Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Initial Thoughts on Destilando Amor

The telenovela I've decided to analyze this semester is entitled Destilando Amor. This Mexican telenovela is set in a small rural Mexican farming town, where "La Gaviota," a rancher, falls in love with Rodrigo, the wealthy grandson of the ranch-owning family and the newly appointed head of the ranch. I'm only a few episodes in, but from what I've watched so far, I've been able to determine that this telenovela is a classic "telenovela rosa". Every intense situation is extremely melodramatic and each shocking moment ends with a zoom-in close-up on a character's face with dramatic music for emphasis. Here's the "entrada" for a visual:

Regardless of the melodrama, I'm enjoying Destilando Amor so far. However, there have been a few instances thus far in which I haven't been in total agreement with what the writers are implying. For example:

  • Rodrigo's persistence in winning back Gaviota. Gaviota goes abroad for a year, and within that period of time Rodrigo marries another woman, Isadora, simply to spite Gaviota. However, once Gaviota returns and Rodrigo realizes his misunderstanding, he will not stop pursuing Gaviota in an attempt to win her back (he's married to Isadora during all this). I understand how this is supposed to be seen as romantic and as though the love that Rodrigo has for Gaviota is so deep and strong that he will not stop before he wins her back; however, the problem I'm having with this gesture is that Gaviota asks Rodrigo to let her move on multiple times. She reminds him that he is married and that she can have nothing to do with him, and yet he persists. The implied message I get from this is that when a woman says "no" she really means "yes," she just doesn't know it. It implies that Rodrigo knows more about how Gaviota feels than Gaviota does, and furthermore it implies that men are capable of telling women what and how they feel. Hopefully as I get further into the telenovela this implication will stop being so prominent.
  • Another implication I don't agree with entirely is found in the portrayal of Isadora, Rodrigo's wife. I understand that Isadora is the antagonist and that she stands in the way of the true love between Rodrigo and Gaviota (and forms a part of the "love triangle" that is integral to the telenovela), but it seems as though what she wants is not entirely evil and unfair. Rodrigo made a commitment to her, and he promised her a future when he married her. When Gaviota returns and Rodrigo decides he wants to divorce, Isadora refuses. The portrayal of this refusal implies that Isadora is heartless and cruel, but in reality she has every right to react as she does, given that she and Rodrigo are legally bound. Rodrigo's demands to break his promise because someone he desires more came along implies that men have the right to commit and then change their minds on a whim. Writing Isadora's character to seem crazy and obsessive when all she wants is for Rodrigo to keep the promise he made to her seems like an unfair portrayal.
Because Destilando Amor is such a traditional telenovela rosa, many of the questions I've been asking are related to the idea of "machismo" and patriarchal character portrayals. These issues are definitely on my mind as I watch, but I'm also hopeful that the female characters will gain some respect as the telenovela progresses.

1 comment:

  1. I thought I had commented on this post way back because it stuck with me. It sounds weird but your point about the "bad woman" not really being a bad woman she just expects her husband to keep his marriage vows made me think about many of the antagonists in film and television. In the show Scandal, for example, you love the protagonist who is in love with the president of the United States who is married to another woman (perhaps this writer got her ideas from a novela??) The wife is not evil or cruel, she just loves her husband and having political power. But we, the audience, are fed into the mindset of the wife being bad because we are so sold on the love story. I wonder if in any way the writers are pulling a Leonardo Padron to try and get their audience to ask these questions you are asking.
    Seriously great post