Monday, November 30, 2015

Nuestra Discusión con Marisa Román

Estos últimos semanas en nuestra clase de telenovelas ha sido muy interesantes. Yo los he amado hablar de Skype con una gama de profesionales de las telenovelas. Una de las personas que realmente me intrigan fue actriz venezolana, Maria Roman. Ella fue la primera persona que hablamos via Skype y me gustó mucho escuchar lo que tenía que decir. Ella no parecen arrogantes como me imagino una famosa actriz sería. En su lugar, ella era muy enérgico, alegre y fácil de hablar con. 

Marisa ha estado en docenas de famosas telenovelas. Una clase que hemos debatido en muchas ocasiones fue su papel en Cosita Rica. Ella actuó como los gemelos Verónica Luján y María Suspiro Vargas. Ella terminó siendo un enorme éxito de taquilla en esta película porque su historia de amor se robó el show. Todo el mundo estaba obsesionado con los gemelos y la Caciqu triángulo amoroso.

Marisa nos dijo que ella comenzó a actuar en el teatro cuando tenía 10 años de edad. También dijo que si le dieron una elección para actuar en todo lo que ella quería, elegiría para volver al teatro. Era una locura para mí que ella empezó a actuar a una edad tan joven y todavía lo ama tanto como ella lo hace. Sin embargo, en un momento dado nos dijo acerca de su primera entrevista con el Dr. A. dijo el Dr. A. pregunta "qué carácter te gustaría hablar primero?" Sus ojos llenos de lágrimas como ella respondió, "quiero hablar de Marisa!". Entonces, por supuesto, el dulce y amorosa Dr. A. apaga su grabadora y sentaron y hablaron con ella, porque "podía decir que ella necesitaba una figura materna".

Me encantó escuchar esta historia porque nos muestra que no todos los actores y actrices son tan glamoroso y perfectos como los vemos. De vez en cuando se cansan de vivir en el punto de mira y sólo quieren ser ellos mismos, por una vez. Quería preguntar qué Marisa ¿cuando ella se siente de esta manera y se da cuenta de que necesita un descanso de la actuación. Creo que voy a tomar unas vacaciones o como el Dr. A. dice que quisiera tomar un descanso y necesita ir al cine. Deseo pregunté Marisa lo que ella gustaba hacer cuando necesitaba tiempo sola. Sin embargo, he sido demasiado nervioso para usar mi español para hablar con cualquiera de las personas que tenemos Skyped con.

Aunque no he hablado, me encantaba escuchar las conversaciones que hemos tenido en clase. Cada uno ha sido tan singular e informativo. Dejo cada clase y alardear ante mis amigos que acabo de hablar con tanta gente importante. Creo que es muy guay que tenemos la oportunidad de hacerlo. 






Telenovelas Bonding the World

A whole semester has gone by, and I know have a solid understanding of what telenovelas are all about. I thought I was losing interest in my telenovela and thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, but I was wrong. With a lot of it left to watch, Rubí continues to impress me, adding more and more plot twists with each episode. However, now is the time to start thinking about what I’m supposed to write about in my final paper. I can’t keep using Rubí as a distraction from work as finals are quickly arriving. But, what do I write about? Culture and telenovelas? World history and telenovelas? Production with telenovelas?

Throughout learning all there is to know about telenovelas, I have come to realize a trend. No matter what aspect of telenovelas is being talked about, each aspect brings people together. It’s more than just regional culture but world culture too. Although there are many types of telenovelas, every one brings different demographics together. There are family-friendly telenovelas, comedic telenovelas, dramatic telenovelas, and many more categories. All of these different categories bring different people together. The family-friendly ones bring families together and allow them to have something to bond over and watch together. The dramatic ones present issues that may hit close to home for some people, which also brings people together through tragedy and struggles.

On the other hand, there is also a cultural bonding aspect of telenovelas. Throughout the world, everyone is watching their own country’s telenovelas as well as other countries. Through those telenovelas, we learn about other people’s cultures and learn to relate to different culture’s norms and problems. A Mexican watching a Venezuelan telenovela might not have known about their country’s problems until watching a telenovela about political issues. As well as this affecting Latin Americans, it also affects Americans. Just by the fact that this telenovela class is taught at a public, American university proves that other cultures matter and that it is important to learn about them. Learning about other cultures provides perspective and appreciation for the world around you.

