Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Today in class, I thought it was lame how some telenovelas had completely ripped off other successful television shows. There was no originality. I also thought it was corny how in the end of some telenovelas, the term "Fin" would actually show on the screen.
Abismo de Pasion is a Mexican telenovela that is actually a remake of Canaveral de Pasiones, and both of these telenovelas are based on the two novels, Una Sombra Entre Los Dos and Al Pie Del Altar, written by Caridad Bravo Adams. It was also aired in Brazil as Canavial de Paixoes and in Italy as Amante. Though the names of the characters are different in Canaveral de Pasiones and its remake, Abismo de Pasion, I discovered that the story lines and character developments are almost the same. The ratings and amount of awards won for each of these telenovelas did not even differ much.
Abismo de Pasion almost always includes some sort of music to match the mood of each particular scene. Whether it is intense and loud music in the foreground or a soft, background tune, music is quite prominent. Some scenes also change so abruptly that it is quite apparent that there was indeed a scene change. When this happens, I have wondered as to whether or not certain scenes were removed, thus making the transitions a bit sharp. Perhaps scenes were not deleted but the funding for this telenovela was being highly regulated. Or maybe even the telenovela itself was being regulated by the government, and certain scenes had to be removed before the it could be broadcast. Though my research ran dry in this particular area, it was quite interesting to learn about the origin of Abismo de Pasion and to know that there are other telenovelas similar to it.
In my telenovela, I feel as though I'm at the climax because Angélica, Sergio's evil stepmother, belittles Marimar and makes her feel helpless. She's so evil to the point where Angélica calls the police to tell them that Marimar stole a bracelet from her because Sergio worked and earned money so that he and Marimar could escape from Angélica's evil wrath. However, this incident caused Marimar to go to jail. Although this seems rather harsh and very melodramatic over a bracelet, it has to be because it gets us hooked and it makes me want to keep watching to know what happens. Also taking what we learned from class, I know that it won't last long because us, the watchers, would get very bored watching Marimar in jail and not watching the two protagonists "fall in love." The theme in this telenovela that "poor and rich do not get along" is a theme that is seen throughout many telenovelas and is a common theme. But in the end, we all know or hope that the two protagonists will bend that rule because from what we learned in class, "love conquers all."
The most prominent example of this would be in the telenovela "La Mujer Perfecta." In this telenovela, the main character Micaela suffers from Aspergers syndrome - something that is not extremely common and there is not much funding or awareness about it due to the diagnosed individuals' such high level of functioning. However, by the end of the telenovela not only had it provided an way to raise awareness about the disease, but it unified the people that suffered from it and those whose family and friends suffered from it. Many people before the show aired did not know what Aspergers was and by the end everyone who watched it had some sort of understanding as to what individuals with Aspergers go through on a daily basis.
One of my friends suffers from Aspergers and I was very surprised when we started learning about a telenovela that had a protagonist with such disease. Previously, I had always come in contact with a protagonist who people idolized and wanted to be like. Why would they have the main character have a disease such as this? Through watching many of the clips of scenes I grew to understand why and how Leonardo Padrón wrote this particular telenovela the way he did. Micaela is one of the most captivating characters I have ever seen - even in just those few short scenes. After reading the letters written by parents of children with Aspergers to Mr. Padrón, it was like my friend's mom had been writing them. Then, I truly understood just how important telenovelas are to people and how they can unite communities and shape opinions.
On a lighter note, my favorite part of watching Les Miserables is how well it appeals to popular culture as well as keeping old traditions. The story line, for the most part, remains the same despite the fact that it is done in such a new way. Without this important aspect, Les Miserables wouldn't appeal to a wide range of people like it does. Young and old people from many different cultures, ours included, are able to sit down and enjoy this show. It has made me appreciate Telenovelas much more than I already did and I'm honestly still extremely excited to keep watching the show.
Recently I started a new job on campus and started working with a man from Spanish decent. We soon began to have a conversation about telenovelas because I told him I was taking a class on it. He was floored that the class was even offered, and began to get really excited as I told him what I was watching and what we talked about in class. I asked him if he watched telenovelas and before I could even finish my sentence he was spouting off all the many episodes he watches from the time he gets home till he falls asleep he said, "I have telemundo on constantly." This again reassures me that this is a very relevant part of many people's cultures. Never would I have guessed that I would have a conversation about telenovelas with a coworker. He was shocked at how much I knew, and I (for the first time) felt confident about one subject in another culture. This broke down not only a language barrier but a cultural barrier as well.
So in the end my knowledge of telenovelas may not be the most complete, however I do feel as if I have learned many things from the class as well as being able to watch the shows and understand too. I am very thankful for the opportunity I've had to expand my knowledge in a cross-cultural kind of way.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Avenida Brasil introduces about 5 main characters straight off the back in episode 1. Carminha, Rita, Rita's father, Mona Lisa, and Tufao, Carlito, his wife, his lover, and his daughter. Okay, wow, that is a lot of characters. In the first episode a few things are evident.
