When browsing the web for Telenovelas to watch I always look for actors I like and try to find projects they have done. Two of the Telemundo Actors I am truly enchanted with are Ximena Duque (Colombia/USA) and David Chocarro (Argentina).
When I saw they did a project together called Villa Paraiso I was surprised it had not shown up on my radar until now. Considering the status of these two actors I expected it to be a production of quite high value. It turns out that Villa Paraiso has only 20 episodes, each one with a duration of 3 minutes.
So, what kind of a project is Villa Paraiso?
Interestingly it seems to be an endeavor going back to the roots of the Telenovela we talked and read about in class today. In his essay "Breve historia de la telenovela" Valenzuela talks about the first daily Telenovela in Mexico being "patrocinada por Colgate" (p. 18) and Dr. A also mentioned it in class today, talking about Soap Operas and where they get their name form. Villa Paraiso was financed by Xfinity, a home entertainment service belonging to Comcast. In every single episode, one of the features of Xfinity is shown and very obviously explained and rather clumsily included in the story. In the end, it even plays a part in saving the protagonist and facilitating the happy ending, it might even be called a character on the show (a little provocative, I'm interested what you think!).
The episodes were shown on Telemundo in October 2014 but also widely spread through social media and are completely available on YouTube.
So it is
- a serial format with cliffhangers
- starring renown Telenovela actors
- broadcasted on Telemundo, a channel famous for Telenovelas
- definitely commercial (maybe even too much?)
- and the story is all about love!
Wikepdia calls it "telenovela" and also "web-novela", which considering its format might be more adequate. With 3 minute episodes it is clearly meant to be consumed on the web and not on TV.
But what about the -novela part? Summarizing the content I think it could be called a mini-, or considering the pace of the story, rather a turbo-novela, because everything (falling in love, betrayal, fighting, reconciliation) happens incredibly fast. Think about it! It's 60 minutes of screen time, normally that would one single episode.
Considering the "classical elements":
It definitely has betrayal and pretending to be someone else (the male protagonist seduces the female protagonist so she will sell her house to his company, pretending to be just a normal guy) and since he falls in love with her, there are also obstacles - his boss pressuring him to "seal the deal" and hurt the women he now loves. So how will they be able to be together being on opposite sides of a conflict of interests?
I am curious to read your opinions if you decide to watch it. I think looking at the attributes it can definitely be called a -novela (mini-, turbo-, or web-). But I also think it demonstrates that the format of the, to me very beloved, telenovela is not meant for such a turbo plot. The falling in love seems completely fabricated in such a short time and they strip it down to a skeleton and I'm missing the beautiful embellishments, and the problems in the middle. Remember, the telenovela is what happens between the falling in love and the happy ending? I think it really leaves not enough space for problems like this, since a chunk of each episode is also dedicated to promote Xfinity.
I thought this little project fits well into the context of our class right now, having read about the commercial patronage of telenovelas and the different kinds. Maybe the webnovela is the future? Let me know what you think!
A screenshot showing Xfinity