With all of this being said, telenovelas are not just about entertainment or a good way to learn Spanish. They are about bringing people together across the world.

But how does this relate to what I’m going to write about in my paper? Maybe it has to do with everything, and maybe nothing. I would like to incorporate this concept into my final paper, whether it is all about telenovelas bringing people together through culture or just has a little that incorporates this aspect. I guess only time will tell!


The semester has flown by. I started this class thinking I wouldn’t really learn anything, and the class would just consist of watching telenovelas.  However, a semester later and over 70 episodes in, I can confidently say telenovelas are more than I thought. They are more than a bunch of bad actresses speaking Spanish too quickly to understand and being overly dramatic. It’s a culture that I now understand after taking this class. I am more than happy that I chose to take this class despite my preconceived notions.

Telenovelas and Society and how it helped me connect with my mom.

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.

P.S.
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.

el ultimo

¡¡Estoy muy triste para escribir mi último correo de la clase!!  Este semestre era muy divertido y pienso que he aprendido mucho de las telenovelas y la cultura, ¡cosas que no sabía antes! He gustado mucho de este semestre como el resumen y la estructura de la clase. También he aprendido mucha información de las telenovelas.

Antes de esta clase yo pensaba de las telenovelas como “soap operas.”  No sabía mucho y nunca había visto una telenovela, pero ahora ¡yo sé que no es la verdad!  Las telenovelas no son “soap operas” y en realidad hay más mejor en mi opinión.  Si hay mucho drama, pero he crecido amar el drama en las actrices.  No es tan seco y soco como la actuación en algunos programas de los estados unidos.  También aprendí las diferencias entre la producción en los países hispanoblantes y los estados unidos – pienso que este es mi cosa favorita porque hay muchas diferencias y las telenovelas tienen un aspecto más rápido.  Este puede añadir a las emociones de las telenovelas.
   
 Voy a extrañar la estructura de la clase y todos los ejemplos que hemos visto de las telenovelas.  Aprendimos mucha información que he usado en mi vida y las conversaciones.  Pero la mejor cosa es las conversaciones de Skype y facetime.  Esta oportunidad no venga cada día y es increíble que las personas quienes hablábamos tomaron el tiempo para discutir con nosotros.  Cada persona me ensenaba algo nuevo y me gustaba mucho hablar con ellos.

Con todo en la clase y las conversaciones, mi telenovela la reina del sur también era muy bien. Al próximo estaba enamorada con la programa.  Mientras el tiempo pasó tenía mis momentos difíciles con la reina del sur.  Durante el semestre cuando había mucho ocurriendo tuvo algunos problemas con ver la telenovela. Pero me quedé con la telenovela y casí he terminado la reina del sur.  ¡No puedo esperar para terminarla!


¡Muchas gracias a Dr. A por ensenar todo y esta clase es el mejor!    

Sunday, November 29, 2015

9pm - Tierra de Reyes versus Lo Imperdonable

Wow, I cannot believe I am writing my last post for this semester already. It feels like it just flew, especially being so caught up in telenovelas all the time. 
I decided to dedicate this last post to two telenovelas in particular, both inhabiting the 9pm timeslot, but one at Univision and one at Telemundo. 
Keeping in mind the ongoing and getting-more-interesting-by-the-minute competition in terms of rating between the two networks I thought it would be very interesting to look at these two programs as two of their projects this year. 


General Information

Tierra de Reyes (further TdR) 
is a Telemundo telenovela, produced by Telemundo in 2014 and was broadcasted on the network from December 2014 to July 2015 at 9pm, followed by Bajo el mismo cielo. 
It’s 159 chapters are an adaption of a telenovela called Las aguas manses from 1994. It was written by Julio Jimenez, a Colombian libretista, who rewrote his own works 8 different times, check him out on Wikipedia, it’s fascinating. So he himself did a remake in 2003 called Pasión de Gavilanes for RTI, Caracol and Telemundo. There were 3 more telenovela adaptations.
In 2008 Telemundo did a version called Fuego en la sangre
In 2010 there was a Spanish Television show called Gavilanes (I HIGHLY recommend it, I got addicted) and right now 
in 2015 there is also a version in the Phillipines. 
This current adaptation is done by Rossana Negrín. 

