This is a class blog run by Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and her students in the course "Telenovelas, Culture and Society" at the University of Georgia during Spring 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Yes, I'm judging.

Today in class, I noticed something about my own behavior every time we watch clips of telenovelas.

I chuckle to myself as if I'm above it all.

The thing is, I've never actually sat down and watched a full episode of a telenovela. Who am I to judge them? I think I'm still seeing the telenovelas through the lens of what I know about American soap operas. Like we discussed in lecture, American soap opera actors are often considered second-rate. And no offense to anyone who worships daytime television, but the whole idea of a soap opera comes off as trashy to me.

I guess it's up to me to decide to separate my experiences with American soaps from my experiences with telenovelas -- to look at the telenovela with a fresh eye. Maybe all it will take is one episode to have me forever in love with the medium.

Crossing my fingers and opening my mind.


  1. Until reading this, I never noticed that I was doing the same exact thing: laughing when we viewed telenovela clips (with the underlying reason being I thought I was superior to the plots, characters, etc). I'm so glad I read this before starting to watch my telenovela. Yes, some clips we have watched are over the top dramatic and cheesy, but I do need to begin watching the telenovelas with no stereotypes or past experiences in mind.

  2. I use to think the same thing, mainly because of what others(non-viewers, btw) told me about telenovelas. After watching them, I didn't mind the plots. I actually enjoyed them. I had an issue with the music! It seemed like every other second there was some cheesy dunh-ta dunhhh! However, I gained a new appreciation for the music in telenovelas after two separate presentations. The first was Dr. A's presentation on Music. I really enjoyed breaking down the lyrics and seeing how many of the theme songs are tailor made for individual telenovelas. The second thing that helped me to gain more respect for telenovelas was the video we watched of one of the twin music directors and his breakdown of each specific type of music involved in telenovela production. His video really increased my knowledge and appreciation for the musical portion of telenovelas.

  3. I'm on the same boat as all of you guys, but granted it took me a while to break out of this mentality. I do acknowledge the cheesiness, and I think everyone does. Cheesiness sells because we can see and understand it - a great deal of cheesiness is universal. We're captivated by the ridiculous, the weird, and the hilarious. Whatever sells and works for both the network and the writer will be used time and time again. Incidental music still works. Slapstick still works. Poor children still work. Crying, hysterical women still work. Angry, booming villains still work. Violence still works. Rape still works. And finally, a double (slightly sacrilegious) entendre: pregnant virgins still work.