Thursday, November 7, 2013

Falling in Love With Novelas

After watching all of the presentations, and getting to sit and listen to an incredible writer and actor talk about their life in the telenovela world, I have so many thoughts running through my head. The one thing that I can’t seem to shake is how much telenovelas are a part of life, and a source of life in a way. They are comedy when people need a good laugh. They are relatable, exhilarating, dramatic, romantic…you name it. Every emotion on the spectrum, every idea, every theme of one’s life… a telenovela has portrayed it. After listening to consumption presentations, and especially after researching my own telenovela (Corazon Salvaje’s) consumption I laughed at the obsession of the fans that followed the telenovela so religiously. There are people posting on forums 90 times a day. There are quilts and family Christmas cards with Monica and Juan del Diablo on them. There are love letters and song lyrics, declarations of adoration from a fan to a character. While doing all my research I just chuckled and the level of devotion these people gave to their telenovela, but after some time of thinking it over, I see it in a different light. No, I’m not belittling how much of their life has been poured into this, or saying that I think it’s completely normal to be this obsessed with something, but part of me is saying that I can see it, and see where it comes from. These telenovelas are representations of life for the people that follow them so closely. Whether it is an escape from reality for them, or a reminder of a cruel reality, or even more so, as Chascas put it, a glimmer of hope. These novelas are more than just sheer entertainment for an hour or two every night. They bring family together, and they bring a culture together.

As human beings we all have this longing not only be accepted, but to be able to identify with something, someone. We want to be part of another whole and feel like we belong somewhere and that we are understood. I feel like seeing these telenovelas, and hearing the stories and reading how fans are so in love, I get it. They have found somewhere they can fit, where their life makes sense, and somewhere they can identify with, or someone. And when it comes to that sense of hope, everyone loves a happy ending. So seeing the Cinderella get the guy, or that girl find her real mother, or he ends up becoming CEO, or whatever the end may be…there is a part of us that takes in a deep breath and sighs feeling deep down that everything is going to be okay. 


  1. Alex,
    I love what you said about telenovelas making viewers feel like they belong somewhere; that they're a part of something bigger. I think that's what television does for people in general. People desire to feel like they're a part of something bigger, and when there is a dramatic, grandiose story happening on a screen, people have that desire met.
    I think telenovelas make viewers feel like they're in the show themselves too. Telenovelas are often the cure for loneliness, a bad mood, stress, or a breakup because viewers see the torment of their characters and the subsequent relief that comes with the resolution. Seeing the extreme difficulties in someone else's life, then seeing them overcome it is a profound relief and a source of hope for people watching. This is so true for television in general, but telenovelas are a whole different animal.
    For one thing, telenovelas are so much more dramatic than other shows. SO many things happen at once, and SO many emotions are felt in just one episode. It's cathartic to watch the suffering and glorification of someone else.
    I'm intrigued by the idea that telenovelas seek to fulfill a deeper need in us and that we seek to have that need fulfilled in telenovelas. Thank you for bringing that up!

  2. I agree with both of you. What I think is the coolest thing about Telenovelas is that fiction or not, they have an influence over viewers. Yes, they are mostly cliche, but who cares? If they make you happy, even if it is "unreal", why not watch them? I am the kind of person that likes to live my life to the best of my ability. I am not not going to watch something because it probably "can't" or "won't" happen. As a single girl myself, I can dream right? haha.

    You begin to almost feel like you are one of the characters in some way or another. When watching La Reina del Sur, I was thinking to myself. Dang. I wish I could be that emotionally strong and brave. (But no, I don't want to be a drug trafficker even if it does mean getting to be with Santiago).

  3. This is wonderful- and makes complete sense. I feel that anything can be successful if it provides a relation for someone. Despite the exact point in which someone may be in whatever 'crisis' that may be going on in their life, the ability to see someone else overcome something similar provides such a great amount of relief. People can call telenovelas cliche or give their negative stereotypical opinions, but at the end of the day, there is a telenovela for everyone. Learning about the vast amount of varieties of past telenovelas definitely provides evidence in the fact that there are telenovelas in which everyone can find a relation. When you made the comparison to Cinderella, it made me think- we being this relation process very young. Children are watching these fairytale love stories and are already relating and hoping for a future similar to the endings of these childhood movies.