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?

Response to Social Inequality

As we begin to look at the consumption side of Telenovelas, I am interested to study how people react to the social issues that are brought up in the telenoveals. We've observed many [extreme poverty, single-motherhood, drugs, sickness] just to name a few. Telenovela writers are faced with a difficult task: How to insure the integrity of their writing, while ensuring high viewer ratings? We can all agree that no one wants to turn on the TV and see nothing but the woes of life. I would like to see citizens becoming more civically engaged. I would like to see people feel empowered by telenovelas. I would like to see a lot more than just gossip on some online blog, or random tweets about how "good" an episode was. After watching the Globo TV documentary clip, I realized how important telenovelas have become in the everyday lives of poor people in Latin America. This makes me wonder how helpful Telenovelas have been in changing the lives of its viewers. I am currently reading a book titled "A Fistful of Rice" by Vikram Akula. The author is the founder and owner of SKS Microfinance Corp. The book is an autobiography of sorts. In it Akula, explains his business and why microfinance is a viable solution to helping the poor. This is the kind of innovation and action I'd like to see result from watching Telenovelas. Is this unrealistic??

Poor reactions to Sin tetas no hay paraíso

Just like most people in the class, I have become utterly obsessed with my telenovela. I find myself wondering about my favorite characters during the middle of my history class, while cooking dinner, while going to bed... it never escapes me! I have even expanded outside of STNHP and watched several other Colombian telenovelas. MTV 3 has a novela with Colombian and Mexican actors called Niñas Mal that I have been watching at work (instead of actually working). I have also watched an episode of Rosario Tijeras, another novela dealing with the drug trade, sicarios, etc. Rosario Tijeras would have been really cool to study for my Representation and Identity with regard to gender relations in the novela. Rosario Tijeras is a female character in who becomes a sicario, which needs no other explanation.
However, the aspect of these telenovelas that I have been most interested in has been the reactions of my roommates and friends towards them. I was excited for my roommates to walk into the house and see me on the couch watching "Mexican soap operas" (their words, not mine). Like an experiment, I wanted to see how they reacted. However, their criticisms really disappointed me for several reasons. At least twice, I was asked why I was watching "smut." Nobody could understand why I would be studying such a thing.
After several long conversations, friends and roommates at least came to accept that telenovelas were an incredibly interesting topic worthy of discussion. That being said, I was never quite convince any of them to watch an episode with me. Excuses of every type were made, ranging from unfamiliarity with Spanish, no time, etc. I wondered how these novelas could be any different (despite a smaller budget and language) than the shows that my friends watch. Surely the issues depicted in STNHP are far more interesting than those of The OC. Right? Although I would certainly never say that my 6 friends were any indication of a broader trend in the US, their reactions intrigued me. The genre is obviously popular worldwide, including here in the states. I wanted to know why most of them considered what I was watching to be trash. Their responses were unexpected.
Nearly all (5 out of 6) of the people who I asked the question responded as saying that the "low-budget quality" was why they were not interested. What does this mean on a broader level? Here in the US, people are obviously more accustomed to gaudy special effects and big-budget blockbusters. Directors like Michael Bay and James Cameron make their names by ostentatiously throwing huge budget effects, stars, sets, and plots at an audience willing to exchange it for any sort of real substance. Maybe I should have shown Caminho das Índias to them. Or maybe this says something broader about or society, but as to what it would say, I don't know. I would like to study this topic more as the semester progresses!

Vampires and Novelas??