Lo Imperdonable (further Imperdonable) 

is a telenovela produced by Televisa in 2015 and broadcasted originally on Canal de Las Estrellas in Mexico starting April 20, 2015 at 9:25pm and from May 18, 2015 to November 2, 2015 on Univision at 9pm, but you can also watch it on Hulu, which is what I did (not the whole show I admit). 
It’s 121 chapters are an adaption of a movie (1952) and a telenovela (1965) called La Mentira. 
There have been 6(!!) more telenovela adaptions through the years, 
2 from Brazil (1966, 2010); 
one by Telemundo (!) in 2008 
and 3 by Televisa itself (1982, 1998, 2010). 
I can’t believe it was only 5 years ago and they are already writing another adaptation. This really proves the point about the „ever-the-same“ telenovelas Televisa churns out that we talked about in class. 
This latest adaptation is done by Ximena Suárez (fun fact: She is also responsible for the adaptation Pasión y Poder that is broadcasted at the moment at the 9pm timeslot on Univsion).

So before we move on I would just like to state the circularity of what I just uncovered. 

TdR is originally Columbian and was remade several times, once by Televisa.(and now on Telemundo)
Imperdonable was originally Mexican and was remade endlessly, once by Telemundo. (und now on Univision)
Crazy, right?

Typology

TdR is called  „una intrigante historia de amor y venganza entre dos familias“ by Telemundo. So it is very emotions-centered with a big chunk of revenge and two families that are opposed to one another.
Imperdonable centers around - wait for it - revenge! Who would have thought. It has a lot of pain and mourning and a lot of betrayal. 

Going through our „typology slides this is the how I would classify the two telenovelas in question: 

As you can see only three „categories“ are actually different. I think the main difference is the tone, which I will further refer to in the descriptions. So although comparisons are always difficult, at least I am not comparing two programs that are just completely different. 


Storylines

TdR tells the story of three brothers Gallardo and the three sisters del Junco. And yes, you guessed right, they fall in love with each other and from three couples. But not instantly and with a lot - a lot - of obstacles. The brothers and one sister, Alma, who dies pregnant, supposedly suicide. They blame her (married) lover Ingnacio del Junco, who died earlier under mysterious circumstances. They decide to go work for his horse ranch and to find a way to avenge their sister. At the range they meet his three daughters, the three sisters they will (ultimately) fall in love with. But one of them is married to a really bad, conniving husband who just wants to get the ranch and their mother is also not very innocent. So on top of their revenge there are some additional obstacles to overcome. In the end there are three happy couples and all the protagonists are truly feliz
Here is a trailer.

Imperdonable tells the love story of Veronica and Martín. Martín’s brother commits suicide because of a women, who’s name is V... Prado-Castelo. He finds the cousins Veronica and Virginia. Virginia is the absolute villain who makes Martín believe it was Veronica who drove is brother to suicide. So he seduces and marries her to then make her life hell in revenge. Soon it becomes clear that it was not Veronica, the women Martín wanted to have his revenge with. But by then he is profoundly in love with Veronica and she cannot forgive him to not have believed in her. So now he has to fight to get her back (and there are like a million further obstacles on the way). 

Here is a trailer (we also watched it in class). 

Characters

TdR has 6 protagonists. The three brothers and the three sisters. Each of the six characters has some very distinct and defining features. The brothers are: the reserved, the adventurer, the dreamer. The sisters are: the dedicated, the ambitious, the free spirit. All six are inherently good and not very „deep“. There is one clear antagonist, who is Sofia’s (oldest sister) husband. Their mother is an interesting case. She could be called the "ultimately regretful villain". Initially she was scheming for her own good, but also just being a hurt wife, because remember, her husband was cheating on her with the sister who turned up dead. But she also had an affair with her daughter’s husband (the mega villain). There is a wide range of side characters, who are partly bad and partly good. 
In general I think due to three main couples and therefore automatically three storylines as well as a villain who has more than just one evil side, are quite an attraction because it heightens that chance that you can identify with one of the characters or are passionate about one of the love stories.

