Buddy Villa (VEE-yuh), a Hollywood bit-part actor. Buddy is a fifty-seven-year-old Chicano who has risen from the barrio of East Los Angeles to a comfortable middle-class suburban life. Buddy is fiercely proud of having achieved the American Dream of material success, even though it has been bought with an ignoble career playing stereotypical roles such as gardeners or “banditos.” Buddy rationalizes his position by pointing to the comfortable life it has given his family and by anointing himself and his wife “The Silent Bit King and Queen of Hollywood.” Such bravado compensates for the frustration of never rising to better roles. Buddy’s frustration is manifested by his continuous daydreams of new films in which he is the star. Buddy’s latent bitterness toward Anglo America is often expressed by his reference to a film in which he played a bandit who dismisses the authorities with the line, “I don’t have to show you no stinking badges!”
Connie Villa, Buddy’s wife, also a bit-part actress. Connie is a forty-eight-year-old Chicana who only recently joined her husband in film work after a life as a conventional homemaker. Although Connie works professionally only when she can do so in tandem with Buddy, she quietly yearns for better roles and personal independence. When she is offered a speaking role, Buddy refuses her permission to accept the...
(The entire section is 490 words.)