Thursday, August 29, 2013

My first few weeks as a telenovela viewer

My experience with telenovelas before starting this course was very limited. I had only seen bits and pieces of various shows while flipping through channels. I knew what they were, I just had never taken the time to actually sit down and watch one. (Except for the “telenovelas” we watched in AP Spanish… but I don’t really count those.) After just a few weeks in class, I’m envious of the people who have been watching them their whole lives. Almost all of the clips that Dr. A shows in class make me want to sit down and watch the whole telenovela.

        Before beginning this course, I thought that telenovelas were just the Spanish counterpart of American Soap Operas. Every day I came home in high school, my mom would have soap operas on for background noise in the kitchen, and of course, I always got sucked in to the drama. I wrongly assumed that telenovelas were just the same as these mindless shows filled with drama and bad acting. Luckily, this course has already changed my perception of the matter.

        Telenovelas are much higher quality than soap operas, all around. The acting is much better, and the plots are way more believable (although still pretty wildly dramatic.) The sets and scenery are a lot better, too, which helps them feel less like soap operas and more like quality television. I also like that they are more realistic than soap operas. The story lines are crazy but they are things that could actually happen to someone in real life, as opposed to the story lines of soap operas which become so unrealistic at times it’s not even funny.

       In the US, people can sometimes get a bad rep from watching soap operas, and when you sit down and watch an episode or two, it’s easy to understand why. I like that telenovelas are completely different than that, and I love how enthusiastic viewers of telenovelas seem to be about their favorite shows.

       I’m excited to continue my journey in this course, and to continue watching La Reina Del Sur. After just two episodes, I am completely interested. It has so much more of a film-like quality than something you would see on an American soap opera. I now consider myself a telenovela viewer. 

Corazón Salvaje: Telenovela Rosa with a Twist

As I watch the first couple episodes of Corazón Salvaje, I am already hooked. Mónica was engaged to Andrés, but Andrés forgot about Mónica and fell in love with her sister, Aimeé. BUT Aimeé fell for Andrés illegitimate brother, the pirate Juan del Diablo. Based on the cover of the DVD, however, Mónica and Juan look like they will be the happy couple once all is said and done. Oh the drama! I love it. No shame.

Corazón Salvaje is a Mexican telenovela de época, set in 1900 on the Atlantic coast of Mexico, in Puerto de Veracruz. If a telenovela is a spectacle of emotions, then this series fits the bill perfectly. Within the first half hour, there were betrayals, heartbreaks and newfound love. There is a double love triangle between two sets of siblings, and the future mother-in-law is definitely taking on the archetypically evil role.

All signs indicate that this is a telenovela rosa. But there are a few twists that I did not expect. First of all, there’s the structure. As we learned in class, usually the series starts off with the first encounter of the protagonists. They fall in love and are happy for a moment, until we launch into a series of obstacles, problems and misunderstandings that take us through the rest of the series until we finally reach the happy end. In Corazón Salvaje, however, the protagonists did not even meet for quite a while — and when they did, the encounter was brief and sans-love. In fact, both characters are in love with other people. I can definitely see how they will end up together — since they are in love with each other’s evil siblings — but the story’s structure is certainly a-typical.

Secondly, I am noticing that the gender roles appear to be reversed — at least as far as the Cinderella story goes. I expected Mónica to be the poor, pure Cinderella who ends up with the rich, handsome gentleman. On the contrary, Mónica is a wealthy countess. Yes, she is an innocent virgin, but the Cinderella character appears to be Juan del Diablo. Although he is a pirate and certainly not a virgin, he possesses most of the qualifying characteristics. Juan is poor and has grown up fending for himself. Unbeknownst to him, he is actually the bastard son of a wealthy man, the true heir to his father’s inheritance. He is emotionally pure as well, even if not physically. Other characters describe him as good and kind — he takes care of the poor people in town, who know him as their hero.

I cannot wait to see how the rest of this story unfolds. The drama is so fun — and such a pleasant escape from daily life. Maybe that is why telenovelas are so wildly popular. They offer viewers an alternate reality — and one in which they know that despite the hardships, everything will end happily.  Sounds great to me!

