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TV Series Review

“Nothing bad ever happens at the Riviera Grand.”

Except that it does—a lot. It just so happens that Santiago and Gigi Mendoza are really good at covering it all up. Of course, money and influence probably have a lot to do with that. Too bad their luck (and money) are both starting to run out.

Home Sweet Hotel?

Alicia Mendoza, Santiago’s daughter, has returned home from college after earning her MBA from Cornell. She’s been preparing to run the Riviera her whole life, and she is full of ideas on how to improve it.

Unfortunately, shortly after arriving, she finds out that her father is selling her beloved hotel to her stepsister’s new fiancé. Turns out Santiago has been borrowing money from "not-the-bank," and he can’t think of any other way to repay his debts. But Alicia’s not letting it go without a fight. The Riviera Grand is her home: It holds all the memories of her dearly departed mother, and the staff adores her (including a new waiter named Danny).

But sweet Alicia doesn’t have time for romance. And she’ll have to get a lot more conniving if she wants to save her family’s hotel. For one, there’s the “evil” stepmother and stepsisters. “They’re harmless if you just ignore the hideous things they say,” she says. But are they? We already know that Gigi is helping her husband cover up a missing line cook, Sky. Not to mention whatever secret Sky was threatening to expose about Santiago.

Alicia’s brother, Javi, hates their new stepfamily as much as Alicia does. Alas, he isn’t much help. Javi has a bionic leg (which Santiago is apparently responsible for) and spends his days feeling sorry for himself and picking up female guests by the pool. To be fair, he recognizes that he’s a bit of a screw-up and praises his sister for her hard work at college, but his playboy ways are definitely going to cause him trouble.

'Upstairs, Downstairs' Vibes

The staff of the Riviera is dedicated and hard-working, but they have their own issues as well. Helen Parker, the manager, practically raised Alicia and Javi alongside her own son, Jason. But if the hotel is sold, she and everyone else will be out of a job.

Meanwhile Jason, who’s been working there since high school, is obviously in love with Ingrid. But she’s pregnant with coworker Mateo’s baby. And remember how I said that Javi’s playboy ways are going to cause trouble? Well, they already are. When Mateo doesn’t step up the way Ingrid had hoped, she tells Javi that the baby is his. So it'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

And we can’t forget new hire, Danny. Helen doesn’t like him – especially when she finds out his resume is fake. But the Riviera is desperate for good workers; and after Danny helps break up a fight at Carolina’s wedding, he has the boss man’s approval. It won’t be that easy, though. He’ll have to keep up this façade if he wants to spend more time with Alicia, and more importantly, if he wants to find out what really happened to his sister, Sky. It’s been a month since her mysterious disappearance during a hurricane, and even Alicia thinks her father’s silence on the matter is strange.

If all that sounds pretty soapy, it is. This TV-14 ABC drama is drenched in lewd behavior (albeit at network TV levels): drinking, greed, sex, betrayal, vengeance and possibly murder. And even the "good guys" here don't always play nice. Alicia and Danny are painted as the protagonists, but neither is above lying and manipulating. Likewise, Helen and Jason are the arguably the most morally grounded characters here. But even they share an angry streak, and we still don’t know much about their pasts.

Grand Hotel may have some more shocking twists and turns locked away in secret rooms. But overall, the content issues in themselves are anything but shocking, but rather predictably problematic.

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Episode Reviews

June 17: "Pilot"



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Demián Bichir as Santiago Mendoza; Roselyn Sanchez as Gigi Mendoza; Denyse Tontz as Alicia Mendoza; Bryan Craig as Javi Mendoza; Wendy Raquel Robinson as Helen Parker; Lincoln Younes as Danny Garibaldi; Chris Warren as Jason; Justina Adorno as Yoli; Feliz Ramirez as Carolina; Shalim Ortiz as Mateo; Anne Winters as Ingrid; Jencarlos Canela as El Rey; Arielle Kebbel as Sky Garibaldi






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Emily Baker

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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