Do you think vampires could ever be involved in a telenovela? Americans seem obsessed with them. Walk into any retail bookstore, and the entire teen fiction section is filled with various novels all pertaining to the same vampire theme. Ann Rice was writing such novels for adults years prior, but has anyone's mother read through the entire Twilight series like mine? If there were to be a telenovela including vampires, it would probably look much like the popular TV series Vampire Diaries on the CW.
We have the classic, beautiful female protagonist with a preexisting emotional history. Her parents have recently died, her professors have zero sympathy, and her younger brother is dealing drugs and completely separated from school and family. Add in sexy new student and the beginnings of a steamy romance. This guy (vampire) also happens to be one of a dynamic brotherly duo, one good and the other bad. Hello perfect telenovela love triangle! I'll also add that the protagonist apparently looks exactly like a girl from their past; she was a lover to them both. In addition, the protagonist's best friend is a witch who is just learning of her family's power. The drama is even more absurd than this description.
If I was to comment on this show just last month, I probably would have said that it was a waste of time. However, much like the novela I'm watching, I was completely hooked after giving it a chance. I don't know if the whole vampire theme would go over well in Latin America. Many telenovelas serve as an extension of cultural issues currently concerning the given society. Vampires don't exactly represent real-life issues. The fantasy created does; however, provide immediate escape and enjoyment. If vampires did show up in a telenovela, who knows what these characters might represent. Perhaps a certain political leader, currently sucking the life out of his country and people??

Friday, March 4, 2011

Actually thinking about Telenovela consumption is baffling...

Since I've watched telenovelas for basically all of my life, I already knew how addicting they were. I knew that once you watched the first episode, or any episode for that matter, you were going to be hooked, and wouldn't want to watch anything else at 7:00 pm; but I had never actually thought about why or how it is that the telenovela is so incredibly addicting. I have watched shows on American television which are good and all, but I am do not feel that need or urge to watch the next episode. With telenovelas, it's like you just can't wait, you NEED it to be the next day so you can see what happens.

Up until this Representation and Identity assignment, I hadn't watched many telenovelas since between studying and work there is no time for that. But with this assignment, it reminded me just how addicting these telenovelas are. Watching Mas Sabe el Diablo never seemed like a task, it was wonderful and I was actually kind of upset when I knew that I needed to work on other things or just stop watching it. That may be kind of pathetic, but it's true. I am interested to see what exactly we will learn in this topic of consumption, and see if maybe I will finally discover how it is that telenovelas just have that "You NEED to watch me" characteristic. Or maybe, it is just us and human nature loves excessive drama? Who knows. All I know is that when I sit down and think about the past ten years of my life, and think about how many telenovelas I've watched and how many hours I've sat in front of the television screen, it is kind of ridiculous. The gist of this whole post is I cannot believe just how addicting telenovelas really are...but it is nice to know I'm not the only person who apparently is addicted and can't step away from the television when my telenovela is on.

They Caught Like a Fish On a Lure

Dr. A warned me, and I didn't pay her any mind...but she was 100% right. I AM HOOKED! I analyzed Dónde Está Elisa for my identity and representation report, and the more I watched the show, the less of an actual assignment it became. My favorite part of the show? There was a GAY character which is very modern and progressive of the show.

The love triangles in Dónde Está Elisa were SICK. Elisa, a 17-year-old girl had sexual relations with both of her first cousins, and her uncle— and no, I’m not joking. All of the main characters were ridiculously attractive and I even started following a couple on Twitter! I could go on forever talking about the show, but then I’d just be writing another paper. I just wanted to share how amazingly addictive and dramatic las telenovelas are.

Funny story— So I’m in the SLC watching an episode during one of the peaks of the plotline and Viviana discovers her husband’s wedding band in her gay best friend’s bathroom. Needless to say, I squealed like a little girl which received some stares from other students, but I didn’t care because it was THAT crazy.

I’m currently on the hunt for a telenovela just as intense so I can spend hours of my life watching fictitious people fight, kill, yell, and partake in illegal activities.

Thoughts after a paper on my telenovela

So the other day Dr. A told us that as students we are probably consuming the telenovelas a little differently than typical fanatics of the show in that we are watching with our brains too and not only our hearts. I would definitely say this is true for me. I do not usually get pulled into "drama" and usual am turned off by t.v. shows that use lots of drama. I got tired of watching my telenovela sometimes because I just couldn't believe that the character's action/ view of something was similar to reality.

I am still glad I picked to watch one of Padron's though because he does make an effort to tie his thesis for the plot to modern day issues. I respect what he is doing and trying to say to his audience but still get tired of some of the drama he must infuse to hook his viewers. I thought the stats that we talked about in class the other day about plastic surgery in Venezuela vs. the poverty was unbelievable. My question is though how much the audience actually internalizes any of his messages though. If they don't like their show too close to reality are they actually apply the message of the show to themselves? In the same way that the amount of plastic surgery is ridiculous the amount of t.v.s these people own even if impoverished astounds me. His message about the ridiculous obcession with one thing I believe could also be transfered over to the obsession with the telenovelas.

