendez, and Monica de la Fuente, & Guille Vilches, Dr Hector Behar, Dr. Javier Satomayor (occasionally, when he wasn’t being an ass), Dra Lola Sans, Rusti, Diego. Some were only present for a couple years, others for many years.
Telecinco now has full episodes (~1hr10-1h15 min length each, with no ads) from S1-19 streaming online, though as I mentioned above the Maca and Esther storyline starts in series 8.
All these Maca and Esther have to do is smile at each other and I go to mush. It’s like GL’s Otalia, but on speed. 🙂 and the bonus is that it has improved my Spanish language comprehension. The fact that I’m a nurse myself makes the medical terminology easier to understand.