Imperdonable has 2 protagonists, Martín and Veronica and one main antagonist, Virginia (the cousin). The is really, really evil. Outwardly evil without any good side. A classic villain, addicted at a luxurious life style, power and wealth. Veronica on her part seems without flaw, a perfect,strong, loving and successful woman. Martín is a litte more flawed, not being able to contain his revenge and making Veronica’s life hell, at least for a while. But after that is the most loving husband you could ever imagine. 

There are a lot of side characters, for example the „amor juvenil“, which are Ana Perla and Pablo. They’re problems are less caused by emotions than by other people who want to prevent them from being together. They are both simple and good characters, whereas Ana Perla always struck me as very naïve and Pablo just never really seemed to be able to assert himself. 
This story is less „wide-spread“ but if you are rooting for the main couple in really has the potential to suck you in because they are getting a lot of screen time and passing for a lot of obstacles. Also their problems stem from an interesting emotional conflict that has to be overcome by them and not, like often in the novelas, due to outer circumstances. 

Setting

TdR is set in Houston, Texas. The main part takes place on the horse ranch where all characters work and live, but there are also some parts in the city. 

Imperdonable takes place in Mexico City as well as in a litte, very very tiny village near a gold mine, that is called Mina Escondida and is very romantic, very „innocent“ and features some beautiful landscape backdrops, waterfalls etc. 


Star Power

Wow, both shows are really just filled with super star power. 
In TdR we have Telemundo „royalty“ Sonya Smith, who has starred in programs like Marido en Alquiler and is very known in the Telenovela world, she plays the mother. Fabian Riós, the villain, is also a well-known Telemundo face, especially in antagonistic roles. Of the brothers mainly Aáron Díaz has become famous lately, he is the actor Dr. A told us about in Santa Diabla, that did such a bad job that they had to switch protagonist and antagonist around. But that didn’t seem to stop his career. Honestly I feel it’s more his looks than anything that get him the screen presence. But he has a huge fan club! 
Gonzalo García Vivanco is another face, not as well known, but since 2012 he has been quite active in successful Telemundo productions like Relations Peligrosas or La Patrona. 
On the sister side Kimberly Dos Ramos is probably the best known, having played a lot of Telemundo productions since she moved to Miami in 2011 from Venezuela. Fun fact, the other two sisters, Scarlet Gruber and Ana Lorena Sánchez both were part of the Cosita Rica reboot that Univision did with Venevision. They played the parts othe twins and Paula C respectively. (In my opinion it doesn’t even compare to the original, at all)

Imperdonable obvioulsy features our beloved Spaniard Iván Sánchez, or also „El Gallego“, the role that made him famous back in La Reina del Sur. Ana Brenda Contreras is definitely an important face at Univision, she was the protagonist of three successful novels (including this one) 2011, 2013 and now 2015. She has a big following. Gretell Valdéz (antagonistis also not a new face, she as been working in Television for a while and her big role came with last year’s Lo qué la vida me robó. Most of the other actors (and they are a lot) are faces you see a lot at Televisa, I mean that makes sense, they have a big actor pool to choose from. The young love story actors Gaby Mellado and Sebastián Zurita were not as famous, which I have noticed is a technique to „introduce“ actors into productions so they climb up the latter to ultimately became THE protagonists.

Social Media Presence

TdR has a Facebook Page (776,429 Likes). It’s maintained by Telemundo, with branding and looks very curated. A Twitter Account (31,500 followers). It is a verified account with over 3000 Tweets. The homepage at Telemundo has all chapters available. On YouTube there are a lot of fan videos that follow the three main love stories and make new cuts that have just the scenes of those couples. Also, Samuel and Andrea (youngest bother, middle daughter) had the hashtag #SamDrea. So cute! 

Imperdonable Facebook Page (5,095 Likes). It doesn’t look official and I don’t think it’s actually curated by Univision or Televisa. The Twitter Account (15,400 Followers) doesn’t look as well curated either, it’s not verified (little blue tick) and it doesn’t have a banner. The account tweeted only 19 times. 

