Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More Meaning Than I Expected

                I have been surprised to learn in class how much depth and meaning some telenovelas have. Not to say my telenovela, La Reina Del Sur, is all that thought-provoking, but many of the novelas we learn about in class have actually had very meaningful backstories. While my novella is mostly just dramatic and suspenseful (I’m definitely not complaining about that though,) I have enjoyed learning about the wide array of messages hiding in the plots of various novelas.

                In my introduction to public relations course last year, we learned about how some causes and organizations will actually use television shows as a platform to voice their message. Popular television shows will often times have messages inlaid in their programming that are meant to stand out to viewers, like an anti-texting-and-driving campaign or message about drug use or underage drinking. A lot of shows in the US have positive messages that are delivered to their audience and will oftentimes include a short monologue at the end of the show where one of the main characters discusses the importance of this issue.
                I thought it was interesting that certain telenovelas did similar things in their storylines, such as several of the different character’s stories in La Mujer Perfecta. I think it’s so awesome that the writer of this novella chose to include several touchy subjects – a main character who is autistic and a character who struggles with the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. I thought that the character with autism was a really interesting dynamic because not a lot of shows, even in the US, showcase characters with disabilities. I think it is really empowering that they have a character with Asperger’s Syndrome in La Mujer Perfecta.
                It was also really interesting to see the storyline of the character who develops breast cancer presented in class. I agree that it is a really important issue to be showcased and I believe it’s a touchy subject for people to understand. I thought it was great that they featured this in La Mujer Perfecta because it did so much to raise awareness and increase the number of women who got mammograms.
                It’s interesting to me how many telenovelas we learned about in class that have done similar things to promote awareness of certain topics. I think it’s great that writers are willing to take chances in their shows in order to get across a message to their audiences. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

It's all coming together!

My initial thoughts about telenovelas was that the class would focus on why Enrique broke Ramona's heart in order to be with Maria, but there's a lot more to the world of telenovelas and it's all starting to connect and come together. It first started when I started watching my telenovela and I could spot some of the concepts from our class lectures within them episode by episode. Then it escalated to being able to connect telenovelas with the real world, and using that connection to captivate the audience. Now I'm seeing telenovelas, not only as a form of entertainment and a method of bringing a family together for dinner, but also as a way to communicate messages to the audience. Like I stated in my first paper, my telenovela "Los Ricos Tambien Lloran", relays the message (it's even in the title) that money doesn't erase all of life's worries. Rich people may not have the same worries that poor people do, but money creates a whole different set of issues. For example, when Esther fakes her pregnancy in order to marry Luis Alberto just so she can have his parents' money or when Irma and Diego try to kill Mariana in order to inherit Mariana's father's money.
The telenovela I chose was the first one to go global back in the early 80s and it started a telenovela "revolution" around the world. Specifically Russia and China would stop and turn on the television to see if Mariana would come out of her amnesia or not (by the way, this is where I am right now. Mariana has just had the baby and she doesn't remember anyone). I can understand why because it has peaked my interested and I only have the abridged version, so it's very fast-paced. Every 5 minutes, something keeps you on the edge of your seat and it's deceptively captivating. Sometimes when I take the DVD out of the computer to do something else, it's like "whoa, real life is so slow and calm".
I really enjoyed the lecture about Hugo Chavez (the day my sister came) because it was amazing to see the impact telenovelas had on the Venezuelan population. The fact that they could just put political topics like that on the air each day was phenomenal. It wasn't just the fact that the telenovela was so polarizing that interested me the most; it was the fact that in Venezuela, you can do that! If you tried putting a sitcom on the air here that made fun of Obama, there would be another world war. The concept of racism would probably be the nucleus of the war. The media has a much larger effect on the country than people think.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Plot Lines and Social Issues of Santa Diabla