Cowards Will Always Be Poor

“The day you decide to do something bad, do it well. Don’t get caught. This world is for the slick, not for the dummies.” ~Pablo's mother to Pablo, Ep. 1


This is something that I am still grappling with. Although I am only a few episodes in, it is clear that the reason why this series is so successful is that the writers present Escobar as relatable. They justify his murders and condone his giant contraband heists. While we as the audience hate the decisions he makes, we hope that he succeeds. 

A few things perpetuate his likable "human" qualities. First, his love for Pati, a local girl that is 10 years his junior. She is beautiful, sweet, and innocent. While outwardly they seem very different, Escobar completely changes when he is around her. He transforms into someone who is gentle and kind. We, as the audience, love the person he becomes when he is around her. It is obvious that this love story will continue to become more dramatic as the series continues. Second, his childhood has directly molded his adult personality. Throughout the planteamiento of the first episode, Escobar is depicted as the underdog -- the youngest brother who constantly gets bullied but is obviously the most intelligent. We sympathize with him as he witnesses mass atrocities and is forced to flee his home. However, one of the most pivotal moments of foreshadowing comes when he learns of his own grandfather being involved in illegal smuggling of whiskey and cigarettes. According to his mother, Escobar's grandfather was a very intelligent man, who filled coffins with vices so he could transport them down the mountain with no trouble from the police. Because of their similarities, this moment signifies that Escobar is meant to fill the role of provider and patriarch of the family. While his past may have been disadvantaged, he will not remain the underdog forever. And lastly, we identify with Escobar as he maneuvers up the socioeconomic ladder. Although his rise to the top is filled with atrocious acts, he works hard and earns his way. Nothing comes easy for a man with no connections (and we are cheering for him the whole way).

From the first few episodes, it is very obvious how Escobar feels about money. And because the primary theme of the show surrounds the idea of social/ economic elevation, I decided to entitle my first blog post accordingly. Escobar says the line, "Cowards will always be poor" when Mr. Aldemar refuses to buy his contraband cigarettes to sell in his convenience store. It becomes very obvious later on that Mr. Aldemar represents the exact opposite of Escobar in every way. He is the antagonist, although so far, his choices seem to be the most morally sound. This raises an interesting question that I believe rests at the foundation of the show - what is good? What is honorable? What is justifiable in the name of obtaining money? Does money = respect? And in the case of Mr. Aldemar versus Escobar, who is the "bad guy"? And why do I find myself rooting for the drug lord over the do-gooder vigilante? After watching a few episodes, I am not sure whether Escobar is love with money or in love with the sense of power and entitlement that comes with it. In my opinion, these are too very different things. At one point, Escobar comments, "Money buys off dignity and bravery". However, when we see his moments of inner conflict, it is difficult for me to believe that he is all bad. I want to believe he is a man with integrity caught in a bad situation... and so I keep watching!


I laugh to myself as I continue to watch the show because I see themes present in every episode which confirm Dr. A's list of stories found in every telenovela. 

1. Yes, Escobar is a chubby Cinderella. His social promotion has taken him from a poor Columbian villager to a respected (or feared) man of wealth. 

2. Pati and Pablo face the same challenges as Romeo and Juliet - a 10 year age gap and a protective older brother inhibit Pablo from making moves. While they lead very differnt lives, it is obvious they are meant to be together.

3. Arguably, the story of the Ugly Duckling. Although Escobar continues to gain weight and facial hair, the transformation comes with his quality of life. Not only has his socioeconomic stature improved, he is respected (and that may be what is most important to him). Each story in the planteamiento contributes to the overall narrative of Pablo Escobar, the underdog. While all odds are against him, he will find a way to succeed. 


1. Who is the Holy Child of Atocha and why does she matter? 

We see this statue in the first episode, when Escobar's family hides in a bedroom from men who massacre his village. As the invaders yell his mother's name, she recites a prayer for her family to repeat. After hours of hiding, the family comes out unharmed to discover a village of slaughtered civilians and friends. An episode later, Escobar references the Child of Atocha when he is nervous about his first heist (while working for Alguacil). The writers were very intentional about these name drops so I decided to do a little investigative research. 

