As I watch the first couple episodes of Corazón Salvaje, I am already hooked. Mónica was engaged to Andrés, but Andrés forgot about Mónica and fell in love with her sister, Aimeé. BUT Aimeé fell for Andrés illegitimate brother, the pirate Juan del Diablo. Based on the cover of the DVD, however, Mónica and Juan look like they will be the happy couple once all is said and done. Oh the drama! I love it. No shame.
Corazón Salvaje is a Mexican telenovela de época, set in 1900 on the Atlantic coast of Mexico, in Puerto de Veracruz. If a telenovela is a spectacle of emotions, then this series fits the bill perfectly. Within the first half hour, there were betrayals, heartbreaks and newfound love. There is a double love triangle between two sets of siblings, and the future mother-in-law is definitely taking on the archetypically evil role.
All signs indicate that this is a telenovela rosa. But there are a few twists that I did not expect. First of all, there’s the structure. As we learned in class, usually the series starts off with the first encounter of the protagonists. They fall in love and are happy for a moment, until we launch into a series of obstacles, problems and misunderstandings that take us through the rest of the series until we finally reach the happy end. In Corazón Salvaje, however, the protagonists did not even meet for quite a while — and when they did, the encounter was brief and sans-love. In fact, both characters are in love with other people. I can definitely see how they will end up together — since they are in love with each other’s evil siblings — but the story’s structure is certainly a-typical.
Secondly, I am noticing that the gender roles appear to be reversed — at least as far as the Cinderella story goes. I expected Mónica to be the poor, pure Cinderella who ends up with the rich, handsome gentleman. On the contrary, Mónica is a wealthy countess. Yes, she is an innocent virgin, but the Cinderella character appears to be Juan del Diablo. Although he is a pirate and certainly not a virgin, he possesses most of the qualifying characteristics. Juan is poor and has grown up fending for himself. Unbeknownst to him, he is actually the bastard son of a wealthy man, the true heir to his father’s inheritance. He is emotionally pure as well, even if not physically. Other characters describe him as good and kind — he takes care of the poor people in town, who know him as their hero.
I cannot wait to see how the rest of this story unfolds. The drama is so fun — and such a pleasant escape from daily life. Maybe that is why telenovelas are so wildly popular. They offer viewers an alternate reality — and one in which they know that despite the hardships, everything will end happily. Sounds great to me!