While I remain intrigued by each and every episode of Santa Diabla, I cannot help but try and block out my logical state of mind. As I watch the episodes I find myself trying to connect all of the plots and how they interrelate with each other.  The plot lines in Santa Diabla differ in their complexity and social issues presented.  
The first plot line- which I would consider to be the main plot line (or love triangle) is between Santa(or Amanda) Humberto and Santiago.  It seems like this is the main story that is followed, and all of the other plots branch off of this one.  This story presents an issue of social class inequality.  It is revelant that Santa is from a lower class family and does live a lower class lifestyle. This lifestyle can be compared to the ritzy life style of the Cano family, a family of a well known law firm. 
The second plot line- represents a issue of racial equality and it's presence is the hispanic society.  The mother of Arturo is disturbed by the questionable (to her) relationship between Arturo and Mara.  I feel like this plot line is becoming a little too repetitive because we see the same thing every episode- Arturo and Mara getting 'caught' trying to hide to their relationship but nothing serious has happened yet.  The other characters are still questioning this relationship. 
The third plot line- this covers the issue of sex trafficking of immigrants.  Carlos is a corrupt police officer that runs a sex trafficking business.  
The fourth plot line- is an additional love triangle between Humberto and his past relationship with Lisette and their son, that no one knows about except Santiago now.  Also, we see that Lisette and Arturo may have a relationship in the works, but of course is nothing real because Arturo is in love with Mara. 
These are just a few of the subplots and love triangles present in Santa Diabla.  This telenovela is very entertaining and has really 'reeled' me in, but at the same time if you are a very logical person, I find myself trying to figure out all of the plots and how they are related. 

More than just entertainment...

I never realized that telenovelas could be such a powerful way of communicating with the Latino population, and it certainly never occurred to me that a telenovela could be an avenue to elicit change in perspective or behavior from members of the audience.

Recently we’ve been discussing social issues in the context of telenovelas. It’s so interesting to me that a writer can weave a particular element into a telenovela plot and automatically have an audience for their message.

Some of the more obvious and less controversial elements that appear in telenovelas are diseases or illnesses. In Ciudad Bendita, the male protagonist’s mother has Alzheimer’s disease. That character exhibits the signs and symptoms of the disease, and perhaps someone watching the audience had a loved one with the disease but didn’t realize it until they watched the character. We also discussed breast cancer in the context of telenovelas. If a character’s battle with breast cancer encouraged even one woman to be checked for breast cancer, that telenovela could literally save a life. How incredible would that be?

In more controversial telenovelas, domestic abuse and unhealthy obsession with appearance are brought into light. In El País de las Mujeres, when a character reported her husband’s abuse, women all throughout the audience had the courage to also report domestic violence in their own lives. In some telenovelas, plastic surgery is portrayed as extreme and dangerous, and maybe it caused someone somewhere to realize that a “perfect” appearance is not worth risking your life.

To be honest, before this class I thought of telenovelas as not much more than a shallow form of entertainment. I realize that some telenovelas are still primarily for entertainment, but I find it fascinating and brave on the writers’ parts to use telenovelas as ways to communicate something powerful with their audience.

A Different Side of Pablo Escobar

Most people only view Pablo Escobar as one thing: a monster. After all, it is true Pablo Escobar committed some of the horrible crimes in Colombia’s history. His actions touched the lives of almost every single Colombian. Also, the entire world knows exactly how Pablo Escobar’s story ends. So, with all this hatred for this man, and with the entire world already knowing his story, why did a telenovela about his life become so successful?

I think the central relationship any telenovela creates is the relationship between the protagonist and the audience. In most cases, the most successful telenovelas are the telenovelas that contain a protagonist who everyone adores, and most importantly, is someone who the audience can identify with and makes a personal connection with.

The writers needed to create a protagonist that not only was an accurate representation of the real Pablo Escobar, but also was a character with depth that an audience would be able to identify with. In order to do this, the writers began to show to the audience a more vulnerable side of Pablo Escobar. To do this, they have show Pablo’s internal struggle of trying to become accepted in Colombia’s political class. Although Pablo is now a millionaire due to his drug trafficking, the country’s elite still does not accept him. This whole idea of “not fitting in” is something almost everyone can identify with. Pablo clearly feels like an outcast. To make this clear to the audience, the writers constantly reinforce Pablo Escobar’s humble beginnings.

