Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Initial Rant (contains spoilers)

I think this first blog post will be a little bit of a rant but I had a lot to say after I binge watched the first five episodes of my telenovela this weekend. By the way if anyone is planning on watching Escobar either for class or just for fun (DO IT!) there are spoilers in this blog post. Read with caution.

My Telenovela is Pablo Escobar el patron del mar. So far for typology (I’m on episode six) I can see that it is a narcotelenovela geared towards the adult age group. There is a definite love story between Pablo and Patricia. The first obstacle between their love was her brother. They circumvented that quickly though. It could also be said that there is a kind of metaphoric love story brewing between Pablo and money/power, which is fascinating to watch. I can see this second love being a further obstacle to the central love story between Pablo and Particia. Even from the first episode when Gonzalo says “only that kind of money can give you such security” (discussing El Alguacil) the idea of ‘money is everything’ rose to the forefront. Within this story money even seems to be powerful enough to wash away all sins. For example, in episode two when Escobar is released from prison after being charged with bank robbery the family is still happy to see him. As if the bank robbery did not happen and their long time family friend hadn’t just mysteriously been murdered. This occurs again in episode five when Pablo buys a helicopter and he’s dad says “Another fine achievement” but remains either painfully ignorant or has succumb to self induced ignorance at how his son can afford a helicopter.

Money is a common theme but money does not buy class or acceptance (the country club for example). At first I thought of this as a sort of Cinderella story, from rags to riches but it is not that simple. True, they have all they could want and give generously to family, friends and neighbors but they are not accepted among people of their same tax bracket. A Cinderella story of a negative sort: from selling smuggled cigarettes to killing and kidnapping (I’m not at the kidnapping yet but I know it is coming).

Also, a family member died in the series (the youngest brother Yerson) and I was surprised about how said I felt. Dr. A was not kidding when she said how emotionally attached people can get to telenovelas and this character wasn’t even a huge part of the series. But I seriously almost cried and I am not ashamed! It was sad, like the death of innocence in the show. Yerson was the only adult who wasn’t in some way a part of or corrupted by Pablo’s enterprise. He was going to be the one who studied and made a future for himself through legal means. In a way, he represented hope and the carefree lifestyle that comes with being a teenage boy. Now, perhaps, Pedro’s son, Emilio, will take on that role.

I also have to give credit to the telenovela world for their excellent timing when it comes to the plot. Timing is vital in humor and with the unveiling of bad news. Here however, the introduction of the cocaine business near the end of episode two and full-fledged beginning in episode 3 left enough time to see Escobar’s childhood then introduction to illegal life and finally to the production and sale of cocaine, what most viewers tuned in to see. It was not in your face HERE IS THE COCAINE BUSINESS!!!! but more steady, giving the audience breadcrumbs in the first and only episode where Pablo is not directly involved in the production of cocaine.

I feel a little sad at not being able to be a part of the ritual of sitting down with a million+ other viewers to watch it every night. But like a Netflix binge on a tv series it’s pretty satisfying to get through many episodes in a weekend while having something to look forward to after school or work. My roommates began watching with me on episode 4 and they are hooked, they don’t even speak Spanish or know that much about Escobar. That is how good the writing, production, action and acting is. It crosses languages, while remaining quintessentially Colombian, which is fascinating.  

(above) Patricia before
(below) Patricia after actress switch

I read Dr.A’s paper about the image of women in telenovelas before watching Escobar and with that article in mind looking at the women in the novella was pretty interesting. In this telenovela not all the women are beautiful. In the first few episodes Pati and Pablo’s hooker friend, Maytia, are the only attractive women. Then soon after Pablo and Patricia get married there is an actress switch. The new actress playing Pati is still beautiful, but quite curvy and motherly looking, which is appropriate since in the same episode they have their son Emilio. She is not common telenovela beautiful, though. Which I thought was pretty interesting. And Pablo is most defiantly not common telenovela male lover/boyfriend lead. 

Continuing on the subject of women in this telenovela I watched how each woman is treated differently. Maytia, the hooker, is somewhat respected, by Pablo and her brother. While Pablo cheated on Patricia before they were married (granted I’m only on episode 5 so I haven’t gotten to the post matrimony cheating), and gets treated like an object by her lunatic brother Fabio. Fabio, ironically, casts himself out in the big brother role of looking out for his little sister’s honor and best interests by saying things like “she’s just a girl” but then turning to her saying “shut up, go home!” Although that may just be how his character is written, because he does it again in episode 5 with the whole “I’m just defending your house and the lady of the house” speech to Pablo while telling Patricia to ‘shut up’ and infringing on her conversation with Chili in her own home.

And as stated before, I have not gotten to an episode where Pablo cheats on his wife but I foresee it through three things: First, when Patricia point blank asks him to tell her that he will never cheat, he never does. Pablo promises her the world, but never that he will remain faithful. Second, Pablo’s mother telling Patricia bluntly “All of them [men] are unfaithful” (she is quite a lady, Pablo’s mother. I could write a whole paper about her). And third, in the entrada there is a pretty lady in pink who comes out of an airplane and hugs Pablo. She is not Pati, and that hug is exceptionally long.  

This show has so many facets that can be explored.  I am excited to watch the rest of the series and (seriously) look forward to the paper we have to write on it. 


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