Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Sad Goodbye

But this isn’t goodbye!! Only a bid “farewell”!! *read in dramatic voice and visualize right hand on my heart and left hand is reaching out into the far distance*

That was my attempt at “dramatic” in honor of the drama-filled semester we had! And WOW what a semester it was! It flew by, but I learned SO much about something that has been so prevalent in my life, for my ENTIRE life…

I grew up with my parents watching telenovelas. Actually some background on this- sometimes they would leave work early to come finish their episode, othertimes I have been SHUSHED and repeatedly told to leave the room in the most hostile way to finish their novela! It is really quite comical, especially considering the fact that my DAD is the one doing these things!! (My mom is very good at 1-multitasking and 2-tuning anything/anyone out). Sadly, I never cared for watching them… even the summers I spent at my grandparents house in Colombia where the ONLY thing we would do past 8pm was watch their novelas- I would simply go to sleep on their couch.

Choosing to take this class was a really a way for me to get in touch with my hispanic side, as I have been feeling lately, that at this stage in my life I don’t have much of that! Of course I have family friends of my parents, and we speak Spanish at home, and my family will visit us, or we will visit them in Colombia, but sadly I felt like I was missing something.

I am SO thankful I took this class! Because of this class I was able to fill part of a huge void I was feeling… maybe my “void” was a delayed reaction to moving to this country 15 years ago? Whatever it could be, I felt a sense of belonging while taking this class. Although ironically I chose a brazilian novela and watched it dubbed in Spanish, I felt at home with it! I think that’s one of the things that so many people say they love about telenovelas- they are “real”, they make people feel like they belong because the novela covers their specific situation. When watching clips of other novelas, I kept thinking “oh that’s something we do at home,” or “that’s exactly what my grandma’s house looks like”! (Haven’t you ever noticed latino’s like to decorate their houses with glass things and a lot of patterns and color?)

Anyway, I must sadly report that Avenida Brasil BORED me…  I also must admit that I have not even finished it! I think it was difficult for me to get into it, maybe because it wasn’t what I excepted…. Unlike American shows, the plot takes a lot longer to get to- also: no it doesn’t. As someone that is accustomed to American television, I THOUGHT it took forever to reach the main plot, but I was wrong. As we learned in our class with Dr. A, as well as skyping with actors and writers and literally everyone because Dr. A has ALL the connections in the world- I remembered telenovals are all about juicy plots and subplots and crazy things are happening in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. My fault was that I KNEW Nina and Jorgito were getting married sometime towards the end, so the ENTIRE time, I waited and waited for that.. and got bored and ANNOYED that it was taking so long to get there!

I was so wrong in doing this because it did not let me fully enjoy what Avenida Brasil had to offer… It obviously was so successful in Brasil, and it did well for SOME reason! So I thought I was crazy for not really liking it all that much… I just think if it wasn’t for class, and Dr. A guiding us through the world of telenovelas, I would’ve never learned to appreciate the small stuff, and to truly learn how to watch a telenovela and get the most out of it! I feel like now whatever novela I watch (which I had an ongoing list throughout the semester of novelas I wanted to watch based on clips from class).
I will be picking at everything they do! Checking for consistency in wardrobe and nail color polish, as well as the accents, who was casted with who, the looks, the production value, the writers, the network, and most importantly- the REAL stories they are telling, engaging a world wide audience and capturing the hearts of everyone. Like Dr. A always mentions, that NO ONE is exempt from telenovelas. Everyone manages to fall in love!


  1. Valentina I think it's so awesome you had telenovela background before taking this class! I hadn't ever watched one and just thought of them as soap operas. But like you said we've learned so much in this class and within the first week I realized how wrong I was! Telenovelas are part of culture as evident in your talking about how they were a routine part of your parent's night and you growing up. I never realized HOW BIG they are as part of a family though! There isn't one show that would get my whole family in a room, besides football. But telenovelas bring so many together!

    I'm sad to hear Avenida Brasil was boring. It's definitely on my list! But your reasoning makes sense. I watched la reina del sur and struggled through some points for sure. I'm wondering if you would have found a teleonovela fromColombia to be more interesting. I like how you branched out though!

    Dr. A definitely did teach us that anyone can fall in love with a telenovela. Your emotions are involved and nearly every aspect can compel you to keep watching the next episode! My heart was definitely captivated by the stories and I feel like Avenida brasil is one to watch. I think it'll be harder not being in Spanish but I look forward to trying it!

  2. Valentina, I enjoyed reading your post and hearing about your previous experience with telenovelas! It's very cool to see the knowledge and background you brought into the class but also how studying telenovelas changed your perception and broadened your view. It's interesting how different aspects of our cultural identity can carry more or less significance at various stages in our lives. One thing Dr. A mentioned at our last class meeting was the idea of emotion and how, in reality, we don't just have the emotional and the logical. They are intertwined, and everyone can connect through feelings. As Hannah commented above, "Your emotions are involved and nearly every aspect can compel you to keep watching the next episode!" I think these thoughts agree with your point at the end about telenovelas providing engaging stories and no one being exempt. They speak to universal themes, which makes them withholding in Latin American society.