This vulnerable side of Pablo Escobar makes his character very endearing. Although throughout the telenovela you see his transformation into the evil monster he eventually became, the audience is still able to identify with his struggle for an identity. Without this component of Pablo Escobar’s personality, I do not think the telenovela would have been as successful. The audience does not watch to see the ending, as in many other telenovelas; the audience watches to see Pablo Escobar’s transformation. It is a somewhat fairytale-like story, but with a dark twist.

La Madre del Patrón

 Pablo’s mother Doña Enelia de Escobar is a marvelous character in El Patron del Mal. She has a relatively small part however, Enelia not only gives Pablo a mantra from which he bases his mentality on life and success but she also acts as his confidant and mentor. Perhaps Enelia is a key to the telenovela in that she is the writer's way of making the character of Pablo Escobar a likable protagonist, in spite of the criminal background the audience goes into the telenovela already knowing.  
            In the very first episode the audience understands the mindset of the environment in which Pablo grew up. Poor, with a strong willed mother who teaches him many things including “los hombres no lloran”, and, after he gets caught trying to steal a math exam: “The day you decide to do something bad, do it well! Don’t be dumb enough to get caught!..this world is for the clever…for the slick”. From that point the audience begins to understand how Pablo, the boy, could grow up to be Escobar, the infamous drug lord. Rather than promoting a lesson between the difference between right and wrong Enelia explains the stupidity in getting caught. This is revisited when Pablo is named as being a drug trafficker by Rodrigo Lara on the Congress floor. Enelia is not disappointed in her son for being a drug trafficker, rather, she is disappointed he was outed as a trafficker. Enelia also instills in her son “a man without money lives a sad and boring life”. She, rather than his father, defines what masculinity means. From here begins the novela’s continuous theme of the importance of money, so much so that it could be said to be a part of the love triangle with Pablo and his wife Patricia.
          Even with all his power and money Pablo goes to his mother for advice, and thinks of her in higher regard than his 'business' partners. For example when the issue of Irma Motoa’s kidnapping seems unsolvable and when Pablo seeks to pursue a career in politics, he goes to his mother for her advice. Again the theme of money is brought to the foreground in the later goal because, while Pablo already has money, he seeks more, the next step. He sees that next step as political power, claiming he can help the poor and himself by making vices (like cocaine) legal. However, Enelia sees through that goal, she sees politics as a place of ‘wild animals’. Which causes the audience to wonder if she knows of how Pablo gets his money. If she does it is humorous that trafficking is fine while politics is the wrong path. while drug trafficking is fine. 

While acting as a key to making Pablo a likeable character, as her character develops, Enelia represents the greed facet of Pablo’s conscious, which is uncharacteristic of a telenovela mother of the protagonist.  But what is undeniable is her ability to keep everyone around her in check. For example Enelia is helps controlling Patricia for Pablo as he sleeps with other women telling her "the are all unfaithful" while motioning to see, hear and say nothing. And when the police raid the Escobar home looking for Pablo and Enelia asks "should I open all the cupboards so you can check? This is an outrage!". And finally with Pablo himself as demonstrated in the clip below:

Mama Escobar ladies and gentlemen. 

The Nurturing Mother and Childish Relationships

Growing up with a Colombian family, I guess I never realized how nurturing the Latin American mother truly is compared to other cultures. My mom has always been super woman in my eyes and I've always looked up to her. I still haven't quite figured out how she can balance her full time job and keeping up with my sister, dad, and I. Yes, I know anyone reading this right now is probably thinking the same thing about their own mother, no matter what background. However, this class, our discussions, and the telenovela I'm watching just opened my eyes to my own culture so much more than I could ever imagine. Staying with my personal story for a little, I noticed the huge difference in culture when I was preparing to move to college. In Colombia, in in Latin America as a whole, moving away for college just doesn't happen. Everyone just stays at home and commutes to school, and honestly most people don't even move out until they get married. Of course, that is how my parents grew up and what they have been used to their whole lives. Of course, once I decided I was going to UGA and told them I would be living in a dorm, it was completely devastating... Not just for my parents but for literally my whole family. Relatives would call from Colombia and be in complete shock that I was moving out of the house. Now that I've been at UGA for three years, of course the shock has died down some but my mom's nurturing attitude just hasn't gone away.

