Thursday, September 24, 2015

What’s the rule of the game anyway?

I must confess I’m already hooked on A Regra do Jogo. Unfortunately, I only have time to see it on the weekends which makes it very difficult to control my anxiety when I see my friends posting things related to the episodes on social media.

(My friends talking about the attractive actors in A Regra do Jogo)

My favorite thing about Carneiro’s tale is the way he structured it to be a kind of thriller/ crime story, and that his characters aren’t either good nor evil.  
We just know that in his stories there are no boundaries between right and wrong, or between good and evil (which makes them be a success!).
In the very first episode of A Regra do Jogo the protagonist  Romero Romulo was first introduced  as a human rights activist and,  in the same episode, Carneiro showed that such hero was nothing but a bandit, a wolf in sheep's clothing, as the saying goes. I was in shock – This writer  is a genius, I thought.  (more details here).

This particular way of shaping the characters really caught my attention. At this point I am so in love with Romero that I can't even decide if I hate him or not. In fact, the author makes us feel sorry for all the difficulties the poor guy had to face in life, including his mom hating and abandoning him, and tricks us to forgive Romeros's bad actions which may be a product of his sad past… Just like in Avenida Brasil, the writer simply deconstructs the good and evil binary.

Other day I heard the real antagonist will appear soon, and he will be a closeted gay man who will try to destroy Romero. In fact, he is already on the screen, but very well disguised (Globo fears another rejection from the conservative/homophobic audience).
This guy is Orlando,. He has double life: he is successful businessman, but also is one of the directors of a criminal gang. This duplicity will also happens in his intimate life: Even tough is appears to be straight, he soon will be seen with a younger male lover, whom he supports with money earned in banditry.
To keep up appearances, Orlando will get married to Nelita, the daughter of a millionaire who suffers from multiple personality disorder. The plot of Orlando makes me remember other popular gay character, Felix , the big villain of Amor `a Vida. However, the type played by Eduardo Moscovis is more dangerous: he has killed and shown to be capable of anything on behalf of his ambition.
Thinking about gay characters in Brazilian novelas makes me think of what we studied recently. For that reason I hope Orlando is as interesting as Félix, my favorite gay character ever done in Brazilian TV. He is this evil gay antagonist who tried to kill his sister several times, gave his nephew for adoption, got married just to fool his parents, and even hated his son. Bad, bad guy. However, at the end, most people loved him more than the main lead. He even had a happy ending and the first gay kiss ever broadcast by Globo tv (look how happy the audience was with this kiss. :D ).

Most homosexuals portrayed before him were extremely flamboyant ones,  usually the comic relief for the telenovela. Anyway, the ones which caught my eye were the ones which raised awareness to their cause. There was once, in Senhora do Destino, this lesbian couple which wanted to adopt a baby. And the sad moments of  Miss Pirangi in telenovela de epoca Gabriela just breaks my heart. Once he was walking on the street and people started throwing stones at him. One may think: "Ok I get it, it was not easy to be gay in rural Brazil back in 1930's". But similar things still are in our every day news.
Brazil still has a long way to go regarding this LGBT issues, but telenovelas for sure have done an important social duty when raising the subject. 


  1. Hi Rebecca,
    I love how you summarized Carneiro’s talent to completely play with the lines between good and bad and make them disappear. The way you described your interest in Romero made me think of Cosita Rica and Maria Suspiro. Dr. A said that one of the reasons this story was so appealing was that in the end, you couldn’t really hate the „antagonist“ and you got attached to all three characters. It seems that Carneiro’s style is going for a similar appeal. Thinking back to Avenida Brasil, of course I wanted Carminha punished, as bad as possible please. But after that last chapter? After seeing what her father did to her... I have to admit I was touched, I was inside rooting for Nina and Jorginho to try to mend fences. If you had asked me that like 5 chapters before the end I would have probably just giggled and insulted her for her evilness. So yes, I think A Regra do Jogo really is going to thrive on liminality, and moving a way from the classic good/bad character scheme. As to the gay character, that is such an interesting idea to have a gay antagonist and I am very excited to see how it unfolds.

  2. Oi, Lisa!
    Interesting to know about feelings to carminha changed. see? That`s the magic Carneiro uses in his characters and what makes me so in love with his style.
    I still have a LOT of catching up to do in A regra do Jogo, but I got really surprised to know that Orlando will no longer be portrayed as a closeted gay man. Carneiro changed his mind and will portray him as a heterosexual villain instead. According to the writer, the ratings for the telenovelas will be very damaged if he decides to put a gay character in the story. I think it is very unfortunate that my country still these characters "polemic" to be shown in TV.

  3. I think the idea of humanizing the antagonist is very popular in television today. Even in US shows that I have watched, such as Shonda Rhimes' Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. In Scandal, almost every one of the characters is involved in an affair, or actual government conspiracy theories where you don't know who is good and who is bad. One character in Scandal, Jake, is part of a secret government organization designed to kill anyone who may be a threat to US national security. The organization goes wrong and the ring leader ends up being corrupt. You love Jake because he is the "kind one." He is attractive and he is the one that the protagonist, Olivia, SHOULD be with. But then you find out all of the horrible things he has done to people and wonder if you were right to love him. This is the same concept that is worked into the writing of A Regra Do Jogo. I think that the writers are trying to show that there is a fine line between right and wrong. That there is always some grey area and no one is exempt from making hard decisions that may be for the good overall instead of for the good of right now.