Telenovelas on Mute

I am about 15 episodes deep in my telenovela, Alma Pirata, and by this point it's undeniable that I enjoy taking some time off the hectic schedule to watch my telenovela.  Because I spend a lot of time with my friend Clint, and he is often present when i pull up episodes, he is pretty up to speed too. I have already told him the storyline, he knows which characters are together and who the antagonists are. Like with many of my classmate's friends and roommates, he initially thought it was cheesy and dramatic. However, I noticed that now he actually sits through the telenovela and pays attention! He is taking Spanish, so when i commented on this he get became defensive and told me he was brushing up on the language. I know better, though!

Troughout the episode, i recap the events for him so he can understand. I know that Argentine Spanish is harder to understand sometimes, and the characters speak very fast! However, i still think that the vibes and body language put out by the characters, the atmosphere of the scene, and the music can transmit the general gist of the events.

To step in the shoes of my friend, i watched some episodes of random telenovelas on Univision, but set the TV on mute. It was amazing how much could be understood, but the details sometimes were lost. This is why I try to tell Clint all the details i can, since this is often the juiciest part, and what distinguishes many telenovelas from others with similar plots. Although i understood the plot of these telenovelas, they are definately not as fun without the dramatic music and the myriad of different accents in the actor's dialogues!

An American remake?

Since telenovelas are constantly remade in other countries, and the U.S. created Ugly Betty as a telenovela remake, I thought it would be fun to compare the actors in Corazón Salvaje to some Hollywood actors.

Juan: Juan del Diablo is the important male lead in Corazón Salvaje. He is rugged, manly and romantic. I couldn't help but compare him to Mel Gibson circa 1995's Braveheart. Am I right or are they twins?

Mónica: The second protagonist is Mónica, the innocent, angelic, pretty love interest of Juan. She is the perfect contrast to her promiscuous sister. Mónica has soft blonde hair and big eyes that, of course, gaze up at Juan adoringly for about 90 percent of the telenovela. I think a good American version is Amanda Seyfried - pretty, but can look a little naive.

Aimee: Mónica's sister is her antithesis; she is promiscuous, sexy and manipulative. I think there's only one actress who could do justice to the character Aimee...

Andrés: The final main character is Andrés, Aimee's husband and Juan's brother. He is sophisticated and more of a "pretty boy" type than Juan. However, I think that one important characteristic is his ability to look a little bit crazy. He has more than a few scenes where he looks like he's snapped. I think Cillian Murphy has both the distinguished and high society look of Andrés, as well as his craziness. (Anyone remember Red Eye?)

Can any of you think of other good actors for an American remake?

Every Dawg Has Its Day

For those of you who don't know (and I'll assume most of you don't) I'm a huge music junkie. And not the Lady Gaga kind. I love Gaga, don't get me wrong, but that's beside the point.

I'm a big proponent of what most call "classical music" and its role in our society today. Just the other day, I was talking to a friend about the professional orchestra as a musical idiom – where it's been, where it is, and where it's going. As you might imagine, orchestral music isn't really in its heyday any longer. It struggles to remain a relevant part of our lives, and that struggle isn't getting any easier.

So there are possibilities. Maybe it's cyclical, and the orchestra will make a comeback in a couple decades.

Or maybe we're witnessing its death. Whomp whomp.

Or maybe, to survive, the orchestra has to become something entirely new, to streamline itself in order to stay relevant.

Don't lose me. I'm about to get to the telenovela part of this.

My question is this: When, if ever, will this point come for the telenovela? It wouldn't be the first time something has died off in the world of television, or even broadcasting in general. I can guarantee you no one sits by the fire and listens to mystery theatre on the radio anymore. And the last real sitcom any of us saw probably hailed from the '90s or early 2000s.

