This is a class blog run by Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and her students in the First Year Odyssey Seminar "More than Melodramas: Telenovelas"



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Telenovas: More Than Just A Melodrama

The first thought that comes to mind when I think of the concept of a 'telenova' is the idea of over-dramatic scenes filled with unrealistic events. This narrow-minded vision was completely overturned after I joined this seminar. I admit that I'm avid fan of Netflix and binge-watching television shows but I have never expanded from programs outside of my comfort (and culture). After Senora Acosta introduced us to all the telenovas that have been floating around for almost a century, I couldn't decide which telenova to choose for my final paper. There were so many options: Should I go with the modern remake of Les Miserables (Los Miserables)? Or the Argentinian remake of The Count of Monte Cristo, where a woman seeks revenge against those who wronged her (La Duena)Or a mystery-thriller about a family filled with secrets and deceit (La Casa de al Lado)?

I didn't realize the impact that telenovas had amongst their viewers. Before telenovas existed, people depended on story-telling and passing stories from generation to generation as a way to transport themselves from the up's and down's of life to a world where they could vicariously live through another character. For example, cigar workers in Cuba were able to anticipate their tedious and repetitive schedule after the idea of a hired story-teller would come in and read them a novel. As technology evolved, these stories were able to adapt into radionovelas where Latino audiences could listen in the comfort of their home. As television sets were created, people from around the world were able to tune in on the low-budget telenovas that aired during the daytime and the prime-time telenovas that aired during the nighttime. I find that incredibly exciting that nowadays, multicultural groups are globally homogenizing through the means of television.

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