Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spanish Language Telenovelas

Being a widow and not having a husband to share my day with, I watch television (among other activities), and especially, my four emotion-packed Spanish language telenovelas (tv soap operas) during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I started out watching these novelas because I was a Spanish major and wanted to become fluent, and now I continue to watch them to keep my fluency but also because they are interesting and engaging.

Thanks to DirecTV and those convenient Season's Passes, I am able to watch the novelas whenever I want to, so some of them are viewed at night before bed upstairs in my bedroom, and whatever I don't view during the week I can pick up on weekends.
Christian Bach, Aracely Arámbula in "La Patrona"

A lot of people assume that Spanish language telenovelas are just like our English language soap operas in that they last forever. Not so. Telenovelas go for a certain number of months and then have a definite end, so that the home viewer can always anticipate a new novela.

Another difference is that whereas the American soap opera has morning and afternoon time slots, the telenovelas (at least the first-run novelas) start at about 4:00 or 5:00 pm and go on through the night. Re-runs of old novelas are during the early day and late late night.

With a few exceptions, telenovelas are not science fiction or adventure, but romance. The main male protagonist is usually a masculine, virile, attractive fellow of good character and the female protagonist can range from sensitive and defenseless to strong and assertive. but the story is always a romance — though coupled with a strong plot aside from the romance.
Jorge Luis Pila, Aracely Arámbula, and Christian Bach in "La Patrona"

One thing you will always see in a telenovela is lots and lots of cleavage, and the time of day doesn't matter. All of the main women wear clothes that emphasize their sexuality, and part of watching a telenovela is getting a free fashion show. I'm sure men would find other reasons for watching the women.

Blanca Soto, Fernando Colunga in "Porque el Amor Manda
"La Patrona" ("The Female Boss") is romance with an overlay of undiluted vengeance, pitting the older shapely blonde Christian Bach against the  younger hour-glass-figured Aracely Arámbula. The story has suspense, deceit, murder, adultery, and also a young love in the background. The prevailing ambience: vengeance.

"Porque El Amor Manda" ("Because Love Commands") is a light comedy romance between the appealingly masculine Fernando Colunga and the beautiful Blanca Soto. The story is played for laughs, but the romance is what keeps viewers watching!
Eduardo Yáñez and Erica Buenfil in "Amores Verdaderos"
Colunga has the part of a secretario (male secretary) working under Blanca Soto, actress, model, and winner of 1997 Miss Mexico World. In this one, the boss lady (Blanca Soto with the never-ending legs) is secretly in love with Jesús, the secretario. even though she is married to Rogelio,  the unfaithful adulterous buffoon and CEO of the company they all work at.

"Amores Verdaderos" ("True Loves") has a man-woman love; a mother's love of her grown, alienated son; a mother's love for her daughter, who she has just discovered was NOT born dead, but given away at birth. This telenovela also deals with bulemia, with the young Nicole/Nikki being tall, willowy, blonde, and bulemic. There is enough cleavage, cinched waists, hair, and legs to last you a long time, but do not be deceived: the storyline is terrific and the actors and all good.

Silvia Navarro, Cristian De La Fuente in "Amor Bravío"
"Amor Bravio" ("Valiant Love") stars Silvia Navarro and Cristián De La Fuente as the younger love interests, with Leticia Calderón and César Évora as the more mature, deceitful and criminal couple. The plot is very thick, with the female protagonist Silvia Navarro as the Mexican love interest, and the very tall and handsome Cristián De La Fuente being from Chile. And how did they meet, then? You'll have to watch the novela to find out but it involves murder, an escape from a Chilean prison, and a Mexican cattle ranch with a lot of bulls and a young teenaged girl who is raped by her uncle.

The wonderful thing about the Internet is that all of these novelas can be seen on YouTube if I miss any of the chapters. I can also see novelas that I never saw before — but I find it much easier to view the chapters on a larger tv screen. P.S. How can people watch movies on their iPhones???!!!

