Thursday, September 3, 2015

My Telenovela Transformation

     I will be honest, I have known about telenovelas my whole life, but never gave them much thought. I grew up in Bosnia and Hercegovina and had many, many friends who loved the novelas they watched every afternoon. I even watched them at their houses occasionally. Unfortunately, I will admit that I had a stereotypical view of telenovelas until I started this class. I really did believe that they were over-dramatic soap operas in a language I didn't understand and I didn't understand why my Bosnian friends loved them so much. The only redeeming quality I found in them is that one of my good friends actually learned Spanish by watching her favorite telenovelas.

     Since starting this class, and seeing that I knew more about telenovelas than I realized, I now know that telenovelas really are right up my alley. I love American shows like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl. All of these have a lot more in common with telenovelas than I realized. The drama and the love stories and the obstacles the characters face that make the shows so intriguing are all factors in telenovelas as well. The almost immediate attachment to characters and their woes that viewers feel is an intricate part of both types of shows.

     I recently started watching the show Scandal, which was created by Shonda Rhimes, a wildly successful executive producer for ABC. Since learning more about telenovelas I have been able to see obvious comparisons between Scandal and many telenovelas. In the show's main love story, Olivia Pope, a D.C. lawyer, is having an affair with the married President of the United States. For obvious reasons, their love is definitely star-crossed. In addition to political scandals, criminal cover ups and conspiracies, the underlying love story of Olivia and the President keeps the audience returning to see if they can finally be together, just like a telenovela. There is also a dark side of Scandal brought to the tone of the show through government secrets, murder and conspiracies that remind me of suspenseful telenovelas that we've discussed like The Black Widow or parts of the dark tones of narcos like La Reina del Sur.

     After realizing these similarities, I was more excited to find a telenovela that I would enjoy. I thought I was going to choose one with a prominent love story, triangles and all, because I've enjoyed dramatic American shows that have similar characteristics. As I've searched through different novelas, however, the one that stood out to me the most was Escobar, El Patron del Mal. I really enjoy historical pieces and this novel is based on the life of Pablo Escobar, a famous Colombian drug lord.

I'm excited to analyze the historical context and social implications of the life of Escobar. I think it will be a valuable analysis of many Latin American countries. It's also kind of like a crime show, which I also enjoy. All of these factors have made me excited to more deeply analyze Escobar and telenovelas in general this semester.

1 comment:

  1. First of all, I LOVED Gossip Girl back in the day. But also hated it. Just like a novela! I was constantly upset that every time something went right, something else went wrong. But in the end, that's what kept me hooked.

    How have you enjoyed Escobar? It's so different from the rosa novelas or even just highly dramatic American TV shows. I'm not sure if I ever got into it as much as everyone else did with theirs, and I think it's because I wanted that melodrama like a rosa or Gossip Girl. What do you think?