Despite having been in Spanish classes for as long as I can remember (even though my Spanish-speaking abilities don't validate that), I have never been exposed to the world of Telenovelas. Despite my guilty pleasure of reality TV and various programs most people refer to as "garbage," I have also never been exposed to the world of soap operas. Therefore, my prior knowledge of telenovelas was clearly limited. However, once I found the "Spanish-Language TV" label on Netflix, my options for this class seemed endless.
I watched my first telenovela on Netflix after the first week of our class. I searched "telenovelas" and about 4 popped up -- I chose "Lo que la vida me robó" and I was hooked immediately. I decided to do some research about the telenovela and whilst reading a source about the show, I read some spoilers, which I instantly regretted! Typically I don't mind knowing what happens, but for some reason, it bugged me and I wasn't sure if I would be able to continue with the program. It was then that I decided to look at other options. I found "El secretario" on Netflix and the description intrigued me -- it sounded modern and light-hearted, which really fit my mood at the time. After watching 2 episodes of "El secretario," I didn't know how I would make the decision between the two for this class. So I didn't.
Dr. A permitted me to watch both telenovelas and compare them. This is the perfect option for me because I have two wildly different stories, one comedy and one romantic drama, with different tones that will allow me to watch a telenovela tailored to my mood.
Dr. A’s lesson about la telenovela rosa and la telenovela de ruptura rang true when I watched both of the telenovelas I’ll be following this semester. “Lo que la vida me robó” is a Mexican novela and it is definitely una telenovela rosa, just like Dr. A said most are, especially those on Televisa (in which this one is). On the other end of the spectrum, “El secretario,” a Colombian novela, is moving towards de ruptura. In her lecture, Dr. A said that Colombia produces along the whole continuum and it breaks the mold. I definitely find this to be true with “El secretario.” So far, I have seen certain aspects of various love stories, but it is not the focus – the central plot is about a man who moves from NYC to Bogotá after discovering through Facebook that he has a 6-year-old daughter (how modern)!
Also validating our class notes is information about cast composition. Dr. A mentioned that Columbia is included in a list of countries that admits actors from other countries. The main character (Emilio Romero, actor: Juan Camilo Pinzón) in “El secretario” is from Colombia, however the female lead is Peruvian and another male lead is from Argentina. While a majority of the cast in “Lo que la vida me robó” is from Mexico, one of the male leads (Sebastián Rulli, who plays Alejandro Almonte) is actually from Argentina. This is surprising because Mexico is very protective of their telenovela industry and most of their productions star almost exclusively Mexican actors and actresses.
I am excited to be absorbed into the two stories I have chosen. I feel as though I can already make some connections to real world stereotypes and cultural differences just from watching the first 3 episodes of each novela, and I look forward to exploring these issues and portrayals more in depth in future blog posts and assignments.