So when does the telenovela reach its day of reckoning? Is it anywhere close? Or is it an art form that's impervious to the evolution of our world? Was the emergence of the telenovela verista just a nuance in the idiom, or was it a way of trying to keep up with a people who sometimes need more than just a melodramatic love story? And if it was a survival tactic, what's next in the telenovela's bag of tricks?

So this one's for you to answer, should you choose to do so. Do you think the telenovela is as tried and true as the peanut butter & jelly sandwich, or do you think it will face the chopping block one day? Why? And if so, when? I'm curious.
Pop Influence in Telenovelas
Last week in class we watched a clip from what I think was Cosita Rica in which one of the rich characters gazes out of his window through a telescope into Barrio Republica and sees Maria Suspiro and other poor people doing some sort of choreographed dance to loud hip hop music. This scene struck me because while I know that pop is something which has its own flavor in every culture, this bumping display seemed like something out of a Justin Timberlake video. There were hot chicks shimmying and shaking their assets, thug looking dudes clapping and bobbing their heads to the fast beat of some crazy street drummers. Once you get over the fact that this is all being portrayed through the lens of a telescope, the song takes off and it is easy to get the catchy tune stuck in your head. When I was reflecting on this song, and comparing it to the other songs we've studied in this class, I realized that it distinguished itself greatly from the more traditional songs like Copa Rota, which rely more on melodramatic wailing-type despecho tunes than the aggressive, hip-hoppy sound of the one in Cosita Rica. Another song I remember having the pop feel was Rebelde Way, surely in an attempt to appeal to their younger target audience. Going back to Cosita Rica, I noticed a very interesting detail in the selection of the background dancer's wardrobes. Three of the men were wearing NBA jerseys, something which struck me as peculiar, since my impression of Venezuelan sport fanaticism had it pretty much narrowed down to baseball and soccer. I attribute this to the powerful influence of American hip hop, as I'm sure the jerseys have far more to do with expressing any sort of team loyalty than they do for identifying the wearer as a member of pop culture. Even more interesting were the cities repped on these jerseys. A yellow Lakers jersey (Shaq), a blue Knicks jersey (Lattrell Spreewell), and a red Heat jersey (Alonzo Mourning) were the chosen threads. What, besides a powerful hip hop/pop presence do the cities of Los Angeles, New York, and Miami have in common? All three are home to flourishing Latino populations. This evidence points to a clear mimicry of leading pop culture:
America is the leader in hip hop/pop.
Latino populations are strongest in big cities like NYC, LA, and Miami, where many form their own interpretations of pop in music and style, borrowing heavily from what is being done by the popular American artists.
Crossover between Latinos in the US and the people from wherever they call happens through natural interactions and things like social media.
We end up with kids sporting Carmelo Anthony jerseys in Barrio Republica and its real life counterparts whether they know who he is or not.

Men at their primal state

Im my telenovela, Sin Pechos No Hay Paraiso, one of the main (if not the main topic) was how a flat chested woman needed breast implants to be attractive to wealthy drug dealers. Now, just about every guy (me included) would say that their ideal woman would physically have a beautiful face, nice smooth legs, nice butt, and of course good sized breasts (just saying). On the flip side, just about any guy is smart enough to never hold out for this seemingly unattainable/unreal "ideal" physical woman. Contrary to popular female belief guys are smarter than this, thus we take more important things into consideration when picking partner like personality, humor, and chemistry. Now, the guys in SPNHP are millionares and care little about long term relationships, therefore physical appearance is all they care about, hence why Catalina believes she needs to get breast implants to be attractive. You see, these drug dealers have so many options (prepaid hookers) that they can be EXTRA picky when choosing a woman, and so they will get as close to the "ideal' physical woman as they can. It's a sad truth that if every man could they would have a perfect woman, but its the same for women. I'm sure women would want a toned muscled, perfect skinned, and athletic guy (and yes I'm single). Luckily for everyone, normal everyday humans do indeed take other things besides physical attributes when choosing a partner, sometimes even more than the physical beauty itself (as it should be). Catalina was right to needing breast implants when trying to attract those scumbag dealers, but only because they are jaded with mindless women that happen to have rocking bodies, but nothing else to offer. I doubt behind the endless hot women, piles of money, fast cars, and mansions that none of those dealers can truly be happy without a "real" woman by their side to love them. Even if she might not have the best bust, butt, or face as long as their is true chemistry happiness is just around the corner...if only Catalina could see what her mom saw in Albeiro (background: Her mom ended up with a Catalina's former boyfriend who happened to be poor, kind, and great...awesome love triangle by the way.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Alzheimer's in 'Rubi'

