The episode: “Gamera,” ep. 302
The riff: Observed by Tom as a Latin guitar beat strikes up on the soundtrack out of nowhere. NOTE: This episode isn’t on YouTube, but here is the clip with the music.
The explanation: “Charo” is the everyday name for actress/musician Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza (what a mouthful). She was a household name in the 1970s, known for her odd catchphrase “Cuchi-cuchi.” As the years went on, she became something of an object of mockery, appearing on a lot of celebrity reality shows and generally fitting the stereotype of the aging sex symbol who won’t let age set in naturally. Despite this, she remains quite a talented guitarist to this day.
Novelty factor: I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I had never heard of Charo until seeing her on VH1’s “The Surreal Life” back in 2004. Those shows emphasize all the worst attributes of a person so much that I didn’t even learn she was a guitarist until this moment. How sad is that?