As I have mentioned before in class, I was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved to the United States when I was 4 years old. Despite the fact that I immigrated at such a young age, I have always maintained contact with my Colombian roots. This includes listening to Colombian music, expanding my Spanish speaking skills, and of course, watching telenovelas. In fact, after reading other people's posts, I couldn't help but feel surprised at how many people had never been exposed to telenovelas before this class. When I was growing up, my peers would watch shows on Disney channel while I was watching La Costeña y el Cachaco, Rebelde, and La Gata Salvaje with my mom (probably not the best things for a 6 year old to be watching but oh well!) This was also largely due to the fact that we didn't have cable and I only had access to channels like PBS and Univision.
As I grew older, I stopped watching telenovelas regularly and moved on to consuming American and British series. However, my parents continued to watch episodes day after day. I think it was a way to remain contact with their native Colombia on a daily basis. Adjusting to life in the US proved to be difficult at times and as a result, telenovelas provided an escape back to normalcy for my parents. It wasn't until Telemundo's Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal that I decided to give telenovelas more attention. For most people, series like El Patron del Mal and Netflix's Narcos are just a gripping dramas about a criminal mastermind. For me, however, it was honestly the first time I was really exposed to the violent history of my native country during the 1990s. Did I know about the cartel wars that almost brought the Colombian government to its knees? Of course. But it is very different to read about these events in a book than it is to see them unfold on screen. It's different when your own parents watch car bomb after car bomb explode and make comments like "I remember that day," or "I was at so-and-so's house when that happened." So what I'm basically getting at is that sometimes it's easy to get sucked into telenovelas and not see past the melodrama. But I urge each and every one of you to think critically about what each and every scene says about Latin American society. Because I can almost guarantee you that as engrossing as it can be to watch Pablo Escobar come to life on screen, he is not the character you should be rooting for.