A few classes ago we discussed reoccurring themes in telenovelas. I was surprised to find the gravity of some of the issues that were so often included in the telenovela. Often times I seem to focus on the telenovela as being purely entertainment...and often times, with its melodrama, it's hard to take seriously. However, I think its pretty awesome that the writers chose to include such serious issues in their shows. Not only are these issues relevant to society, but telenovelas are of such influential power that they may be able to draw attention to these issues in the proper way--whether it be by raising awareness or simply helping people to understand those around them who might be different.

One of the issues we learned was prevalent in the telenovela was Alzheimer's Disease. When I heard this in class, I thought it was kind of a random issue to focus on. I understand the severity of the disease and that it is a heartbreaking illness. However, I did not realize the large percentage of the population that may develop Alzheimer's -- currently 5.2 billion people have the disease. Needless to say, this is a lot. Also, hispanics are almost 2 times as likely as whites to develop the disease. After learning this, I can see why the issue is so often included.

As far as my telenovela 'Rubi' goes, I found it incredibly ironic that the day we discussed Alzheimer's in class was the day Alzheimer's came into the plot in my telenovela. One of the mothers of the romantic leads develops the disease quite suddenly. I found it very interesting that the writer used the woman and her disease to get a message across. The woman was portrayed as naive, sweet, and innocent-yet they did not belittle her or make her seem helpless. Also, despite her disease the woman with Alzheimer's served as a positive and guiding force to the younger generation in the telenovela. She is able to calm a man, Hector, who is about to commit a murder simply by looking him in the eyes and reminding him of what a good person he is at heart. Although the woman is not 100% herself, Hector listens to her because he knows she is speaking the truth---she has no reason to lie.

I'm sure the writer included Alzheimer's because so many people can relate to the struggle of having a loved one with this disease. I think telenovelas should be acclaimed for taking it upon themselves to inform the public about such serious social issues.


Today in class, Dr. A lectured about the role of consumption and audience reception for a telenovela. She explained to us that the chemistry has to be electric for the love plotlines in telenovelas in order for the audience to become completely addicted to the telenovela. An example that Dr. A used today was in the telenovela “Cosita Rica” with the love story between Veronica and Cacique. Even though I only got watch clips of the telenovela, I could automatically sense the deep love and attraction the couple has for each other.

For my paper, I chose to watch “Corazon Salvaje.” My favorite part of the telenovela that kept me wanting more was the story between Juan del Diablo and Monica. Although the two are complete opposites in many regards, they have this undeniable chemistry for one another that makes the entire telenovela seem more plausible. The beginning of the telenovela was so captivating when Juan del Diablo and Aimee were together, but those two just shared attraction and passion. Monica and Juan del Diablo’s relationship is what made the telenovela addicting.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Today in class, Dr. A talked about the vanity of Venezuelans and how the public fully expect the protagonists (and almost every other character) of telenovelas to be beautiful. Obviously, it's very rare that the characters of a telenovela are not extremely attractive, but Venezuelans seem to take the cake. The telenovela that I am watching, Gabriela, does show the protagonists being very attractive, but one of the antagonists is rather gross looking.

Ernesto, a friend of Gabriela's father, is a manager at the factory she works at and also happens to be lusting after her. However, Ernesto slicks his hair back like Danny Devito in Matilda, dresses in frumpy suits, and is very thin with a creepy goatee. To me, he looks like a sleazy car sales man. In my mind, even the protagonists should be beautiful in order to tug at the heartstrings of some and to confuse the protagonist. However, I do think that Colombian telenovelas put less of an emphasis on beauty.