If you are interested, go to YouTube and type in the names of the novelas I mentioned above; it can be quite an experience. I watched my very first telenovela years ago. I was a Spanish major in college and wanted to get some vocabulary building and listening comprehension strengthened and chose "Rosa... de Lejos"  ("Rosa From Far Away"), an Argentine production  with that Argentine pronunciation and verb forms. It starred the dark and striking Leonor Benedetto as a woman who rose from dirt poor to a wealthy and influential fashion designer.
Leonor Benedetto in "Rosa...De Lejos"

In retrospect I should have chosen a Mexican production but "Rosa... de Lejos" was what was running at prime time at the time, so that is what I watched. One thing that turned out in my favor was that Leonor Benedetto's Rosa spoke slowly like maple syrup in December, so everything she said was clear and that helped me to understand the Spanish better.

I notice that a lot of people say that they do not watch telenovelas, but it always slips out that they know what's going on in the stories, so I know that these novelas are everyone's secret pleasures, not to be admitted to. But why not? Ah, that's another topic for another post.

I think I'll go and catch up now  on "Amor Bravío," and also some Fox News and HGTV (Home and Garden Television). Have a wonderful day.


A Lady's Life said...

lol my son is learning Spanish
It's a nice language to know and I am sure he will use it in his life.
I used to watch soaps but then I saw I made better judgement decisions than they did in the movies and wondered how grown up people, with so much to do had time for all this.
So I stopped watching.
Give a a good ol cowboy movie and I am happy.
Then I am fascinated with philosophy history and archeology.
How things began, how we got to where we got and why we believe what we believe and things that change and what should not change.
All Amazing stuff. Then I think young people are not interested in any of this but they need to know it if they are to make sense of this world and their own lives.
Well nothing you can do. I can write stuff in my blog and maybe someone will read it enough to take interest and begin self educating like I do. lol

Lorna said...

# Lady --- I also watch Fox News and HGTV. Sadly I do not get the History Channel but I do get the Learning Channel.

Scoliosis keeps me from a lot of physical activities.

A Lady's Life said...

Oh I am sure it must be difficult.
Swimming should be ok shouldn't it??

I tend to sit at home a lot too.
I enjoy doing things which make me happy and days fly by.
We used to have less people and the streets were nicer and today they are full of people and a world full of unrest, so it's not interesting anymore.Seems many people today just like to keep to themselves.It's not like when we were growing up.

DJan said...

I tend to discourage myself from watching too much TV, since it's easy to just lose myself and end up living another person's life instead of my own! :-)

Lorna said...

But they're so much fun! And then I have enough of my own life to deal with. :-)

HermanTurnip said...

Geez...I never knew how intense these shows are. I see them briefly as I channel surf, but not knowing Spanish there's no way I could figure out what's going on. Thanks for the lesson! The more you know...

Jimmie Earl said...

Thanks for stopping by Moment by Moment today. I hope you'll stop by again. I am not a student of Spanish, only speak a few words anymore. But I love the way it flows and think it's almost as romantic as Italian...almost! (I don't speak that either.) Just English, but taught it for several years.
I hope you had a great Easter Day.

Lorna said...

@Herman Turnip --- the Spanish language telenovelas cover a range of topics, but they are in no way mini documentaries. The plots are very rich for the very good ones and with fewer twists and turns for the merely mediocre ones.

@ Jimmie Earl --- I taught E.S.L. -- English As A Second Language to foreign students.


Pearl said...

I think I would actually enjoy these more than I ever did American soaps.


p.s. and there's no reason to get the History Channel anymore -- it's full of "reality" and very little history.

CrystalChick said...

Very interesting! You're right, our soap operas go on and on forever! I have been watching 'The Young and the Restless' on and off for many years. Sometimes months go by and I don't tune in, but once I pick it up again it's easy enough to figure out most of what's been going on.
I took 2 years (maybe 3?) of Spanish in high school. Sadly, if you don't use it, you lose it.

Lorna said...

@ Crystal Chick --- The one soap opera that I did watch for a long time was The Young and the Restless. I liked the cast and the storyline. Then came The Bold and the Beautiful and they were nice eye candy too.


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