The homepage at Univision also features videos of the show, but they are also completely available on Hulu.
On Youtube there are some fan videos about the main love story, but they are more specific scenes or compilations and less a „short cut“ of just scenes of that storyline. That might be due to the fact that it had more screen time because it was the main one and not one of three. 

Ratings

TdR had accumulatively 2,161,000 total viewers and 1,206,000 adults 18 to 49 on premiere night, according to Nielsen. Locally, the novela ranked #1, among Spanish-language networks in its time slot, in Miami and Philadelphia, among adults 18-49.
The Finale was the #1 Spanish-language primetime program last night averaging 2,389,000 total viewers and 1,256,000 adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. It outperformed Univision for a fourth time in the last five weekday nights on the night of its finale which was set against Imperdonable. 

The univision show helped make Univision the No. 3 network during the 9 p.m. hour among both Adults 18-49 and young Adults 18-34, outperforming ABC and FOX in each demographic. The novela saw week-to-week growth among Total Viewers 2+ (+2% to 2.3 million), Adults 18-49 (+8% to 1.1 million) in August 2015 (when it was set against Bajo el Mismo Cielo on Telemundo. 

In the week from July 13 to July 19, Imperdonable helped make Univision the No. 2 network during the 9pm hour among young Adults 18-34, outperforming CBS, NBC and FOX. Unfortunately I did not find any numbers but we already know that it was outperformed by telemundo in the next week during the last week of TdR. 


Where am I going with this?

Wow... Thank you for making it all the way down here. I know I can get a little excessive with my posts. So after all this description and summarizing. What is the main difference? Why is Univision losing its comfortable distance towards Telemundo? 
From a promotional standpoint it simply seems to me that Univision has not embraced Social Media as well as Telemundo has. That of course is no guarantor for ratings or success but I think it is an important factor, especially since younger people are valuable targets. Then the Telemundo novela offered a greater variety. In all kind of aspects. Three main love stories instead of one, three young very attractive actors instead of 1 (or 2 if you want to count Sebastián Zurita). Also I personally felt the chemistry between the amor juvenil couple did not work at all in Imperdonable. It just was not convincing, no flying sparks. 
More nationalities, more possibilities to identify with the different characters. Cayetana, the mother, as a really interesting and challenging character and not a plain a villain as Virginia... 

All in all, I think Telemundo put more care to its program, trying to offer more to the audience than the 

traditional plot and model. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Imperdonable, but I could see that if you are not fascinated by the Martin/Veronica arch, there is not much left to be fascinated by. Where as in TdR if you - like me - are really upset by Aáron Díaz’s acting, there is still Gonzalo García Vivanco to be happy about and Sonya Smith to like. 
And when my Twitter constantly reminds me of TdR and less of Imperdonable... I think that’s a factor as well. 

Have you watched any of these? What do you think? What would you judge from the trailers?



Final Note (not part of the actual blog)

Due to our Telenovela conversations and a lot of our readings, I became more and more interested in Cosita Rica. They just rebroadcasted in on Venevision Plus and on November 23rd they showed the finale which prompted a lot of discussions on Twitter of how great this novela was. I have not seen much and I already agree. I looked into the love story that steals the show“. And looking at Cacique, Veronica and Maria Suspiro... I really think none of the couples above even play in the same category. Just look at the this scene... I think this novela is truly something very special. And this chemistry is incredible!
https://youtu.be/O4TiiEB3G1M?t=3m10s

Thank you all for a great semester. I really loved this class and all the lectures, discussions and conversations. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

El Patron del Mal to La Reina del Sur

Several weeks ago, I began watching La Reina del Sur. I was initially hesitant to taking up another narconovela after becoming thoroughly disengaged with El Patron del Mal, however much to my surprise, this telenovela has captured and maintained my attention with no problem.

I have several theories as to why this is, but I think it is mostly owed to the strong female roles in La Reina del Sur versus the largely male-dominated El Patron del Mal. Sure, there are female characters in El Patron del Mal, but they lack the fervor of Kate del Castillo's Teresa Mendoza. It was honestly refreshing to go from the patriarchal Pablo Escobar to La Reina del Sur's awe-inspiring female lead. However, I realize that El Patron del Mal couldn't take the liberties of incorporating a more female-heavy cast into the series in an effort to reflect accurate depictions of history.