Even the glamour of beauty is very evident in the Venezuelan telenovelas. In Gabriela, the factory life is not glamourize, and even the rich people in the telenovela didn't seem to have the glitzy flair that the women in La Mujer Perfecta seem to possess. Perhaps it is just the style, but one can tell that there is a distinct difference between the emphasis on beauty in these two countries.

Corazón Salvaje - Confirming Preconceptions

After desperately searching for Kassandra online and finding nothing, I was short on time until the paper and I quickly purchased the abridged version of Corazón Salvaje from Amazon because it showed up as most popular. It was somewhat annoying to watch the abridged version, because everything would happen so quickly, and it was much harder to connect with the characters. I had a hard time believing Juan and Mónica's relationship, because from what was shown the relationship between Juan and Aimeé was much more real. I think this version skipped a lot of Juan and Mónica's relationship as it grew in the early stages, so I was pretty skeptical throughout most of their relationship. I also found myself feeling sorry for Aimeé as well. For the purpose of this class, though, it was nice that I could sit down and get the gist of the love story all the way to the end without having to watch 200 full episodes.

As far as the telenovela itself, I do feel that it somewhat confirmed my early perceptions of the telenovela - over-dramatic, poorly made, and very similar to the American Soap Opera. I enjoyed the storyline and it kept me intrigued, although I wish I might have chosen a more modern telenovela that could have possibly broken the stereotypes in my mind. It was, however, a great example of a telenovela rosa. It was very interesting to me to pick out and look at all of the elements of a telenovela rosa that we learned about in class.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hello Consumption

After only one class of being introduced to the consumption of telenovelas, I know I'm going to enjoy it more than the representation and identity portion. The most interesting aspect of telenovelas has got to be the people who watch them. That's the whole point of these shows even being in existence! The audience is the second author of the telenovela itself.

Although I know the documentary featured a really poor part of Brazil, it was really sad to see that television can prevail over food and having a refrigerator. I understand that telenovelas can be addicting, but people who would rather have a TV than have proper nourishment for their families must be a little off.

We also discussed where to go to find people who watch telenovelas and where to find their opinions. I never would have looked up specific telenovelas on Facebook, but that is a great location to find information and fans of these shows!

When Dr. A started talking about message boards and the different ways in which she analyzes them, I was really shocked. I have always thought of message boards as being places where really bored people go to write mostly nonsense or really biased opinions about things. Although the latter is true, there is definitely more to it than that.

The psychology behind analyzing these message boards is what really caught my attention. Dr. A knows the different "nicks" and starts to realize patterns in their comments from telenovela post to telenovela post. It's more of like a detective job than just studying telenovelas!

I am definitely looking forward to learning more about the consumption of these shows.

Drama on Steroids

The only available version of Corazon Salvaje I was able to find was the condensed version and though this was a great alternative I wish that I could have seen the whole story play out! The condensed version really helped to watch for this specific class but I feel like I missed out on the unfolding of the plot, specific other details and not to mention I feel like I was literally jumping to each important scene with no fluff in between. This was a little frustrating but at the same time it almost made the telenovela more entertaining because of the constant high drama (yes telenovelas always have high drama but this one was on steroids!).

Because it seemed they would only skip to the specific important scenes I feel like there was always intense drama all the time a.k.a instant entertainment. Every scene started out with dramatic music, a slow fade into the scene, and someone (mostly the women) either crying, sighing, or yelling while revealing what seemed like life or death information while another character becomes absolutely SHOCKED at what was just informed to him/her! I know I wasn’t suppose to be laughing during these times but it was kind of hard not…the intensity was priceless. This type of cut though was what also kept me addicted. With the constant drama I couldn’t help but watch on to find out what happens and by the time that problem was quickly solved there was already another conflict arising! There was just never a good time to pause, I had to just keep watching and watching!

Don’t get me wrong though, I really did enjoy Corazon Selvaje I don’t mean to poke fun at all, I am just a sucker for cheesy drama and find it very enjoyable! It truly was a great story, a classic Cinderella with a bit of a twist. The characters were amazing and not to mention I really did fall for the beautiful Juan del Diablo!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Juan del Diablo: not such a bad guy after all

What made Corazón Salvaje such a good telenovela to me was the production's choice of actors. If you don't want to read me fawning please just ignore this post. Oh, and here's a fun warning:


So in my last post I expressed my frustration of Corazón Salvaje's choice of Eduardo Palomo as the male lead. Now that I have finished watching the series, I can now understand why Televisa would choose Palomo. Thank you, Rebecca Holton, for planting the seed that changed my mind!