In Hasta Que La Plata Nos Separe, the protagonists both live with their family and they are in their thirties. For American culture, this is simply not normal because if you're thirty and living with your parents people think you're probably not going anywhere in life. It has been kind of funny watching my telenovela and kind of thinking about it so analytically. Alejandra lives in a mansion with her dad and aunt, and it is completely normal. Of course, she plans to move out once she marries her fiancé. Even though she has a good job and could totally afford to have her own place, it just isn't weird that she hasn't done that. Rafael lives with his mom and little sister. His mother, reminds me of my own mom and my abuelitas. She cooks for him, does his laundry, and just takes care of him in such a genuine and loving manner. In the last episode I watched for example, Rafael gets woken up at 5AM to get to work early and his mom comes in his room to see what is going on (mind you he is a man in his thirties and his room still looks like a little boy's and he sleeps with a stuffed duck). When I was watching this scene, all I could think about was how childish it all looked. It also made me wonder if my views on all of it would be any different if I was still living in Colombia.

Going off on little different direction now, that last episode I watched also made me want to rant about Rafael's relationship with Vicky, his girlfriend. The relationship does not seem to be adult in any way. Since they both live with their parents, getting alone time is always difficult. Vicky still has to ask for permission to go out with Rafael, and has to make up lies when she won't be sleeping at home! She also just talks in such a childish manner, and calls Rafael at work at least five time a day crying and nagging him the whole time. Either way, their relationship is kind of hilarious so here's a little video (it's in Spanish but you'll get the idea just from watching her).

Telenovelas as a Communication Medium

One of the most fascinating classes recently was the class when we spoke about Hugo Chavez. It was so interesting to see the impact that telenovelas could have on every day people, culture and the entire nation of Venezuela. I was so shocked when Dr. A spoke about what was going on in Venezuela and Hugo Chavez’s coup attempt in Caracas. It made perfect sense when she spoke about the Chavistas and the Escualidos. The country had been completely polarized. Half of the country absolutely loved him and thought he was the Messiah while the other half completely despised him and thought he was the devil. I became very curious about these stark contrasts and why exactly people agreed or disagreed so strongly.
What really caught my attention was when we were talking about the television stations and how they were so strongly divided. There is the station that fully supported Chavez and only publicized good information about him against the opposing television station that only publicized bad things about Chavez. This reminded me so much of here in the United States how people usually watch either Fox or CNN, based on their political views. It all culminated when Dr. A said that although every individual watched one new station or another based on their political views, everyone watched telenovelas. Whether or not people loved or hated Chavez, telenovelas are used as a communication medium that can impact people across the board. Although here in the US most people have political views one way or another and either watch CNN or Fox, there is no communication medium that can truly reach the entire population the same way telenovelas can reach the entire Venezuelan population.
When we learned that “Cosita Rica” reenacted the scene of the woman being thrown to the ground in the streets, I was shocked. I love that for a while there was no such thing as “political correctness.” Telenovela writers could use the characters to say whatever they wanted, and then knew the entire country would be watching. I never realized the power that these writers have until that moment. They could put out any statements, create characters such as Olegario, who was incredibly similar to Chavez, and reenact situations that actually happened in real life. As a student very interested in the effects of telenovelas on society and politics, it was so fascinating to see how the common people watching these telenovelas would react to different situations that corresponded to reality.
The final point I must add to this blog is how interested I was in not only in political contemporary issues, but also general contemporary issues such as domestic violence and Alzheimer’s disease. I was fascinated when learning about the telenovelas about the woman who was abused by her husband who was a police officer. A week after the episode aired when she reported her husband, domestic violence reports increased 10 times throughout the country. This statistic absolutely blew me away and once again reaffirmed the strong belief I have in the power of a telenovela as a means of communication. 