Carminha is an evil, shrewd, awful, horrible woman and deserved no good in her lifetime. She is mean to Rita, her stepdaughter, is manipulative towards her husband and is on whole just the worst kind of person you could ever think of. I feel that many relate to the story so far already because we all know a Carminha in our life: whether it's a teacher, a boss, a co-worker, or even our own evil step-mother. This disgust we have for Carminha on the whole in the very beginning sets the stage for worse things to happen as the show progresses. Our mutual hate of her is what bonds the fanbase.
Rita is a cutie but also very sneaky and clever. This is important for the future. Since I already know she's going to be coming back for revenge from Carminha, seeing this early on is good because I know it is a character trait she was either born with or developed early. When she skips school to see what Carminha is up to once her father leaves for work I know that Rita is only going to get better and better as she ages with how clever and cunning she will be. She is very persuasive even though her father does not believe her at first about what Carminha is plotting.
Rita's Father is very loving abut very naive to who Carminha really is. Later on he does realize to a certain extent but of course the manipulatve nature of Carminha pulled him back into her talons. We are a little angered by Rita's father at first for not believing his daughter and choosing the side of Carminha over Rita.
These are just a few of the characters I chose to focus on for this particular blog post because they are essential to the story line and plot of the entire novela. Of course Tufao is also important, as he is about to get married to Mona Lisa but at this point in the story he seems irrelevant to the lives of Rita and her family except for in the way that soccer is the common theme that relates them all. Later, of course we see what Tufao's true role in the telenovela is. Their character development is what makes or breaks the show and seeing them so raw and uninhibited at first glance is what it takes to really appreciate who they will become as the telenovela progresses.
People, people's feelings, people's opinions, people's conditions are what allow telenovelas to be entertaining and even draw the attention of viewers. If said things are not allowed to be related to what is happening and where they are, than what is the true point of a telenovela?
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Anastasia and her husband Nataniel Cardona, a big time cocaine dealer, are reunited in Miami where they rent a mansion. While at the mansion, the first love triangle appears in the show between Nataniel, his personal assistant, Gina Bianchi, and his wife Anastasia. Anastasia quickly learns about this when she accidentally over hears Gina speaking on the phone to her sister saying that she will be having Nataniel's baby. Outraged and infuriated, Anastasia proceeds to end the triangle by murdering her very own husband. The audience can quickly learn that Anastasia is not innocent and that she will do anything to anyone that betrays her. After her husbands death Anastasia works diligently to take over her husbands job and become the most powerful cocaine dealer that Miami has ever met.
Nataniel has been in war with the head of the Santa Norma hotel, Leandro Quezada, and is the reason why Anastasia has to deal with the "war" between her husband and his enemy. Leandro has his men steal the casket that Nataniel's body is in to make sure he is dead and to in a way kill him again. Anastasia then teams up with her new partner Conrado as they try and claim territory over Miami.
While I do love an unconventional story, for my telenovela choice I stuck to a very traditional cinderella story. I chose the telenovela, "Una Maid en Manhattan." Going through this course I have started to notice many of the themes Dr. A talks about are very closely tied with my telenovela. I have started noticing the music, the mini cliff-hangers before every commercial, and the subtle social issues present in each episode. I even did some research on which country the main actors are from and what other telenovelas they had done.
When I first started watching Marimar, you could immediately see the typical, melodramatic storyline of a poor, beautiful girl and a rich, attractive guy. Right from the first episode of this telenovela, I was able to see that there was going to be a feud between Marimar, and Sergio (the boy) because of their different levels of "society's hierarchy." I'm only so many episodes into this telenovela so the big plot twist hasn't happened yet, but I'm curious to see what it will be as I can already tell and taking what I've learned from this class, I know that they will eventually break up (probably from his evil stepmother, Angelica) and then end up falling back in love.
Sometimes, I also have difficulty understanding exactly what's going on, because there are no subtitles in English nor Spanish. I can usually read the subtitles if they're in Spanish but sometimes they speak so fast and I've only visited Spain and I talk to my best friend in Spain and I've gotten used to their accents, so sometimes I have trouble. But I can still see and understand the basics of what are going on. After learning about the production of telenovelas and how much time goes into them and all the time that goes into writing the scripts, casting actors, and shooting it, it makes me enjoy it much more especially because they do it so quickly. Also because this telenovela was broadcasted in 1994, a lot of their scenes are often in similar places and a lot of the shots take place outside near Marimar's house, which is on the beach, and Sergio'a mansion. Overall though, I'm excited to keep watching and I'm eager to find out what Angelica does to Marimar and how it'll cause disputes between her and Sergio!
My favorite part about watching this telenovela is seeing how well they incorporate all of the drama into their show. Not only is it scripted well, but the actors are so professional in acting everything out. It's extremely impressive to me and I'm ecstatic to watch even more of this show.
I am only so far into Abismo de Pasion, and I am mesmerized by the constant and abrupt changes seen in each character as well as in each situation. The protagonists and antagonists have not been hard to distinguish between and each have particular characteristics that add to the excitement of the telenovela. Augusto Castanon and Alfonsina Mondragon are the two prominent protagonists of this telenovela, and each show signs of suffering, heartbreak and heartache, and despair. Carmina Castanon, Augusto's sister-in-law, is the most established antagonist that I have seen so far in this telenovela. Very beautiful but very deceptive, she has created many quarrels and much strife between other characters. Initially, one might feel pity for the 'other woman' in the situation, knowing that, in the end, she will remain alone. However, Carmina's evil characteristics of betrayal and deceit allow no room for sympathy.