While both telenovelas deal with a topic of particular controversy, La Reina del Sur has much more emphasis on human emotion and does a noticeably better job of character development than El Patron del Mal. Additionally, the adventurous nature of La Reina del Sur and Mendoza's ongoing travel has encouraged me to consider the telenovela industry from a more global perspective, which I found previously difficult to fathom.

I initially began watching El Patron del Mal after reading the telenovela's rave reviews without taking into consideration my own personal preferences. This was definitely a mistake on my part. While I was able to appreciate the telenovela's high production value and acting performances, El Patron del Mal ultimately left me unsatisfied. My inability to relate on any level to the characters portrayed in the telenovela also contributed to my disengagement. Apart from lacking a female protagonist, the angle in which the story was being presented felt specifically tailored to Latin American audiences unlike Netflix's Narcos, which savors greatly of western perception.

Of course, this is just my personal opinion as I'm sure El Patron del Mal is a favorite amongst many. Moving forward, it's safe to say I know what to look for in telenovelas and will do my best to tune out outside reception and listen to my intuition.


Amor o egoismo?

El tema que quisiera tocar para este blog es un tema que también quiero desarrollar para el ensayo final. He estado estudiando Avenida Brazil y no me aburre. Inclusive, creo que con cada episodio me atrae un poco mas. El plot de la novela es complicado... muy complicado. Aveces tengo que parar y pensar porque me pierdo tratando de entender los enredos las mentiras de Nina particularmente. Ya me he visto mas de dos tercios de la novela y solo mejora. Aunque estoy entretenida con la novela hasta ahora, también he visto y notado varias cosas que me hacen sacudir la cabeza. Sue-Ellen me hace reír. Murisi y Leleco con sus licuaras y bobadas también. Lo que si no logro entender es la necesidad de algunos (muchos) de los personajes que justifican las malicias que hacen con el amor. El amor!! Es increíble. Hacen cosas horribles y la razón siempre es el amor.

La palabra "amor" tiene varios significados. Se puede significar un sentimiento intenso, profundo y puro de afección. También puede representar una persona o una cosa que alguien ama. El amor se puede interpretar de distintas maneras y también me atrevo a decir que hay distintos tipos de amor. Como por ejemplo el amor de madre, el amor que existe entre mejores amigos, el amor entre parejas, el amor entre hermanos. La lista continua. Todos demostramos este sentimiento lindo de diferentes maneras también. Durante mi vida he tenido la fortuna de sentir estos distintos tipos de amor y también lo he visto manifestado en las vidas de la gente al rededor de mi.

Durante mi estudio de Avenida Brazil, también he tenido la oportunidad de observar este sentimiento fuerte. En la novela, este amor de manifiesta de maneras que aveces entiendo y que aveces me cuesta entender. El amor en esta novela lleva a la gente que le sean infieles a sus respectivas parejas, que causen daño y dolor a la gente que dicen querer, y hasta que inventen enfermedades terminales.

Me cuesta entender esto y la raíz de la necesidad de manifestar el "amor" que los personajes dicen sentir de esta manera. Para mi ensayo final voy a explorar este tema mas a fondo para tratar de entender la lógica de las acciones de los personajes y determinar si enverdad es amor o si es egoísmo.

Friday, November 27, 2015

(Falta de) uso de los personajes secundarios

A mí me gustan las telenovelas con drama y acción y muchas tramas y sub-tramas. Creí que escogí una telenovela que tenía este drama que apetezco, pero es todo al contrario. Aurora tiene drama en el sentido de eventos dramáticos, pero son dramáticos en el sentido de drama cliché. No hay este elemento de colgando al borde de mi asiento que amo en las telenovelas. ¿Por qué, aunque tiene el drama, no me tiene enganchada?