To my surprise, this little pilgrim boy is Jesus. However, the legend behind his naming is more important than who he actually represents. Atocha, is actually a suburb of Madrid, where many men were imprisoned because of their faith. A law was created so that only children under the age of 12 could bring the prisoners food. Strangely enough, those prisoners who had no children or younger brothers were visited by a mysterious small boy. None of the other children knew who he was or why he never ran out of water or bread. Of course, this little boy was the Holy Child of Atocha. As the Spanish colonized Latin America, they brought the Child of Atocha with them, symbolizing hope and deliverance. 

After learning this, I believe the Child of Atocha is significant because his story has connections to prisoners. Furthermore, these were prisoners who were put in jail for what they believed in, a crime that today we view as unjust. This could be a connection to the life of Escobar - is the pursuit of happiness, or a certain lifestyle a reason to be imprisoned? Once again, there is a connection to the moral implications of wealth and power. Ultimately, while this reference may be something common to Columbian culture, I have a feeling this pious figure was intentional!


2. Who are the writers of the show? And how close is it to the real life of Escobar?

General Information
Interview with Writer Juan Camilo Ferrand - "
Juan wants to make sure that, although the series must be entertaining to bring and create an audience as it has in Colombia, there also is reality that they must understand, violence is not glamorous and it is deeply painful. The scars are not completely healed, and may never be."

3. What does Escobar's family think about all of this attention? 

I thought this was a very interesting video I found while googling background information on Escobar!

IN CONCLUSION,I am excited to see the rest of the series. Hopefully my insights were enjoyable to read! I highly recommend this telenovela to anyone who wants the perfect balance of action and romance!

Initial thoughts on "La Reina del Sur" and Telemundo

      Coming into this class, I knew very little about telenovelas. The most I'd ever seen was bits and pieces from Argentinian "Floricienta." While "Floricienta" obviously has the Cinderella plot line we looked at in class, I didn't think this was something for me. I typically like more action. Luckily, telenovelas come in all shapes and sizes. A personal interest of mine for years has been drug trafficking and Cartel violence in Latin America. The narconovela caters to this interest almost perfectly. While doing a little bit of research, I stumbled across "La Reina del Sur." While she is not based on a real life person, her character has been equated with Sandra Ávila Beltran, a Mexican drug lord recently released from prison, who I also had written about in a paper my sophomore year of college. Teresa Mendoza sounded interesting. Then, in class, we watched a preview of "Escobar: el Patrón del Mal." I thought to myself, "What could be more interesting than a narconovela? A narconovela based on real life!" I had changed my mind, Teresa Mendoza would have to wait another day. The next morning I awoke only to realize I hadn't ever sent Dr. A my new choice in telenovela, so I begrudgingly began to watch "La Reina del Sur."
      I can't say I didn't like it once I began watching, however, two things disappointed me a bit. Firstly, the entrada was not what I expected it to be. It just doesn't seem to fit. It shows flashes of moments during the show, which seems pretty typical. The viewer gets small teasers of the men in Teresa's life, of her escape, and her business. What really stood out to me was the music. This is a very serious show; in the first episode Teresa gets raped, el Guero gets burnt alive, children are what is the obvious choice in music for the telenovela? Mariachi music, of course! It made me go "Huh?" I just didn't expect a band to be narrating Teresa's life throughout the entrada to what feels like happy music. I'm sure it's a cultural thing that I'm just not getting. But more than the entrada, I am disappointed in the man they chose to play el Guero, not because Rafael Amaya is a bad actor, but because he dies in the first episode. He is a very good looking man, and while he's showing up in flashbacks, I'm worried he won't be in the show for very long. This makes me sad.
      I'm pleased that I chose a telenovela made by Telemundo mostly because of it's accessibility. However, I'm also coming to find that I really enjoy the commercials. It's interested to see commercials marketed to those living in America but in a different language; and apart from the never-ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden commercial, all are very well done. I recognize all of the products. A recurrent theme I've seen in several of the commercials is interracial couples. The first one I saw was a Wendy's commercial where a white blonde-hair blue-eyed guy sits across from a typical latin beauty as they both eat burgers. He's says something along the lines of "juicy meat," she responds with the Spanish translation, the same thing happens with "melty cheese" and "pretzel bun," and then in his very American accent he says "Es dayleeziosa" and the two move in for a kiss only to be interrupted by an entire family watching. I can't say it didn't make me smile. Another commercial featuring interracial couples is for the Galaxy S4 cell phone. A young couple, once again white blonde-hair blue-eyed guy and a latin beauty, are shown standing together. She says in English "Don't worry! They'll love you," and runs to an older couple who are obviously her parents. The guy nervously follows, looks at his phone, and then says "Un placer conocerlos." The father then makes a joke to the mother about how terrible his accent is. But it's cute, and I liked it.
      I'm looking forward to seeing some more commercials like those two, and definitely looking forward to watching more "La Reina del Sur." It shouldn't be too difficult to watch 63 episodes in the next few weeks.
De Ruptura