El desespero

Finally, after 10 episodes, I get to see the perfect example of desespero. Not only once, but TWICE! Back to back desespero and it’s beautiful. The first instance builds up with Teresa being fired from her job at Yamila to help Fatima find her son, both of the girls are kicked out of their apartments. At the same time, Teresa is also recovering from her fight with Santiago over his trafficking of both drugs and people. She sits there alone, drinking out of a bottle of tequila. Side note: tequila. Apparently, La Mexicana drinks nothing else; only tequila. Anyways, she is sitting there. Alone. Drinking a bottle of tequila. Sad music playing behind her and flashes of all the good moments she had with Santiago. That is desespero.
The second instance has more of a build up. For his first mission trafficking humans, Santiago gives several stipulations. 1. Everyone must have a life jacket, 2. No children under fifteen. The very fact that these stipulations are presented means that they won’t be followed in one way or another. As people start loading onto the boat, Santiago starts noticing children. He puts up a fight but finally relinquishes and allows them on board. During the trip, two boys fall off the boat; Santiago jumps in after them but only manages to save one. I’m not going to lie: the library was not the best place to watch this scene. Seeing Santiago swimming around yelling “¿Donde está?” only to find an empty life jacket was heart wrenching. Santiago’s following reaction was completely understandable. The show cuts to everyone running jumping off the boat and running to shore; Santiago simply stands there taking swigs out of a bottle of alcohol. Where did it come from? I don’t know. Without putting the bottle down, Santiago and Lalo meet their accomplice to retrieve their money. Santiago ends up hitting him in the face and screaming that he will never traffic people again, he doesn’t even want the money. Santiago finally ends up passed out on Teresa’s doorstep. The look on his face though just kills me. It’s utter sadness, and anger, and hopelessness; like he can’t carry on with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
That face. That face makes you fall in love with Santiago. It shows that he really is a good person, even if he is a trafficker. When Teresa finds Santiago, he apologizes for not listening to her. He cries in front of her, he can barely walk, he’s completely vulnerable. After these really emotional scenes, the author does give some comedic relief. Teresa pushes Santiago into a cold shower and he makes it as difficult as possible to sober him up. As the audience, we get a little bit of everything: sadness, shock, romance, despair, and comedy. It makes for a great episode.

Obsesión Salvaje

As we’ve been learning about telenovela consumption in class, the level of viewers’ obsession has blown me away. Since nothing in the U.S. compares to this daily devotion and fanaticism, I had a hard time understanding the phenomenon at first. Eventually, I figured it makes sense — if you are watching this show develop every single day, it’s as present to you as your own life. Of course you care. Those characters aren’t just people you watched in a movie once, they are part of your daily routine, key players in your own existence — especially if all your friends know them and feel the same way about them. So OK I get it.

But then I started thinking about the fan base of the telenovela I’m watching: Corazón Salvaje. It hasn’t aired since 1993. I was sure there would be some remaining fans who still remembered how much they’d loved the show — but the obsession couldn’t be on the same level as it is for current telenovelas, right?

I was wrong. I began scanning fan sites, message boards and social media where I discovered off-the-charts devotion. Apparently, fan enthusiasm does not wane in 20 years but grows exponentially. Take a look at some of the evidence I found…

The fans create images, videos, drawings, tweets, quilts, postcards, wallpaper... they even write letters as if they are characters corresponding with other characters. No, this passion is not dying out. And that's what I'm trying to figure out. How could a 20-year-old telenovela still inspire such daily excitement? Obviously the writers and producers of Corazón Salvaje did something right. I mean, they certainly got the rosa formula down... And the dark, handsome protagonist... And the passionate love story... OK maybe they've even hooked me a little bit. Maybe I fought back tears when I thought Juan del Diablo was dead...  Maybe I created one of the images above... Maybe I understand this obsession a little more than I let on. ;)

Two women have Pedro Pablo’s heart. I kind of hate them both.


