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

Saturday, March 5, 2011

La Familia

The representation of family in some telenovelas is very interesting to me. Although there is the saying no family is perfect, I also believe that no family endures the problems that some of the families in certain telenovelas experience. In the telenovela that I watched for my report, ¿Dondé Está Elisa?, an image of a perfect family set in the first episode is thrown spiraling down and dark secrets are exposed as the destruction of the Altamira begins. This particular family not only has the challenges and conflicts that come about from Elisa’s kidnapping, but also the acts of adultery and infidelity common to any romantic drama. When this telenovela comes to its end, you cannot help but thinking “Wow, this is one messed up family.” The relationships amongst different family members are unique, to say the least. For example, Elisa, the apparent innocent child who has gone missing in the telenovela, is in reality no “Lilly White.” This young girl with a certain “zest for living” is not only hooking up with her cousin, Santiago, (kind of weird) but also has intimate relations with her uncle, Bruno (takes the cake for weird). And if that wasn’t weird enough for you, Elisa’s cousin Eduardo has a crush on her and is jealous of Santiago and his make out session with Elisa in the club. Although Bruno is not her blood uncle (not her dad’s brother), still a little weird and unique situation amongst a family. Bruno’s affair with Elisa makes Mariano’s affair with his secretary seem normal and almost a normal behavior. Last but not least, the homosexual affair between two characters completes the circle of peculiar affairs that can happen in a telenovela. The lack of trust amongst this family is the very root of its dysfunctional behavior. Greed and low-balling amongst the different members of the family business makes you wonder if anyone is this family actually likes each other. And not to mention the kidnappers of Elisa, her aunt and uncle Cecilia and Bruno, who honestly saw that coming. To top it off, Elisa’s killer is her aunt Cecilia. With all this obscure family relations and romances, we are introduced to an obscenely weird family. Like I said, I understand no family is perfect, but is it really possible for any family to be this weird?


  1. Nick, I definitely agree with you about the extremity of family problems in telenovelas. I saw it too in Rebelde Way. Kids were adopted while parents did drugs. Moms and daughters fought over the same boys. Donde Esta Elisa's story line does seem extremely dramatic and unrealistic. I thought the same thing: How could all of that actually happen? Usually, I would think a more realistic story line would capture the attention, but instead, the intense and continuous drama with this family seems to be capturing its viewers. Very interesting post and viewpoint!

  2. This seems like the kind of drama I need to be tuning in to! :) Telenovelas are known for their melodramatic storylines, what else is new?! I agree that this was takes the icing off the cake though! Sleeping with your cousin? Definitely a little over the top! Due to the fact that telenovelas are shown to diverse viewers around the world, I wonder how plots like these affect people's perception of Latin cultural norms. I hope they are able to decipher that this plot is not at all characteristic of most Latino families!