Santa Diabla is honestly unlike any show I have ever encountered. The amount of drama packed into one single forty-five minute block of this telenovela is astonishing, which is exactly what I expected before watching the show. However, I did not expect the level of involvement that I would have with the characters as well as the caliber of acting that I would see.  I think the main reason that I have become so involved with Santa Diabla is because it is a telenovela that leans more toward the "de ruptura" genre.

I am attracted to realistic situations and realistic acting. Santa Diabla, though it certainly reaches a level of drama that is not realistic, displays raw emotion in its characters and portrays them as real people with logical motives. There are all the typical plot points that make up a telenovela: love triangles, babies, drugs, family feuds and revenge. Yet at the same time, there is a realness to the characters that makes this telenovela lean toward the "de ruptura" side.

Amanda/ Santa is the main character of this telenovela. She is involved in a complex plan to bring down the Cano family, which involves marrying one of the sons in the family to get closer to the family she is looking to victimize. There is a profound amount of mystery surrounding Amanda's character, yet her reactions to everything that happens to her is neither melodramatic nor fake. She reacts to all of life's trials in a way that many others would too. Because of this, she is a character that, though I cannot relate to her struggles in life, I can relate to her motivations and her feelings of grief and fear at the prospect of never being with the man she loves and being pregnant by a man she doesn't love. Her life is ridiculous and unrealistic, but it is her reaction to the ridiculousness of it all that makes this telenovela more realistic as well as more enjoyable. Plus, her acting abilities are truly impressive. She invokes empathy and deep emotion in the viewers completely through her reactions.

One of the most marked reasons that Santa Diabla is a "de ruptura" telenovela is its tackling of difficult social issues. Race is an issue that Santa Diabla particularly deals with. The character of Mara, a black woman who is in a relationship with Arturo Cano, is one of the most engaging plot lines of the show. The display of racism in Arturo's mother is not only loathsome, but it is unexpected. In my limited, American point of view, I never thought of racism as an issue in Latin America. Santa Diabla is proving me profoundly wrong. I almost don't want Mara and Arturo to end up together because I don't want Mara to have such an awful mother-in-law.

I'm glad I chose to watch a telenovela that is of the "de ruptura" genre. It suits my personality and keeps me engaged in the story at hand. I have been sucked into Santa Diabla, and even if it isn't over by the end of the semester, I will keep watching just to know how it ends.

How does creative expression fit into the empire of telenovelas?

Even in two short weeks of diving into the world of telenovelas in this class, I’ve come to realize that telenovelas are just that-- an entire WORLD. An empire, even.

I never expected that there would be hundreds and thousands of them in existence. I never imagined that they would be used as a means of making a political statement, or drawing attention to a social issue, or even proving a point about the way humans think and perceive the world. To be completely honest, I didn’t think they were anything more than an overly dramatic, hyped-up form of homogenized, formulaic entertainment, just like certain virally popular TV shows in America.

I’ve come to realize that while telenovelas do generally share a common “melodramatic” structure, they certainly leave room for creative expression on the part of the writer.

