7 Vidas is a Spanish sitcom which was broadcast on Telecinco between 1999 and 2006. The translation of the show’s title is “7 lives” and the symbol of the show is a cat in reference to the belief that Spanish cats have seven lives, not nine as in English-speaking countries. 7 Vidas was originally inspired by the American blockbuster “Friends”. At its start it wasn’t a great audience success, but the show gained more and more popularity season after season. It became definitely one of the most popular Spanish sitcom series of all time and introduced the Spanish viewing public to future stars such as Hollywood actress Paz Vega, Aída actress Carmen Machi, El Internado actress Amparo Baró and Dr Mateo actor Gonzalo de Castro.
This Spanish sitcom tells the story of a group of friends in Madrid. Characters came and went and by the end of the series the only character who had appeared in the first chapter and lasted until its end was Sole, played by Amparo Baró. Other long-standing characters, and the two most popular, in addition to Sole, were Gonzalo (Gonzalo de Castro), a waiter who later became a main character, and Diana (Anabel Alonso), a frustrated actress, and a naïve lesbian. She was the first homosexual character on Spanish TV that didn’t follow the usual stereotypes. Many scenes of 7 Vidas were set in Gonzalo’s café, “Kasi Ke No” (just as many Friends scenes were set in the Central Perk Café), Sole’s house and Carlota’s house.
The script of 7 Vidas was well-known for poking fun at current events, politicians and celebrities and often contained a lot of risqué jokes. It was also known for its cameos of famous people, including Shakira, El Canto del Loco, politician Santiago Carrillo and footballer Samuel Eto’o. By the time the show reached its final episode it had clocked up 204 episodes. Its popularity led in 2005 to a spin-off Spanish sitcom, Aída, based around the popular 7 Vidas character of the same name played by Carmen Machi, known for her vulgarity and her representation of a “typical” working class Spanish woman. The series was set in a new Madrid context, with entirely new characters, though some characters from 7 Vidas appeared in some episodes.