I am thoroughly enjoying watching Abismo de Pasion, and I cannot wait to see how this particular telenovela unfolds. There have already been deaths, separations, tears, and lies, and I am hoping for a much-needed happy ending.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
When fellow students ask me what FYOS I was taking, I simply tell them telenovelas to see what their response will be. Most are confused, others laugh, and a lot say, "Spanish Soap Operas?" So I simply tell them what I've learned in the few classes we have taken. Some are enthralled by the details I give them, and others find it silly that I would enjoy such a thing, however I enjoy their petty debates and rebuttals.
One of the things I find most interesting about telenovelas is that although all telenovelas follow the same pattern, each one plays their story in a different way drawing the audience in closer and closer until soon they are addicted and just have to watch the story unfold. I feel like telenovelas are under represented to American teenage girls, because I know how much my friends love the drama of the TV shows they watch so I feel as if they would love telenovelas that much more.
In the end I am looking forward to how each week unfolds as I learn more about telenovelas, and who knows I may be hooked on them now too.
When choosing a telenovela to watch and study this semester, I of course went and talked to my Spanish friends about which one they liked and watched. I also asked her not only which ones she liked but I asked her general questions about watching them too. She told me that her favorite telenovela series was "Rebelde" and that her family often watched them together, but her mother and grandma often watched them more together. Their popularity there is much higher than it is and will ever be here. When searching for a telenovela to watch, there were so many and they all seemed to have the same plot about a poor girl falling in love with a rich guy. Therefore I was stuck between "Marimar" "La Usurpadora" "Luz Clarita" and many others. However, I chose to watch Marimar, which is about a poor girl who lives on the beach and one day meets the handsome rich boy and falls in love. He lives with an evil family who won't let him escape and therefore he marries her (poor, uneducated) to make his family even more angry. I think that watching this telenovela will not only improve my Spanish, but will help me form a deeper understanding of telenovelas and why they're so important.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
That was about the extent of what I knew about telenovelas before coming into this class. Everyone always assumed they were the equivalent of American soap operas but after these first couple of classes, it has become obvious that they are so much more. I am excited to learn more about telenovelas and the role that they play in the lives of many.
Learning about the
differences between Telenovelas and Soap Operas has really given me a new
appreciation and understanding of Telenovelas. One of the things that I have
come to really appreciate about Telenovelas is that while they do tell interesting
love stories that grab the audience, they also use their platform to address
relevant issues. For example, in the Telenovela that I have begun watching, Rebelde Way, one of the issues discussed
is the class division present between the students. Because it is set in a
private school, there are some kids who come from wealthy families, while other
kids, who go there on scholarship, come from a lower socioeconomic level, thus
creating conflict between the richer and the poorer kids. This Telenovela is
aimed at a younger, teenage demographic and this issue is one that is very
relevant at that age, so the fact that there is a show that addresses this
issue gives people something to relate to. With American Soap Operas, there are
very view issues that are relatable and they do not very frequently address any
problems of relevance to the audience, unlike Telenovelas.
One powerful example of telenovelas being able to relinquish focus, emotional and psychological, from the happenings of the real world to those of a fictional world was found in the small factories of Cuba.
The telenovela does not continue on over the course of a few years. Instead, it has an unlimited number of shows that typically stop around 120 episodes. This makes so much more sense to me then having the typical soap opera, like General Hospital whose series has been continuing on for years, but has not drawn any real conclusions that will make its viewers finally satisfied.
The particular Telenovela that I will be studying this semester is the new show Dueños del Paraíso, which will be telling the story of Anastasia Cardona getting involved in the drug business as she tries to take over the South Florida territory. The setting takes place in the late seventies and eighties, as Anastasia she tries to become the most powerful woman in the world.
Coming into this class, I knew nothing about telenovelas. I assumed they were simply American soap operas but in Spanish. After all, they are both melodramatic, delivered in installments, and both have an extreme love story. However, telenovelas are broadcast in prime time while American soap operas air during the day. American soap operas never end while telenovelas are more similar to drawn out movies with around 120 episodes and no seasons.
When I was younger, my mom would watch the soap opera General Hospital every day so I roughly knew some of the plot. When Dr. A mentioned the story line of the famous couple Luke and Laura, I immediately made a connection. Tony Geary has played Luke Spencer since 1978. Telenovela actors are much different. They can transform into different roles for each telenovela in which they are cast. I found the comparison between the American soap opera and telenovelas to be extremely interesting – mostly because I felt as if I had some kind of understanding of the soap opera.
Because of this small understanding I had for the soap opera, it was easier to recognize the similarities and differences between the two methods of entertainment. I realized the large impact telenovelas have on Spanish culture in comparison to the small impact soap operas have on Americans. Telenovelas for some serve as an escape from the socioeconomic hardships many Spanish countries face, which is a very important quality for entertainment to have in order to be successful.