Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thank you so much Dr. A!
I’ve learned about the production of telenovelas not only from Dr. A’s class lecture, but also from famous directors and actors in the telenovela world. This class was a cultural experience and I've learned how powerful and influential telenovelas are. Their themes messages are broadcast to millions of viewers who are then influenced by those messages. Telenovelas have political and social power, that’s can be a scary thing. But the creators of the novelas know this and use this power to help the people Writers like Leonardo Padrón expose a nation to the realities of Asperger’s syndrome, humanizing the issue and bringing attention to a disorder that affects millions of people.
Whether the telenovela is rosa or realista, their stories can entice nations. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to learn so much about a field I initially knew little about.
To answer my question, (Do they get it?) I believe some do. However, for the most part many do not. When looking at the blogs and fan pages, people are obsessed with the characters appearances and fail to truly recognize the deeper message that writers like Padron are trying to tell them.
When we were watching the finales I was convinced nothing would top my "Sin Tetas" finale (yes I am a bit biased) but Padron blew me out of the water. How does one guy think of such cool scripts and then somehow even cooler finales. The thing that was awesome it that they were all so different and creative.
The one where the young man was the Master of Ceremonies of sorts at the theater was amazing! How do you cast a kid that is that good of a public speaker!? The one shot finale from La Vida Entera was nothing short or brilliant. Sure the actors did fantastic but that crew worked it to perfection all in one shot, that takes extreme precision and teamwork. The only one that kind of threw me off was the Ciudad Bendita one since it was a bit more "traditional" than the others. But given the fact that an actor had just passed away I am amazed everyone was able to pull it together and finish the drill, I don't know if I could have done the same given the short amount of grieving time allotted.
But to give props where props is due, La Mujer Perfecta finale was the best overall. The message of both autism and the obsession with beauty was clear and necessary. This was another one where the casting was perfect. The daughter was not only adorable, to the point where if I saw her I may or may not have to take her and raise her as my own with Marisa Roman (it's not as creepy as it sounds don't worry), but the way they had her say her lines was totally believable as her having asperger. The final message where Micaela's husband states he has two perfect women with him (Micaela and their daughter, duh) might as well had been the magic words to open up my tear ducts and let the tears run down. Beautiful and true.
Basically what I'm getting at is that Padron should write ALL telenovela endings because they are way cooler and serve more purpose than the typical finales. To all those graduating (like me, no big deal) good luck in your future endevours and to those still here next year, enjoy it graduation will come quick and keep a look out for me downtown next year when I visit (I still don't grow much facial hair so I can pull off the college age thing for a couple more years :)
I was especially impressed by the endings of Padron's telenovelas. They just seemed a cut above the rest. I especially loved how he found different ways to mix reality and fiction at the end. His creativity helps the audience take the lessons from the telenovela and think of them in realistic terms.
Unlike televison shows in the US, which can have interminable seasons, a telenovela ends for good after a certain amount of episodes. Because of this, it is particularly important for the final episode to end it with a bang and answer all the questions the audence may have left. If it doesn't, the writer is sure to hear about it.
Overall, I am extremely happy about everything I've learned in this class. It showed me a whole different side of Latin American culture.. Just like a good telenovela writer, Dr. A ended the semester with a bang. She even said a small speech summing the lessons from the telenovela class. On the outside, this class seems deceptively simple, but what this class teaches and its incorporation into LACS and Grady is really important, since it shows the interactions between culture, society, and media.
First of all, every single one of the six protagonists is a beautiful woman. Gorgeous. I think it is hypocritical to create a telenovela with the thesis "there is no perfect woman, flaws make women unique, etc." while those portraying this thesis could easily be considered perfect. I wish Padrón had included an overweight woman, a woman with a huge nose, a woman with crooked teeth or frizzy hair. How are Venezuelans supposed to receive this message when those delivering it reflect the ideal image that they so desperately strive for?
I commend Padrón for his use of a protagonist with autism. It is very unique and sheds light on a topic not often covered. However, she is still a drop-dead gorgeous actress! I also find it interesting that, as Dr. A mentioned in our last class, each actress has fair skin. I hope that in the future, telenovelas will feature women of all different shapes and colors.
I don't have the answer to this question. I guess the larger question should be what haven't I learned in this class? But if I had to sum it all up in one word I have seen passion. Passion flowing from the people involved in the process of making the telenovelas and passion from the audience.
The amount of love the writers and actors have in order to put in the ridiculously long and crazy hours to produce these shows blows my mind. Writers get up at the crack of dawn to begin the crazy process of writing the days script all within a few hours, everyday, even if they have writers block. As Padron said in our class the other day their passion also includes discipline so that if need be they can "put the gun to the muse" and force something out. I doubt that even literary writers have to have as much discipline. Then you have the actors, who can't schedule anything while working on a telenovela because they never know how long filming will take that day but many of them also perform in plays too! How do they have the time?!
The fact that audience members spend hours EVERY NIGHT dedicated to watching their novela also fascinates me. We have discussed many times that the audience watches the show from the heart, not from the head. I don't know if it was my lack of tv watching as a kid or what but I rarely get that into a tv show. But the audience members are unbelievable faithful to their shows. I just go back to the story dr A. told us about when Chavez interrupted one telenovela for one of his speeches and from her house she thought she heard all of Caracas yelling and banging pots at him.
Dr. A also told us last night that in a recent poll of countries Venezuela was 4th in happiness. Even though there is lots of political turmoil, much poverty in parts of the country, it is still the 4th happiest group of people in the world and I think it has something to do with this passion. These people are giving their all into whatever they do or care about and although life might disappoint you sometimes, if you are investing that much passion into what you enjoy, the positives will far outweigh any disappointments.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I cannot believe that the semester is almost over, and these are our final blog posts! I was in a Latin American and Caribbean Culture class when Dr. A told us about her research on "Cosita Rica." After hearing her speak about Leonardo Padron's piece of literary work that somehow managed to present very crucial social and political issues into a telenovela, I immediately knew that I wanted to take Dr. A's class. Plus, I knew studying Edgar Ramirez and Marisa Roman's work couldn't be that bad…Haha.
The entire semester has been filled wish such great topics of discussion and lectures. The way the class was organized gave each of us the optimal way into the telenovela world. We began with the basics and typology, worked our way into representation and identity, and are concluding the semester with production and consumption. I have gotten more out of this class than I initially expected. I never would have thought that I would anxiously await Tweets from Dr. A, Marisa Roman, and Leonardo Padron! Thank you so much Dr. A for a great semester -- we are looking forward to our final episodes dinner tomorrow night!
For me, it is absolutely amazing that he can come up with all of these fresh ideas for telenovelas and to write 40 pages a day for well over 100 days. For him to be so innovative shows the talent that many people can only dream of.
Personally, I would love to watch some more of Leonardo Padron's telenovelas because they completely suck you in. I hope that when his newest work comes out that I will be able to watch it and stick with it (it's hard being a college kid with tons of work). Needless to say, talking to him was one of my favorite parts of the semester.