As someone who writes music and poetry as a form of releasing my own emotions and thoughts, I’ve become intrigued by the way that a writer’s experiences and background can shape the communicative details of each individual telenovela, and how the audience receives and processes those details.

I want to see how a telenovela writer infuses their own views, heart, and soul into something that other people watch and can relate to. I want to see how a writer’s personality is expressed in the telenovelas they write, and how viewers respond to that expression.

When I write, I want someone to listen or read and say, “Yeah, I’ve been there. I know what that feels like.” Even if telenovelas are a bit more dramatic than real life sometimes, I’m sure there are instances and scenes that can still truly resonate with a viewer and make them think about their own personal situations and experiences. I mean, I think art is largely finding creative, unconventional ways to connect people are communicate with them. And based on what I’m learning so far, I think telenovelas are definitely a form of art in that sense.

Just like many other forms of art, telenovelas are obviously being commercialized so that people can make money. I’m studying music business, and through being immersed in the music industry, I’m seeing that there’s a very fine line between two things: (1) taking someone’s pre-existing artistic expression and selling it to an audience that will love and appreciate it and (2) forcing an artist to “express themselves” through something that fits an exact mold that will be guaranteed to generate millions of dollars for a large corporation.

In the case of the music industry, both of those situations happen every day. I’m intrigued to find out if the telenovela industry operates the same way, and I also want to see how the telenovela empire is affected by factors other than money, such as censorship, economic and social conditions of a country or region, and the constant international connections and relationships that the Internet has made possible. I’m excited to examine the industry more and see how telenovelas have evolved to create the empire that exists today, and how that empire is changing every day.

Common Misconceptions

Before taking this class, I was skeptical. I assumed every telenovela and soap opera consisted of the same melodramatic love story told by mediocre actors and actresses and played throughout the afternoon for women around the world. However, after some convincing from my advisor, I decided to give this class a try. Now, I admit my original perception of telenovelas was completely wrong.

Telenovelas, for one thing, are different than soap operas. Telenovelas have a finite number of episodes, and broadcast in primetime as well as in the afternoon block. They can go beyond the traditional telenovela “Rosa” and can tell stories about a variety of different topics. Not only do women enjoy telenovelas; many telenovelas around the world have captured the attention of men, women, and children. Telenovelas can also shed light on political and social issues, which leads me to the telenovela I have chosen to watch, “Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal.”

When choosing my telenovela, I originally thought I wanted to watch a more traditional telenovela featuring a Cinderella type protagonist and a heart-wrenching love story. I thought I wanted to study the more traditional structure of a telenovela “Rosa.” During our class discussion on telenovela typology, however, Dr. A played clips from a couple telenovelas that centered on the drug world. These telenovelas, or narconovelas, immediately caught my attention. I loved the idea of worldwide networks using telenovelas as a medium to bring attention to social issues. In the case of “Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal,” it was important for the country of Colombia to finally publicly release the story of Pablo Escobar, and allow the people of Colombia to grieve and move on from the terrible events that took place due to this now infamous man.

I have only watched a couple episodes so far, but from the first episode the presence of a Cinderella was clear. I was surprised to see that even a narconovela had some traditional elements in it. Paty, Pablo’s wife, is a much younger and very naïve girl. But, although the age difference is large, Pablo knows from the moment he meets Paty that she will be his wife. Pablo loves her with all of his heart, and Paty believes she is also in love. However, Paty has no idea of the business Pablo has become enthralled with. His love for money and power is almost more than his love for Paty. It will be interesting to see how their relationship continues as Pablo´s quest for power also continues.

I also thought the “entrada” to the telenovela was very interesting. You see Pablo as an older man on the phone. It appears he is about to be caught, and has hit the end of his domination of the Colombian drug industry. It is apparent this is how the telenovela might possibly end. Then, the telenovela switches back to Pablo as a young boy growing up in Colombia. The beginning gives you an immediate idea of what is to come. I think for this particular telenovela it was appropriate to structure the first episode in this way because everyone around the world knows the story of Pablo Escobar. Showing a clip from the end of his life is not going to spoil the entire telenovela. What makes this telenovela so fascinating is not what is going to happen next, but its ability to give the public a look inside of the every day life of one of the most infamous drug lords in the world.