Creo que hay muchos elementos en una respuesta a esta pregunta. Creo que, para mí, lo que realmente crea este drama que me satisfecha son los personajes secundarios y los sub-tramas. Y Aurora casi nunca usa los personajes secundarios, solo si tiene relación directo a los protagonistas. Lo que me ha frustrado lo mas en la telenovela es la inhabilidad de Aurora admitió su verdadera identidad a otra persona. Al comienzo de la telenovela, ella está resucitado por su padre y un asistente, y solo esos tres (y la mama de Aurora) sabe la verdad. Eventualmente, su chofer se transformó en confidente para Aurora, asistente a sus esquemas y emociones. El chofer puede tener un rol grande en la telenovela, pero solo es una herramienta en las acciones de Aurora. Hay tanto potencial en este personaje--¿¡Por qué la trama no aprovecha de eso?!

¿Sabes qué difícil era encontrar un foto del chofer, roque? Dice algo de su importancia, ¿no?

Aurora no admitió a su verdadera identidad hasta el capítulo 28, y NO ES UN PERSONAJE PRINCIPAL, sino su profesor del pasado. ¿Y qué pasa después? NADA. Los protagonistas y personajes principales no descubren la verdad de él, y realmente esta admitancia no avanza la trama POR NADA.


No quiero quejarme de mi telenovela, y no quiero parecer como una desagradable, pero realmente he descubierto en ver mi telenovela que a mí no me da placer verla nada más. ¿Alguien más está en esta posición?
Verdadera título: Aurora y esos dos hombres. Nada más.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Colocación de productos

Durante el proceso de estudiar mi telenovela, observé un fenómeno muy interesante: durante unas escenas, apareció una bandera por la parte inferior de la pantalla y preguntando “¿Te gustan las joyas en la pantalla?” 






De verdad, no había visto ninguna joya en la escena (o no atrajo mi atención). Y, por supuesto, pausé el capítulo para investigar las joyas—no eran notables ni impresionantes; de verdad eran sencillos. Pero el próximo anuncio en esta bandera era “entra a telemundo.com y busca JOYAS para obtenerlos”. Era negocio empotrado en la telenovela, empotrado en otro forma de comercio. Eso me sorprendió mucho, pero en este momento en ver la telenovela, ya había visto colocación de productos en Subway, en la escena abajo. La escena incorporó (bueno, trató de incorporar) el uso de Subway suavemente, usándolo en la conversación y empatando la trama en la discusión. Una chica advierte a su amiga de los aspectos negativos de comer un sándwich pesado, a que ella responde “tiene 7 gramos de grasa—así que mantiene la forma” después de que se vuelve para comentar que otra chica esta coqueteando con más peligro en asociar con Aurora (la protagonista). Aunque trata de ser algo natural, la colocación de producto era obvio y, de veras, molestando. ¿Piensa Telemundo que soy manipulada o influenciada fácilmente?


video


Después de estés incidentes, investigue en la estrategia de Telemundo en esta época, y todo tenía sentido. En 2008, lanzó una estrategia de colocación de productos en su programación nueva. Y en 2011, anunció la disponibilidad de tarjetas de regalo de Visa y Mastercard con la marca y logo de Telemundo. Era un proceso de descubrir nuevos fuentes de ingresos y formas de crear una relación interactiva con la audiencia. 

Si estás curioso/a, visitar las enlaces abajo para más información.

Es muy interesante ver este tipo de "innovación" de negocios en las telenovelas. ¿Uds. han visto otras formas de negocios trasladar en la esfera de las telenovelas?

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Conversation with Telenovela Author Perla Farías

Analyzing the salient features of a telenovela almost every night is one thing. Having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually sit down and talk with the people who have participated in a telenovela is another, completely rewarding experience. This last example is precisely what occurred yesterday in class when I and many of my colleagues had begun a series of Skype conversations with several telenovela actors and authors. I had particularly been anticipating the second conversation with Writer and Telemundo executive Perla Farías Lombardini at 11:40 a.m. that day. Because I had been studying her latest telenovela Bajo el mismo cielo (2015) extensively (as several of my previous blogs and projects can attest), I grew curious about her creative process behind this specific telenovela.
            The day before class I wrote and typed these three questions for Farías in advance:
-          I read online that the telenovela Bajo el mismo cielo (2015) is based on the 2011 movie A Better Life and the screenplay El jardinero. How often did you follow these sources when creating the telenovela?
-          Are there are characters on this program who reflect real people, or do you aim more for Symbolism?
-          Considering that Bajo el mismo cielo concentrates on immigration in the United States, did you encounter any obstacles when dealing with this particular theme?

