Last post! What a semester it has been and what a range of information I have learned about telenovelas: typology, history, representation, consumption, production, regulation, globalization.
Growing up, and in a Hispanic household, telenovelas was always something that you could count to be on tv no matter the time.
One of the main reasons I was so excited to take this class was because I had never really thought of telenovelas as a academic subject. Going through this class I have learned immensely how wrong I was. Being Salvadorean, I'm saddened that my country isn't a big producer of original novelas, so I grew up mostly watching Mexican novelas
Some of the telenovelas I remember watching with my mother as a little girl were Camila, La Usurpadora, Amigas y Rivales, and most notably Mujer, Casos de la Vida Real. The last show Mujer, is a anthology novela, produced by Televisa which touched on many different issues such as domestic violence, rape, child abuse, LGBT discrmination, poverty. I remember my mother always having this on while she cooked lunch, it had a noon time slot, and with what I have learned about the strategic placement of telenovela time slot is that it was targeted for the mothers who tended the household. I never really questioned why my mother liked telenovelas so much, sometimes I even thought of them as being overdramatic,annoying even, because my mother acted like it was real life.
But now I can see novelas from a different aspect and it brings me a different understanding of my mother. I know that telenovelas serve as a open avenue for anyone to find a little bit of themselves in a character or a situation. Having gone through the consumption presentations and then having the telenovela discussions I was able to have an open conversation with my mother about her love and connection to novelas. Over thanksgiving break I sat down with her and had a mini interview. I have translated and edited her responses below:
Me: What is it about telenovelas that you like so much?
Mom: I like the stories, they men are also very nice to look at. (Typology)
Me: Do you have a favorite novela?
Mom: No, I watch them mostly for entertainment, sometimes the repeat them and I'll watch them again because I like the stories. (Consumption)
Me: What about the stories do you like?
Mom: I like how there is always justice in the end...but I also like the struggle..novelas show the struggle of a women but at the same time show how strong a women can be,
Me: Do you connect with the women?
Mom; Sometimes, if they aren't snobby and stuck up and malas (spanish word for bad)
Me: Let me ask you about one novela Camila
Mom: It doesn't come one anymore
Me: I know but did you feel connected to any of the characters, or what most did you like about the telenovela
Mom: I really like the novela because of how strong Camila was on raising her child even without the help of a man, "una mujer no necesita de un hombre para crear un hijo" (Identity) [I would like to say that my mother raised a son by herself before she married my father]
Me: Do you remeber Mujers, Casos de la Vida Real?
Mom: Si! (she was very excited about this one)
Me: Although it didn't follow characters like a regular novela, I remember you always watching this show can you tell me why you liked it so much?
Mom: I though that the stories they told were very real, even if they weren't pleasant stories to tell, it gave voice to the women who suffer in silence.
Me: Do you have a story that you connected with the most?
Mom: The stories that I always was invested in the most were the domestic violence ones, not only are people able to see that this is a huge problem in the world but that women still find the strength to get out of a situation. I think if someone who is going through a similar situation, novelas can show them a possible way out.
Me: You know people write these stories they are acted out.
Mom: But based on true events, and I think that Silvia Pinal (host of the show) always made that clear.
Me: Do you think that telenovelas impact people in a bad or good way?
Mom: I think that they impact people in a positive way because they always show real people, real struggles, and if someone is in the same situation, it can help them by showing them that there is a solution, whether that be poverty, domestic violence, or just being a women. (Globalization)
Having gone through the class I could almost anticipate some of my mothers responses, and I have pointed out in red what topics I was able to see my mom address as the interview went on.
What I learned from telenovelas is that they impact everyone, not matter the social class, gender, or age. Telenovelas go with hispanics like el cafe goes with pan dulce,where we see one we see the other. Being part of the culture, it's hard to take a step back and look at how much they shape how we relate between one another and the world around us. They allow us glances into different lives and I think that that is the driving force behind the worldwide success of novelas, the human element.
I really enjoyed taking this class, it served as a bit of memory lane for me and going to the class always made me feel nostalgic for my mother and her novelas. Thank you Dr. A, being at UGA it isn't often that I feel like I'm at home again with my parents but this class provided that feeling for me even if it was only for an hour every Tuesday/Thursday, and I hope it did also to some of my other classmates.