Tuesday, September 1, 2015

“A Regra do Jogo”. Will it be as good as Globo expects?

“A Regra do Jogo”. Will it be as good as the Brazilian audience Globo expects?

Since I was a child I’ve always loved watching telenovelas. One of the reasons for that is because I was born and raised in Brazil which guaranteed me an early passion for “novelas”. I lost the track of how many telenovelas I actually watched but I remember all the excitement a last episode of a “novela das 8” caused to everyone I knew. Back in the 90’s people in the streets would comment how they thought the finale would be like, who would marry who, and if the antagonists would be punished at all. As an old tradition, people would comment every detail before and after “o ultimo capítulo”. Globo network, of course, already led the shares (IBOPE) at those times. But Manchete also had big productions which constantly threatened Marinho’s network and had “picantes” sex scenes which I would eventually watch out of curiosity behind my parents back and also, at those times, SBT introduced us the romantic Mexican telenovelas through Thalia’s characters.

Today, with the advent of internet, telenovelas viewers are no longer talking on the streets or to their neighbors about what happens in the episodes. Instead, the new viewers are avid social media users who post their comments at the same time they are watching the episodes. I wonder what my grandma would think of this new trend. She used to watch telenovelas plugging a car battery to her old TV set because there was no electricity in her village. She, as most Brazilian women, made sure she could have her daily dose of telenovelas.  

Right now, being a grad student in US, I think it is amazing to study something I am so passionate about. Brazilian telenovelas can tell so much about my culture and, let’s say, about me. It is indeed interesting to look back and reflect on how these shows have both influenced & reflected our society in so many ways.
For me, it is even difficult to choose only one telenovela to study during the semester. I decided to primarily work with the most recent work from João Emanuel Carneiro, A Regra do Jogo which just premiered at Globo. A Regra do Jogo - Trailer


I believe studying Carneiro will be an interesting challenge for me once he is one of the biggest telenovela writers nowadays in Brazil and I sadly know very little about his work. I watched some of his first solo telenovela A Cor do Pecado but I was not living in Brazil when Avenida Brasil, which was his best known work, was a hit. I started watching Avenida Brasil two weeks ago to, hopefully, compare it of some the details of Carneiro’s most recent work. Surprisingly, I just found Avenida Brasil’s episodes dubbed in Spanish which reinforces the fact that our telenovelas are a significant import product.
A Regra do Jogo will be broadcast at primetime - “horario nobre” - as a substitute to Babilonia, which was a previous fiasco. One of the reasons Babilonia was (kind of) forced to end early was due to a boycott made by Christians who resented it had too many gay scenes and, believe it or not, Brazil is still a conservative country regarding LGBT issues.

 As a result, Babilonia had a disastrous ibope. Its competitor, Rede Record, took advantage of its Christian audience’s resistance launching a telenovela based on the Bible, portraying Moses as the main character and it became a big success. You can read more here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/29/brazil-biblical-soap-opera-ten-commandments

A Regra do Jogo, then, comes as a great hope to recover the audience ratings back to Globo. Let’s see if it will meet their and our expectations as well.

 I’ll finish with a quote in Portuguese from a article post I read on the secret of Avenida Brasil’s success.The concept of Brasilianization  in our telenovelas de ruptura - which portray reality more than the actual love story - can be noticed there. (I hope A Regra do Jogo reaches the same success as Avenida Brasil!)

“o que eletriza na sua novela é o embate entre bandida e bandida, cada uma no seu estilo e geração, numa guerra do mal contra o mal.” (Nelson Motta)

 (“the electrifying thing in his telenovela is the struggle between bandit and bandit , each in its style and generation , an evil war against evil . ") 


  1. Hi Rebeca,
    I am also very curious if the new Globo Telenovela can follow Avenida Brasil's success and I'm looking forward to reading further impressions you will share. I also had not watched Avenida Brasil until recently (I am still in the process) and I am just amazed by it, completely mesmerized. As a "foreigner"/Non-Brazilian, what fascinates me are, typically for a telenovela, the emotions and the characters and their relationships. Like Dr. A said in class, the chemistry between Jorgito and Nina (sorry, I'm going to use the Spanish names, because that is how I watch it) is just incredible and definitely the best I have scene among the many telenovelas I have watched. The journey those two go on, the suffering, the sad situations and truths they are confronted with - and guiding through it all that unconditional, irrevocable bond they have is an element that moves me very much. I am curious if the success of the Telenovela in Brazil and the attraction for Brazilians is based on characters and their expressive power as well or if it is more the societal aspect, the political references. Because what I gathered from the blog post you shared, I tried to read it and used a little bit of Google translating, that the author also is more mesmerized by the psychology and emotions of it. So I am wondering if Avenida Brasil might actually be less of the typical Brazilian style, that is so close to the political situation and filled with references? And what about A regra de Jogo – is it gonna be as emotional and psychological? Good versus evil? Also Cauã Reymond was such a central character and I feel everybody fell in love with Jorgito, so is it going to work to have him now in a new role, seeing him as another character? I am really looking forward to read about your impressions.

  2. Oi, Lisa! I'm so sorry i'm answering it back just now. So, for what I read and have seen so far Avenida Brasil portrayed the love story differently from A Regra do jogo. However, Avenida Brasil sucess was due not only because the amazing love story (read chemistry) between Nina and Jorginho. Brazilian audience was amazed to finally see the not so glamorous parts of society finally shown in a telenovela. Avenida Brasil focused the story on - bairro do Divino - which is so similar to the most neighborhoods you commonly see in Brazil, including mine. lol
    The reality then is there. The spectator can finally see himself on tv. Other than that, Carneiro has a very particular way of writing his characters. I really like the way he breaks with traditional villain - good girl concept we carry from all the others telenovelas.
    A Regra do Jogo is way deeper than Avenida Brasil. There is more violence shown on screen and the reality is shocking at times and it does function as a kind of subtle denounce for the corruption situation in the country now. I think Avenida Brasil has a better story than A Regra do Jogo, the revenge seek by Nina is compelling and Carminha is more convincing in the role of villain than Athena, for instance. However, I love Romero Romulo. hahaha
    Cauã Reymond's current character is not as interesting, and as you know well I love the bad guys.