"Yes! Scientifically speaking, that is who I am!"
Carlos is a Latino scientist who arrives in Night Vale in Pilot. He is described as having a voice like caramel with oaky tones, dark and delicate skin, black hair with a "dignified, if premature, touch of gray at his temples", and a strong, square jaw and teeth "like a military cemetery." He wears a lab coat and appears in a later episode wearing a flannel shirt and jeans. He lives in or near his laboratory, which is next to Big Rico's Pizza and drives a Hybrid Coupe.
He has an unexplained source of funding to support his laboratory, equipment and studies. It is never clarified what kind of scientist he is, although in an email to Cecil in Orange Grove, he says he is not a botanist or a dendrologist, adding "I am a scientist. I study science, not plants or nature." Given that he calls Night Vale "the most scientifically interesting community in the U.S.", he is probably a student of anomalous phenomena along with his more traditional specialties.
He initially leads a team of scientists who investigate various phenomena in Night Vale. Upon their arrival, the team's first action is to call a town meeting and explain their intentions to the residents, where Carlos tells everyone in attendance that Night Vale is the most scientifically interesting community in America and that they intend to study the strange goings-on.
Carlos and his team first investigate the nonexistent house in the Desert Creek housing development, and they ended up standing in the street in front of it, daring each other to go up and knock. In episode 3, they report that books have "stopped working." In One Year Later, they were offering $5 to anyone willing to ring the doorbell on the nonexistent house, and in episode 30, Dana, they actually offer this money to Carlos himself, but he refuses for reasons of "scientific integrity."
Unlike most of Night Vale's long time residents, Carlos is not blasé about the strange and horrible events that occur in the small town and is often mentioned investigating the bizarre phenomena. Although Cecil is initially fearful for Carlos' life, Carlos, in turn, quickly becomes fearful for the people of Night Vale and tries to warn them about various dangers and events they seem unmoved by or enthusiastic about. His first attempt at trying to protect residents was when he visited the radio station. Upon picking up high levels of radioactivity from Cecil's mic, he gravely recommends that everyone in the station leave immediately (advice they cheerfully ignore).
Carlos is intensely focused on his work and, at first, refuses to speak to Cecil on personal matters or meet with him for anything other than urgent town phenomena related discussion. Up to episode 25, Carlos is either oblivious to Cecil's affections for him, or willfully chooses to ignore them. However, he does keep Cecil's home phone number, as well as his cell number. It is possible, as evidenced especially in episode 11, that Carlos appears to ignore Cecil's advances not just because of his work, but also because he gets flustered and nervous around Cecil, or doesn't know how to react.
When the two do finally begin dating, Carlos is still distractedly interested in science, inviting Cecil to do experiments on the trees with him in Mission Grove Park during their first date, and discussing science-related topics over dinner. However, he does at least seem to note Cecil's disappointment at not being invited into his lab/apartment after their date and kisses him gently goodnight. In episode 31, Cecil complains about this facet of his personality when Carlos mentions he would like to study the sudden appearance of a mountain outside of town. Carlos apparently has to be reminded that he needs to give more importance to aspects of his life outside of work and promises to make Cecil dinner before he returns to science, a promise he later keeps. He is also described multiple times as 'industrious' by Cecil in episode 35, due his apparent continuing of household chores despite the rest of the town being too lazy to move. In the specially written live show, Cecil also bemoans the fact that Carlos is never direct about what he means, attributing this to his scientific mind.
Despite his apparent shortcomings, including allusions to the fact that Carlos apparently had to be taught to call beforehand when canceling dates in favor of science, Cecil describes Carlos as caring and reliable once their relationship begins to settle down. Carlos is also noted as being brave, specifically when standing up to a "deranged" Teddy Williams and his militia in One Year Later. He jumps down into the pit in the Bowling Alley without hesitation and tries to reassure the town's people that there is no danger. He is also (in theory) the only one willing to ring the bell of the non-existent house, even though he won't take the $5 offered to him, citing his scientific integrity.
Carlos is loved and almost worshipped by Cecil, who fell instantly in love with him during a town meeting soon after Carlos' arrival. Cecil speaks of Carlos often on his radio program, making no effort to disguise his open adoration, although Carlos often seems indifferent, or perhaps just unaware of Cecil's feelings. Whether intentionally or not, he's mentioned shooting down Cecil's requests for a date, usually just returning to his work.
However, in One Year Later, after a near death experience, it was revealed that Carlos does in fact reciprocate Cecil's affections, calling Cecil to meet with him in Arby's parking lot, where the two share a tender moment, watching the sunset together while sitting on the trunk of his car. They later begin dating and are currently in a steady relationship.
It is known that Carlos avidly listens to the radio, stating that he listens "every time [Cecil's] on" in Condos. He sometimes enlists his help in getting the word out to the town's people about strange or dangerous goings on.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Carlos was originally voiced by Night Vale co-writer Jeffrey Cranor. According to fellow Night Vale writer Joseph Fink, Lou Fernandez of Lou Reads the Internet for You is an experienced voice actor and was the first choice to play Carlos. However, it was decided that Carlos ought to be voiced by someone who could be called in at a moment's notice and Cecil Baldwin suggested that Jeffrey use his "expert voice" to play the part himself.
Cranor voiced Carlos up until December 2013, when it was decided that the show ought to seek out a new actor. With live shows becoming more popular and the voice actors being present in front of audiences and in the media, Cranor expressed his discomfort at the fact that he was a straight white man playing a gay Latino, when various Latino actors were available and could be paid to voice the part instead, and cited this as one of the reasons for the change. Dylan Marron was chosen.