            El Capo’s love triangle is between Pedro Pablo, his wife, Isabel Cristina, and his mistress, Marcella. Isabel Cristina is from a small town, she’s naïve, and she’s crazy. Marcella is from the city, she’s intelligent and cunning, but she is basically the home wrecker.
            I want to root for Isabel Cristina because she has been in love with Pedro Pablo since they were teenagers and is the mother of their children, but she can just be so annoying. Granted, she did just find out that her husband has been having an affair, the government is trying to kill them and she’s worried about her children, but get a grip! Her emotions take over and are a risk to their survival. Marcela is quite the opposite. She is calm in the bunker but she is also the reason for Isabel Cristina’s madness.
            While the two women are in the bunker with Pedro Pablo and his entourage, they cannot stop creating drama. I recognize that drama is what novelas are about and people would not be hooked if it weren’t for the drama. It is just hard to watch when you don’t particularly love either parties.

            I am a little discouraged with this novela at the moment. I am still interested to see what will happen within the main plot, but I am not hooked with any of the characters yet. I enjoy the different dynamics of the characters but I’m not in love with any of the relationships or individual characters. The two characters that I do feel the slightest attachment to are the two children of Pedro Pablo and Isabel Cristina. I hope that as I continue watching I start to like at least one of the two.
The Love Stories
Things in the world of Santa Diabla are heating up quickly. There are so many love triangles, that it is difficult to keep track. The humor of all these triangles lies in the fact that every single one is connected to the other in some way. No story is independent of the others. I will discuss each love triangle from my least favorites to my most.

I can't stand the relationship between Arturo and Mara. This triangle involves Arturo, Mara, Arturo's fiance, and a man who is involved in human trafficking who is stalking Mara. There are additional complications in their love story because Mara is black, and Arturo's mother is racist. Arturo and Mara's relationship is disgusting in its obsessiveness. Mara becomes so obsessed with Arturo that to keep herself in his life forever, she attempts to get pregnant by him. It takes over her life and she can't focus on anything else. Also, I don't completely understand the reasoning as to why Arturo is still marrying Lisette. There is money involved, but it really stems from Arturo's mother's racism. I think Arturo is a weak character and person, and Mara is obsessive and has to be with this man or she will literally die. I don't understand that, and I don't like it.

The next relationship that I dislike as well as find boring is the relationship between Ivan and Victoria. For starters, he is 18 and she is literally at least 10 years older than him. That's just weird. But also, i just don't care about their relationship. They're not cute together in any way, the other people involved in the triangle are boring. There is just no interest in that relationship.

Though these love triangles are either boring or disgusting, these less-than-stellar plot lines are completely compensated by the relationship between Amanda and Santiago. Their chemistry is obvious, and it drives the story. They are the only reason that the story is so captivating to me. The antagonist, Ines, is SO annoying and such a deterrent to them being together, and Amanda's husband, Humberto, is scary, dominating, powerful, etc. I just so badly want her to escape from him and find happiness with Santiago. I think the villainy of the two antagonists and the chemistry of the two protagonists is the perfect combination to make the viewer root for Amanda and Santiago to be together and root for the destruction of Ines and Humberto. It's a great way to hook viewers and leave them wanting more.

There are so many other interesting plot lines that happen in Santa Diabla, but the love triangles definitely take up the most space in the story telling. Thus, they are a great topic to focus in on. Even in the plot lines that I hate, I can't wait to see how their stories will end, and how the antagonists will turn out. I am loving watching this telenovela, even if they characters are irrational and dumb sometimes.

The Robin Hood from Medellin

“I can tolerate poverty but not misery” 

Pablo Escobar- to love him or to hate him? He used his cocaine money to build churches, schools, and housing for the poor. But he also hurt many innocent vigilantes in the process. As I delve further into the telenovela, I become more torn as to what I think of him. Taking notes helps me objectify the writer's motives but I can't help but hurt in Escobar's failure, support his adulterous relationship with Regina, and celebrate as new plants are built in the Columbian jungle. 

The past ten episodes have been full of important changes. First, Pati is no longer beautiful and innocent. She is critical and a bit average looking. She constantly suspects that Pablo is cheating but, is reassured of his loyalty every time he sweet talks her (something he is VERY good at). Pablo seems to get annoyed with her very easily when she does not obey him. However, one of the most endearing scenes comes when Pati tells him that she is pregnant with their second child. He is overjoyed at the news and once again, we fall in love with the character of Pablo Escobar when he asks his wife for a "little princess". We even excuse the fact that he was in the pool with Regina when Pati called. 