So, I have realized there is a lot more to a telenovela than I originally thought. Telenovelas are an important part of Latin American culture, and I cannot wait to continue to watch the telenovela I have chosen, “Pablo Escobar, El Patrón del Mal.” 

Gender Representation In Telenovelas

After completing the second chapter of 'Santa Diabla', the concepts that we have recently covered in class are very apparent to me.  I am already noticing the gender representation and the 'cinderella' aspects of Santa Diabla.  The protagonist, Amanda Brown, is very much the 'cinderella' of the story. She is a single mother, with little income. She has lost her husband.  She is 'pretending' to marry a very wealthy man in the 'Cano' family. In recent episodes, Amanda has met another man that reminds her of Willy, her deceased husband, which happens to be her fiancé's brother.  The 'evil sister' of this telenovela is the sister in law (surprise surprise right?) who in the beginning, tried to hit on Amanda's husband Willy, before he died.
It is apparent in Latin America that the gender role is primarily focused on the man in the workforce and the wife at home being a caretaker.  While I did see this aspect in the beginning of the telenovela, when Willy was still alive, what I am noticing now is that the the gender representation is becoming contradictory.  In Caroline Acosta-Alzuru's article titled Fraught with Contradictions: the production, depiction, and consumption of women in a Venezuelan telenovela, she mentions how men treat and talk about their wives.  This contradicts the way in which the sister-in-law, Barbara treats Willy in the first episode.  She basically hits on him, a married man, while he is in her house teaching her sister piano.
While the above is contradictory, Barbara and Amanda are both stay at home wives and moms. Barbaras husband is a lawyer, and in the beginning, Willy found any job that he could on the side.  I feel that the gender representation may sometimes be skewed as a result of this being a program produced by a US broadcasting company Telemundo, but it may be too early in the telenovela to be able to tell!!

Another Lovely Cinderella Story...

     I believe that the magical Cinderella story is impregnated in all of Latin America. In a light hearted way, Dr. Acosta described the typical novel with our Cinderella: who is poor, beautiful, naive, rural, and with a evil stepmother. These are different versions of the Cinderella figure in the intimacy of our lives, in novelas, and in reality shows. Let's walk a mile in the glass slippers of each Cinderella. 
    My chilanga friend and I were discussing the different mentalities of love, romance, and marriage between the United States and Mexico. Amist it all, I found my self sighing once I heard the Cinderella story of her mother. She was known as "la roba maridos" that whenever she walked down the streets, husbands would hear the clacking of the heels and would run to peek out the windows. After begging for her love, she accepted a romantic date to Chapultepec, except she lost her heel down a street drain. He spent the whole afternoon saving her heel, but she called another pretendiente to rescue her, instead. Ever since then, her husband will awalys tease, "como me hizo sufrir por su amor."
    In the Brazilian novela "Amor a Vida," we are faced with a modern Cinderella that fits some charactersitics. She is beautiful and naive, but she doesn't have an evil stepmother, instead an evil adopted mother. The beautiful Paloma leaves her riches and falls inlove with a poor traveler. Blinded by love, she falls in deep love, abandoned when she is giving birth to his child, and finally rejects him, yet we will see him return in the future. 
    A true Cinderella with a different love story is the one of Marisela Demontecristo. A Salvadorena, poor, naive, rural and three judges as her evil step mother, she wins her crown as La Belleza Latina del 2013, her happy ending. Who saves her? Her true love, the over 10 million votes she received. As she heard her name proclaiming her as the winner, she cried telenovela tears, and was  as sweet, pure, and humble as Thalia de Las Marias. 
     The archetypal Cinderella transform, shapes and molds into everyday life in Latin America and in the United States. It can be the mother's romance, the novela de las 8, or on reality television. It's a good thing we don't all have to be a combination of poor, beautiful, naive, rural, and with an evil stepmother.
Here is Marisela Demontecristo receiving her award on Univision.
Marisela Demontecristo Nbl

