Thursday, September 19, 2013

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.


  1. I also thought that the writers did a great job with making Pablo a likable character through his dialogue. He has some great monologues and is so sure of himself when he makes them.
    Also his ambition and drive is catching. You cheer for him to succeed because he wants whatever thing it is (money, political clout, women, continuing to avert extradition to the U.S.).
    You make a really great point here about the theme of 'not fitting is' as another way the writers succeeded in their daunting task of making the sociopathic (not a word but I'm going with it) legend of Pablo Escobar into a protagonist.
    Even with his mistresses, I want to be mad at him because he is cheating on Patricia. And usually I am mad at him, but he is so sweet to all of them, even taking Regina's advice (sometimes) about how to handle the public and press. It makes me feel like there is a grey area to all stories, even the ones we would prefer to see solely as black and white. The writers really accomplished an amazing feat by being able to create this classically negative historical figure into a likable character.

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  3. Even though I haven't seen this telenovela, I understand what you're saying. I think that complex characters are more relatable. Rosa telenovelas tend to have flatter characters: the good guys and the bad guys. For instance, I am watching "Corazón Salvaje," and I don't feel all that connected to the protagonist, Mónica. She is almost too perfect. If she would show some sort of internal struggle or do something wrong, I think I would relate to her better. When a character only has one dimension, he or she seems less real and therefore less deserving of the viewers' investment. I do love Mónica — but really only because of her relationship with Juan. She's pretty boring without him. Juan bring the needed complexity to the table. He has both good and bad in him. When Mónica's sister tries to seduce Juan, he resists her advances but admits that she is a temptation. Unlike Pablo Escobar, however, Juan is a good character at his core — he has integrity and always makes the right decision. I'm not sure how I would handle a protagonist like Pablo Escobar. That's a pretty touchy situation. I look forward to hearing your feelings toward him once you've finished the telenovela!