Second, the character of Carlos Galan is introduced. Although he is the epitome of the heroic vigilante, he reminds me of Harvey Dent from Batman -- the public servant whose motives are not always pure. He is important because as he explains to his son, this is the first time a candidate from an independent party has received so many votes without using corrupt schemes and payoffs. From my knowledge of Escobar's real life, I am on the lookout for foreshadowing of Galan's death. I find it interesting that the antagonists of this show are always the 'good' guys. First, Mr. Adelmar, the vigilante shopkeeper who snitched on Pablo and Gonzalo. And now, Galan, the politician bent on exposing Escobar's shady past. 

Lastly, as Escobar attempts to enter into the Columbian Parliament building, he is denied for not wearing a tie. Although this scene may seem trivial, it is a reminder of the fact that Pablo does not fit in. He is a pretender. If he is the metaphor of Cinderella, the clock has struck midnight and his ball-gown has faded away. This scene is very important because it makes us remember that everything can be taken away from Pablo instantly - as Regina notes, he has money but no class. 

Escobar the Politician
“I honestly think it makes no sense to make the rich richer… Give everything to those that have nothing” ~Pablo Escobar, ep. 9

Adding to the list of reasons why the audience empathizes with Escobar -- he is truly a man of the people. Although he is now a prominent businessman, he still recognizes the struggles of the working class and even donates money to the commander of a socialist guerrilla army. We see three different scenes of Escobar going to slums of Columbia and talking to people. One man even says a politician has never entered his neighborhood -- "We do not have the support of the government. Help from the outside never gets in." This strikes a chord with audience and is an obvious attempt from the writer to bring to the light the social issue of homelessness and poverty. Why are the rich so rich and the poor so poor? In this way, Escobar is a hero because he transcends this dichotomy of wealthy and poor in the name of uniting Columbia. 

**When Escobar gives money to the guerrilla leader, he cites the political ideology of Lenin. Lenin was a Marxist who supported the proletariat, or working class, in becoming more politically active and forming organizations to gain power over other classes. 
"Plato o Plomo"- It's All or Nothing

In the words of Escobar, "plato o plomo" means silver or lead -- it's all or nothing. I knew Escobar was bold at the beginning of the series but as time goes on he is extending his risky behavior from his public sphere into his private life. He is now risking his marriage and the safety of his family for business success and to hide affairs. I am anxious for the future of the show. What will become of his marriage? What will become of his business? Looking forward, I am worried he is becoming too reckless. 

National Geographic Documentary on Escobar
When I told my parents I was studying this telenovela, they recommended the above documentary from National Geographic. It once again highlights Escobar's appeal to the people - he embraced the poor, working class and threatened whoever dared to oppose him. Both of these factors won him favor with the Columbian people (many were not vocal of their opposition). As the Columbian and US governments worked to capture Escobar, they employed amazing military technologies to find his precise location (in fact, this one seems too advanced for 1993). One of the most interesting parts is at 19:30 when US officials use voice recognition technology to identify Escobar's voice when he is using a cellphone amongst the millions of people in Medellin  As officials flew overhead in a helicopter, they easily pinpoint his location. I was shocked at the amount of work that went into Escobar's capture. 

Connections to Class
1. Consumption. That is an understatement. All over the world people tuned into Patron del Mal. As we study more about consumption, I will post more about ratings and international ratings...

2. This past week we discussed the tell-all book of Pablo's ex-lover - Virginia Vallejo. In a quick search, I discovered that the book Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar was translated to English in 2011. Her life is especially important as we examine the aftermath of Escobar's death and the ramifications of his crimes against humanity, assassinations, and international smuggling accusations. She is caught in the middle of this crossfire and was even asked to testify in the case of the assassination of Carlos Galan . Ultimately, she sought political asylum that was granted by the judge of the International Criminal Court. She later moved to the United States. 

Lastly, on a funny note...Who wore it better? Me or Pati? Vote in the comments section!