"Tu Cariño es un Castigo"

"Tu Cariño es un Castigo" by Walter Muñoz is the theme song for hasta que la plata nos separe, the telenovela I chose. After going on a binge watch of about 6 episodes in one day, I decided to look up the lyrics to the song. Here is a little background of the telenovela first though:  

The storyline is very interesting because there are two separate stories that end up colliding in the end of the first episode. On one side you have Alejandra, a successful businesswoman that is used to the good life. She is engaged to the world's most annoying man that only wants her for her money. On the other side is Rafael Mendez, a modest man that sells just about anything (lingerie, liquor, pens, batteries, etc.) to support his mom and little sister. He is actually hilarious and drives around an old yellow car that he calls "el tigre". Anyways, by the end of the first episode Alejandra and Rafael get in a car wreck on their drive back to the city and she gets seriously injured. She ends up in the hospital with severe injuries that don't allow her to go back to work for a while, However, it is really bad timing because  she's actually in serious financial debt that she is not willing to accept. They finally come up with an agreement and for Rafael to stay out of jail, he must somehow pay back $110,000,000 pesos (about $56,000US) in three years. Rafael has never even been close to earning this kind of money, and now he is responsible for earning it for someone who absolutely despises him (for now). 

I find it interesting that in a lot of telenovelas they pretty much explain how the story goes in the beginning of every episode while the theme song plays and the characters are introduced. The title of the theme song says a lot about the telenovela. "Your affection is a punishment" describes the relationship between Alejandra and Rafael in a nutshell. They are bound by an agreement and no matter how much they despise each other, they are extremely dependent on one another. This not a traditional love story by any means, Rafael and Alejandra are the epitome of a love/hate relationship. I just haven't gotten to the love part yet.... 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A new world of Telenovelas

Wow. At this point in time that is literally all I have to say. There are so many things that I have learned in the past few weeks that it is honestly hard to start this post. I think the biggest thing that I’m shocked about is the melodrama of telenovelas in general. As we studied the different types of telenovelas I was more and more intrigued by the structure of each story. The good guy. The bad guy. The evil step mom. The prince charming. The Cinerella. The love triangles. The twists and turns of each telenovela were so captivating.

Although I was intrigued by this class, I was not to the point of being completely hooked until I began watching La Tempestad, the telenovela that I have chosen to study this semester. I watched the first episode and was more and more curious about the characters. Who loved who? Who was the good guy? Why was the hot guy who I thought was going to be prince charming such a jerk? How was everyone somehow related? What happened to the baby that had been kidnapped? By the 2nd episode I was absolutely hooked! The characters gained so much depth in such a short amount of time. Everyone was connected somehow. The liars and deceivers and malicious people were all sneaking around back stabbing each other and it suddenly had sucked me into a whole new world.

I felt so invested. I wanted the main character to fall in love with the attractive man and the mom to find her lost daughter and the evil father to just go away and never come back. There were moments when I wanted to scream at a character and then cry with another. I was honestly shocked how invested I had become in such a short amount of time and how every day I looked forward to that 49 minutes of chaos, drama and unexpected twists and turns.

Although I was skeptical of the influence a simple television show could have on an entire culture, society and nation, I now see it so clearly. These telenovelas have serious impact. I love that there are no seasons. I was shocked to discover that multiple telenovelas play at the same time. I had no idea that they played every day and that a large majority of people religiously watch them…EVERY DAY! Instead of waiting a week to watch one episode, the characters in telenovelas soon become a part of daily life. It now makes so much sense that the underlying messages and topics covered in a telenovela can stir into society and influence the entire nation that watches.

My last thing I must rant about is how interesting it is to learn about the different telenovelas in each country. My mom is Colombian so I was immediately interested in Colombia and its culture and telenovela history. I soon was fascinated by the Rosa Mexican telenovelas known as the “criers” compared to the De Ruptura Brazilian telenovelas known as the realists. Each country whether it was Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia or even Miami (since we are including Miami in the Latin American world) has their own twist or form of telenovelas. I can’t wait to learn more and more about the differences in culture, media and society in my newly discovered telenovela world.