Reviews Television

Sour strawberries – the ruined remake of a beloved Portuguese TV series

From the official Facebook page for 'Morangos com Açúcar.'

Lisbon, PORTUGAL – “Morangos com Açúcar” (Strawberries with Sugar) is a well-known and beloved Portuguese television series released in 2003 and loved by teenagers.

Although any Portuguese person would say it was a success, but a remake 20 years later by TVI – the same TV channel that transmitted the original series – isn’t so great.

The original series, which had many episodes and several summer specials, took place in Colégio da Barra (Barra School) and followed the life of several teenagers and their school years.

Vítor Fonseca, Tiago Castro, Rita Pereira and Pedro Teixeira are some examples of the characters of the original series. Some of the people who participated in the earlier seasons came back together to do the remake.

According to IMDb, the school used for Colégio da Barra exteriors was “Escola Secundária Sebastião e Silva.” The interiors of the school were shot in “Escola Francisco Arruda” which was used in Season 9 of the original series.

Released on Prime Video last October, the remake caused loads of people, who earlier were obsessed with the original series, to come back and enjoy a little bit of nostalgia.

But they couldn’t have been more wrong.

Even though the remake adopted the same school name and centered on the same topics of high school and teenage problems, it felt like a copy of the famous Netflix series “Elite” and a random investigation series put together with an unusual Portuguese slang.

Rapidly, Portuguese YouTubers like Rúben Branco, started to take pity on it and found out that this remake was being written by older people in their late 40s and 60s – Maria João Mira, André Ramalho and Juan Barros.

Because the remake was supposed to represent teenage years, these writers spoiled the script with slang and expressions that didn’t ring true.

Now let’s talk about the story itself.

According to IMDb, at Colégio da Barra, the new school year starts with two groups: influencers and indies.

Olivia and Miguel meet, but mysterious cyberbullying-related disappearances complicate their romance, as they also compete in a band battle. Olivia is one of the main characters, as well as Miguel, Santiago, and Gabiela, or “Gabi.”

Olivia Campelo, played by Madalena Aragão, is an orphan with family issues who wants to take her younger brothers out of their aunt’s house.

Miguel Navarro, played by Vicente Gil, loves to surf and lives with his dad, who owns a clinic named Clínica Navarro.

Santiago Matoso, played by Rui Pedro Silva, is the son of Crômio [Tiago Castroof], the director of the school.

Gabriela “Gabi” Caiado, acted by Margarida Corceiro, is a popular influencer with various sponsors who hides a family trauma with the death of her mother.

This remake isn’t very consistent and has lots of confusing and unexplained parts. It also talks about controversial topics like fat shaming, homophobia, trauma and drugs.

While the series isn’t even close to perfect, the real gripe is slapping the sequel’s iconic name on a whole new story.

Gone are the school and romance vibes; instead, we get a random mix of missing teens and drug drama that feels worlds away from what made the original so beloved.

Diana Helena is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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