Life sometimes has rather sad paradoxes. Last Tuesday, at the same time that the death of the A Coruña writer and professor Miguel López, known on social networks as El Hematocrítico, was known, Mediaset announced the return of tropid humor, a term that he invented in 2012 to describe that unspeakable grace that was born with that historic Who Wants to Marry My Son, which marked the arrival of prime time television in the virality of Twitter (today X), from which it has never left.

This Monday, then, the tropid humor returns to the Cuatro grid with the help of Warner with the following premise: a dozen celebrities, each more outlandish, land by surprise in Nepal with the only mission in mind to go in search of the Nirvana to get the 30,000 euros prize. First two problems: none of them know where Nepal is, or what the hell Nirvana is. Wasn’t it a music group?

Things are already promising. But if an edition focused directly on the viral gag is added to the rather extreme reality mix, the result is hilarious. “I’m a little afraid that we’re going to be left behind,” admits Alejandro Nieto, winner of the penultimate edition of Survivors who rose to fame as a desperate boyfriend in The Island of Temptations. His is the typical profile of the In Search of Nirvana contestant. Among the Nirvaners there are numerous big brothers, several tempted islanders, a few survivors and even a neighborhood princess and a gypsy king.

“The first impression was very shocking,” says Mahi Masegosa, “as I saw them arrive, they were more and more strange.” So that the reader understands the ultimate meaning of this phrase before even watching the first minute of the program, we will only give one piece of information: Mahi has 130 vacuum-packaged wigs at home as her “background.” “They’re like panties for you,” says the woman who wears blue hair today, and she justifies her surprise upon discovering her nine companions: “I’m very folksy inside.” That each of the participants in In Search of Nirvana considered themselves the most normal is almost a definition of the program itself.

“We are going to turn Nepal upside down,” they come out singing loudly from the Kathmandu airport, in front of a group of amazed countrymen who are holding their cell phones without really knowing what they are recording. “They don’t know who the hell I am, but they took a couple of photos of me and that already makes me happy.” Iratxe Soriano, who was a neighborhood princess and defines herself as a “high polygoner,” soon sees that the fate of the program has little or nothing to do with the paradise they imagined: “I thought my neighborhood was chaotic, but everything is can overcome.”

“I was born for luxury; if I don’t have luxury, I’ll kill myself.” Cristo Contreras, from the Contreras dynasty of Los Gipsy Kings of 2018, speaks very seriously to the camera. There is no better statement to test in a country with more than 40% of the population below the poverty line. To start with strength and motivation, the contestants receive a tremendous demonstration of how meditation is good for the body, almost as much as for the soul: a yogi almost effortlessly lifts a 20 kg stone with his genitals. The horror on the faces of the Nirvaners has only just begun.

Divided into two teams, Shiva and Ganesha, the challenges will be both physical (holding a yoga posture to the maximum) and mental (reciting mantras in Nepali by heart). They will compete to accumulate the pot for the final prize, yes, but also to win a quiet night in a luxury hotel or another in a, let’s say, more earthly accommodation. “We have slept among rats, cockroaches, bats, lice, bedbugs…”, Aless Gibaja, influencer and former GH Vip, recalls with a shudder, “we went from maximum luxury to extreme poverty in seconds, and we who thought we were going to a resort on an island…” “Seeing ten characters who have everything in life sunk in fucking misery is a shock that people are going to piss themselves laughing,” summarizes Alejandro Nieto.

In Search of Nirvana is also a first for presenter Raúl Gómez, who rose to fame as Marathon Man and has several contests to his credit, but no reality show. “They introduced me to the 10 contestants and I thought that only something crazy could come out of that,” he says, “they all sounded familiar to me but I didn’t really know any of them, so I had to go without prejudice. It has been nice to see the evolution they have had, not everyone, but almost everyone.” It was not his first time in Nepal, so as soon as he landed he gave two good pieces of advice to his traveling companions: “I taught them to say namaste and to always ask for food that is not spicy at all, because everything there is very spicy.”

Regarding the impact that the format had in a country in which the extravagant and immodest outfits of these characters are, to say the least, exotic, Gómez does not go into details but slips in, with a knowing smile: “There are people from there who still dream with them, Buddhist and Hindu monks who have stopped being monks after meeting them”. In Search of Nirvana also marks the return 10 years later of Raúl Gómez to a Mediaset in full transformation. “I think people miss the tropid world,” he says, “there is a whole generation that doesn’t know that crazy editing that can turn a sequence in which absolutely nothing happens into something delirious.” And he says: “Television lacks laughter, this is ibuprofen for the soul. And for free!”

“The program is a continuous outtake,” summarizes Jaime Guerra, director of Content Production at Mediaset. “It’s like when you sit on the toilet and before you know it, you’ve been watching TikTok for half an hour,” argues a less diplomatic Mahi Masegosa. “It has everything: adventure, coexistence, humor, fights, laughter, incredible places,” lists Aless Gibaja, “it’s like a mix of Beijing Express and Survivors starring those from Gandía Shore.” Baby word.