Why I’m a Shameless Telenovela Fan

las tontas no van al cielo…it’s not just about Jaime Camil (pictured left, in green, though he is reason enough).

I came to my telenovela-watching late in life.  When I lived in Madrid, we had literally 5 channels and I was a bookworm, so tv really didn’t hold much attraction.  And then, after I moved here, our considerably broader American cable still did not include telenovelas.

It wasn’t until my husband and I were in Guatemala, in the process of adopting our older son and daughter, that I really “got” novelas.  One afternoon, we were eating lunch, and our son started being fussy, and, to give us a break, the friend we were staying with scooped him out of the high chair in the comedor and into the kitchen where a novela was playing.  He immediately stopped crying and watched the drama with rapt attention.  Our daughters, too, watched novelas at their foster home (a practice which we credit with our younger daughter’s hilarious former habit of alternatingly play slapping her father across the face and then enthusiastically kissing him).  

So at the convenient time of our move last summer, I lobbied to ditch the cable in our area and opt for satellite tv instead, so we could get Spanish-language cartoons, news, and, of course…telenovelas!  I don’t watch as much as I’d like (3 kids 3 and under, se acuerdan?), but in the last year, I credit my favorite novelas with teaching me a few important things.

The top five of which are:     

1.  When something suspicious is going on, look close to home for el culpable.  Especially when there’s a fortuna at stake. 

2. Beware of el primero con quien te acuestas.  You’ll either be stuck with him…or he’ll be back.

3.  Life is lived to the fullest when dating a much older/younger person across class divides…sometimes even while comitting social taboos.  Besides, the sirvienta might be an heiress and your hermano might not be your hermano after all.

4. When life’s not going your way, yell out a threat followed by “o te corto la cara!

5.  If that fails, desmáyate o desaparécete.  That’ll teach ‘em.

In the last year, I’ve followed Querida Enemiga, Al Diablo Con Los Guapos, and Las Tontas No Van Al Cielo .  (I’ve also heard very fun things about  Cuentame Como Pasopero el tiempo todavia no me alcanza para seguirla)

What about you- do you telenovela, too?  Sure, the plots are over-the-top, but I can recognize rasgos de mis seres queridos in them, sin duda.  And they fill a cultura-shaped hole and a want for español for me, to boot.

Share, por favor!

By Violeta on May 26, 2009 · Posted in featured, the habla habla

6 Comments | Post Comment

Evenshine says:

Chistosisimo! My Colombian hubby is absolutely hooked on Las Tontas No Van Al Cielo. He says it’s just for the AIDS storyline, but I totally think it’s Jacqueline. Some things I’ve learned? 1) Nunca dicem lo que quieren. Somehow, no one ever manages to get out the whole conversation. Hard to do when people are storming out of doors and breaking picture frames. 2)The musica needs a facelift. Any time it’s a scary scene, the menacing music. Any time you see the comics of the series, it’s the same slapstick soundtrack.
Definitely an underrated art form! And definitely key to hispanic culture!

Posted on May 28th, 2009

Violeta says:

Evenshine- Ah, but don’t forget the love triangle soundtrack: the often repeated “Todo Cambio” by Camila, and, por supuesto, Maná’s “Vivir Sin Aire.” The second of which is made buenisim-ally corny when sung to Jacqueline by Valentino Lanus. :)

Posted on May 28th, 2009

Miriam says:

Ah! my favorite thing, las novelas, are you ladies watching Mañana es para Siempre en Univision, Fernando Colunga what a papazote,my family complains about me watching las telenovelas,even when I am visiting my children my one request is time for the novelas, ask Carrie, she’ll tell you, I am her lucky mamacita.

Posted on June 6th, 2009

Violeta says:

Miriam, I am not watching Mañana es para Siempre (por falta de tiempo, no de interes), although the previews look so good. But I totally believe in la importancia de novela-time. :)

Posted on June 7th, 2009

Lisa Renata says:

O.k this is too funny!

Of course my fave is the “tan, tan” dramatic music you hear when something bad is about to happen. Though, I gotta say this past Friday in Las Tontas, they sure surprised me with the break up (there was no “tan, tan.” I’m sad that it is over this week. Let see what other novela I will get hooked on.

On another note. We also got satellite for the same reasons. I love all the channels I can get and recording shows in spanish for my nenes.

Posted on June 15th, 2009

La Leyenda Del Chiti | Tiki Tiki Blog says:

[...] So remember when I wrote that one of the things I love about my telenovelas is that I can recognize …seres queridos in the crazy characters?   [...]

Posted on June 19th, 2009