El Nombre is set in the fictional town of Santa Flamingo ("deep in the heart of Mexico"), home of Little Juan, Maria Consuela Tequilla Chiquita, Little Pepita Consuela Tequilla Chiquita, Tanto the friendly tarantula spider, El Gelato the ice-cream seller, Leonardo de Sombrero the pizza delivery boy, Senior Calculo the Bank Manager and the local bully Don Fandango. Whenever he is needed, El Nombre swings into action to solve the townspeople's simple mathematical problems, usually talking in rhyme. His character is a parody of the fictional hero Zorro, wearing a similar black cowl mask and wide sombrero, appearing unexpectedly to save the town folk from misjustice and generally swinging around on his bullwhip. However, unlike Zorro, he is often quite inept.
Initially, El Nombre's function was merely to write numbers in the sand to demonstrate the correct way to form a number. This was shot from an angle directly overhead leaving El Nombre almost completely eclipsed by his large sombrero. His appeal was instant and his success prompted rapid development of his role in the series. Since the basic beginning El Nombre has completed 7 educational series (his segment on Number Time) and grown into a 4-5 minute slot, acquiring dramatic storylines, a full cast of characters, and continued to demonstrate mathematical concepts albeit in a dramatic & entertaining way. Episodes have moved away from solving simple mathematical equations to fighting petty crime, unrelated to the number-solving which made his name and for which he was conceived.
As well as being popular with school children, El Nombre has developed a cult following amongst students and parents because of the many references to classic spaghetti Westerns. Indeed, his popularity has grown so much that in March 2004, the El Nombre theme song was released as a single.
El Nombre actually means "The Name" in Spanish, not "The Number" which would be "El Numero".