Live the nostalgia of ‘¿Qué Pasa, USA?’ this Saturday

Formerly known as Rocky Echeverria, Steven Bauer will revisit his character Joe in the staged version of the show. Miami Herald Archives

The nostalgia that most people (ahem — people of a certain age, that is) have for the PBS show “¿Qué Pasa, USA?” is hard to describe. The sitcom, which was the first bilingual comedy in the country, first aired in 1977, following the adventures of the Peña family. All three generations — the abuelos, who spoke only Spanish; the parents, who would code switch; and the children, who responded almost exclusively in Spanglish — lived in their Little Havana home, dealing with the heartbreaking nostalgia of separation from Cuba, navigating the complexities of adapting to American culture and trying to forge a new identity in a Miami that wasn’t exactly greeting immigrants with a red carpet. 

Anyone who is longing to revisit the misadventures of the Peña family can get a huge dose of nostalgia this Saturday at A.D. Barnes Park, which is hosting a “¿Qué Pasa, USA?” binge-watching session featuring five episodes of the classic show. The event, the first in the Ludlam Fall Events Series (which will also include film screenings and yoga events), is also a chance to introduce the next generation to the series. It ran for only three seasons but left an indelible cultural mark. 

Which episodes will they screen? Will it be the one in which Carmen insists on having a “sweet fifteens” party? Or the episode in which Abuela is convinced the family is going to dump her in a nursing home? Or perhaps the infamous episode in which brother Joe dreams that his abuelos can only speak English and his sister Carmen can only speak Spanish? Classics all. 

Also on the agenda for the evening: Cuban coffee and food, mojitos, food trucks and other entertainment for the whole family. The special guest of the event is none other than Barbara Ann Martin, who played Carmen’s American friend Sharon. Make sure to ask her “¿Qué pasa?”