Like other Cinderellas before him (Corazón Salvaje is indeed a Cinderella story), Juan del Diablo undergoes a transformation in character. His behavior and mannerisms don't change, but his hidden altruism shines forth in his decisions as the series progresses. Other than his counsels, Noel Mancera and his wife, Monica, Juan lets no other man or woman take control of his life. Being "del Diablo", fate and chance take every opportunity to tear him from his well-deserved role in society, but Juan stands firm. For Eduardo Palomo, this is a huge testament to his acting ability. It is difficult to portray a character like Juan who changes only in minute ways. His character development can only really be seen in his choices and relationships with his close friends and "family". Palomo pulls this off with both style and ruggedness - a combination I did not fathom as possible in acting. It is a true shame that he has passed away, for I would love to see where his acting career would have taken him.

I am thoroughly surprised by how well the writers of Corazón Salvaje were able to make me HATE Andres, Juan's half-brother. When he fell, he fell HARD. I've witnessed sane friends go off the deep end like he did, so his insanity was just so believable to me. I expected evil from his mother, Sofia, but not from a kind man like him! Corazón Salvaje proved me completely wrong, and I thoroughly enjoyed his twist in character. When I watch a show of any kind, I absolutely LOVE when my predictions are wrong! Kudos to Ariel López Padilla for his metamorphosis from Andres A to Andres B - truly a Jekyll and Hyde situation.

I still adore Edith González! ( I won't repeat my admiration for her portrayal of Monica, because I did in my last post.) What a graceful lady! Not everyone is a fan of her cute looks, but I sure am! She is currently returning to the telenovela scene, and I would love to see how age has treated - I assume it has been well :)

WARNING! Telenovelas Are A Trap!

I must admit that I was quite skeptical when Dr. A told the class during our first class meeting that we would all become addicted to telenovelas. I thought to myself, "I'm sure they're interesting, but I doubt I will get attached." ...WRONG! While watching my self-assigned telenovela for our "Representation and Identity" paper, I had to constantly remind myself that this wasn't for pleasure, and that I did in fact have to type a paper as well.

I blame the writers of telenovelas and their talent to draw in their audience with something dramatic occurring each week. Most telenovelas have this brilliant pattern of starting off slow for several weeks, then dramatically rising towards its peak with a cliffhanger that will leave you speechless. There were so many moments where I would scream, jump and yell at my computer screen as I watched Alguien Te Mira. I didn't realize how attached I was until I noticed how many hours had gone by as I watched each episode. Once you have reached the novela's cliffhanger, there is absolutely no way that you would be able to live with yourself until you are able to see the final conclusion.

I am going to challenge/ recommend all television fanatics, regardless of whether they comprehend Spanish or not, to get lost in the telenovela fantasy world. I believe that it's a culture that people should experience and have a better grasp of.

NO excuses, because there are definitely sub-titles available as well.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Different Perspective

Since the beginning of the semester, my roommates have found it funny that I am watching and following a telenovela. They laugh when they hear Spanish voices coming from my inside my room. None of my roommates have any background or experience with the Spanish language. I decided to get a new perspective for this blog entry and showed my roommate a clip of Rebelde Way and asked her a few questions after about what she thought.

Here's the clip I showed her:

Here's what she thought:

Who do you think the target audience was?
The telenovela is definitely geared toward teenagers.

What were the similarities to American television?
They definitely pinpoint issues that teenagers here are interested in, like drama and lots of emotion.

What were the differences?
Um, how do I put is kind of old school and not as quick and modern as American television.

What did you like about it?
Can we do dislikes first?

What did you dislike about it?
I thought it was hokey- like when Manuel's dad died, it was super cheesy.

Were you interested in watching more?
I would not want to watch an entire season of Rebelde Way but I did want to see what the girl (Mia) changed into and what she did to her dad.