Out of the three questions, I had chosen the first one because it interested me the most. Her response revealed that, when working on the plot for Bajo el mismo cielo, Farías did not own the rights to the movie A Better Life. She did, however, have access to the screenplay for El jardinero and worked from there. The characters on Bajo el mismo cielo mostly retain the same attributes as in El jardinero. However, Farías had mentioned that she had made the protagonist Carlos Martínez more of concerned father-figure rather than as a mostly depressed character (as demonstrated by the screenplay to El jardinero).

With regards to the overall consumption of Bajo el mismo cielo, as another student asked, Farías expressed both surprise and happiness that the “18-34 year-old” age demographic had encompassed the majority of viewers for the show. She noted that this audience largely included those living in the Western part of the United States. This statistic had demonstrated that the consumption landscape for telenovelas (or, at least, for Bajo el mismo cielo) is changing.            

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the conversation with Perla Farías Lombardini lay in how she described her approach to writing telenovelas. She explained that she would often collaborate with both male and female Executive Producers in order to discuss how to successfully apply different telenovela genre. In discussing this aspect of the writing process, Farias briefly compared the female-oriented “Rosa” genre with the action-packed, male-oriented drama of the narconovela. Some of the points that she had mentioned or implied brought back memories for me about the previous discussions last Tuesday on Globalization. Among other things, Farías had discussed the necessity of taking risks, the uncertainty of remakes and the need for competition. These crucial elements, for the most part, determine the success or failure of a telenovela. Overall, I was delighted to take part in the class discussion with Farías because her input enabled me to gain a better appreciation for telenovelas.
       


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Freedom vs. Regulation

According to dictionary.com, to censor is to examine books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.

Censorship is an interesting topic because it’s still very present in some countries, while not very present in others. To some degree, the government must play a role in society though. For instance, in my Communication Law class, we are learning all about the First Amendment in the United States. We are learning what kind of speech and expression is protected and what is not. But this issue goes beyond just what can and cannot be said, it’s also about how ideas can be expressed. This topic is even part of the presidential debates in the United States today–how much do we want the government to be involved in our lives? The difference between the United States and other countries however, is that the United States is founded on set of values, such as freedom. This completely changes how the government goes about controlling the exchange and development of ideas in the country. In Venezuela however, the country is under strict regulation due to the system of government in place.

In our telenovelas class, Dr. A has taken us through the history of Venezuela and how the country’s government has affected the development and production of telenovelas. Basically, the Venezuelan government wants to control all media content, making sure that it does not include any ideas, words or actions that are against the government in any shape or form. The problem with this though is that as a result, the people of Venezuela have lost their identity. They no longer can say what they want, express what they want or even relate to the telenovelas that for so long have been their escape from reality.

As we’ve learned in class, telenovelas mirror reality. They give consumers an opportunity to relate to and see themselves in the characters within a telenovela. However, when telenovelas are limited and regulated by the government, the telenovelas aren’t going to be able to have the same draw and significance among viewers in a country. Unfortunately, being regulated wasn’t the only issue for telenovela production in Venezuela. Networks started to lose viewership as the government took over, causing all but one of the networks to disappear. Nowadays, the Venezuelan government controls almost all forms of media, making sure that all of the media channels support the government.

Overall, I am in disbelief that this is still an issue in the world. I know that makes me somewhat ignorant, but with all the freedom that we have in the United States, it’s difficult for me to imagine living in a country where ideas are constantly squashed by the government. It is also incredible to think about where the Venezuelan telenovela industry once was compared to where it is today, almost nonexistent. As Perla Farías said today in class over skype, there is no more competition in Venezuela and consequently, the industry is dying.


Altogether, by comparing what I’m learning about in my Communication Law class to what I’ve learned about the Venezuelan government, it is fascinating to compare the varying roles of government in society. But most importantly, I have learned the power of freedom and the necessity for humans to have it.