Thursday, August 25, 2016

Telenovela Impressions

I’ve never watched a telenovela before. Really all I knew about them was that they were dramatic love stories and that they have this reputation of being cheesy. However, I’ve never had a doubt that I wouldn’t enjoy it. It's always been one of those things that I know I'd love but never knew the best way to get into it. With the exception of my first semester of college, I've been in Spanish class since the fourth grade, and I've been enthralled with the Spanish-speaking culture ever since. I've travelled to Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Bolivia (twice), and I am now preparing for my second trip to Nicaragua. Last semester, I took my last class to fulfill requirements for my Spanish minor. So when I heard that there was a journalism elective about telenovelas, I was immediately interested!

So far in these first two weeks of class, I’ve learned that there is so much more than to these productions than the melodrama and emotion. Within these weeks, Dr. A’s lectures and explanations have already shown me that there are clear societal relationships between telenovelas, their country of origin and the global telenovela universe. It’s been really cool to look at the clips of telenovelas like Sin Tetas No Hay Paraíso because they tell stories that relate to real issues going on in those cultures. It is sad to know that they aren’t all like that, like when we talked about how Televisa in Mexico distracts a country from things going on by getting people hooked on telenovelas. And not to bash American Idol and The Voice, but television phenomenons in America like singing competitions just don’t speak to society like a telenovela would in Latin American countries. I didn’t realize how popular and absorbing the telenovela culture is, and I was especially surprised by how they’ve reached cultures outside of Latin America. 

I still haven’t decided on which telenovela I’d like to analyze in the Identity Report; so many of the different styles and classifications have intrigued me I don’t know which one I’d like to really invest in. I think I’d rather analyze a telenovela produced in Latin American though. While its been interesting to see the various productions in The Middle East and in the United States, I want to look at where it all first took off. And of course I'd like to keep up my Spanish comprehension and speaking, so I'd prefer something in Spanish.

One thing that I’m excited to discuss in class that Dr. A has already prefaced is the racial representations in telenovelas. Diversity in representation has been talked about so much recently in American entertainment culture, and I’m sure its a universal issue. I’d like to see how it is being discussed in Latin American culture, and compare and contrast that with our own progress in diversifying representation in media.

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