I am a TV and movie fanatic–I admit it.
I mostly took this course because I wanted to have exposure to the Spanish language even though I would not be taking a Spanish class this semester and I am almost done with my minor. I did not expect to learn so much already about how the drama I love in movies and TV is expressed across cultures.
Nearly every time we watch a preview for a telenovela in class, I am on the edge of my seat. I love the suspense, and I love the stories. But what I did not pay attention to before was how similar these telenovelas are to the shows I watch regularly. Obviously, as we discussed in class, telenovelas differ greatly from American soap operas. However, I find them very similar to some of the popular television series I have seen.
For example, I am watching La Reina del Sur this semester for this class. It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite television series, Scandal, due to the strong female protagonist and thrilling, suspenseful nature. From the beginning, it is fast-paced and exciting–but also shocking at times. It was interesting for me to learn in class that La Reina del Sur was written by Valentina Parraga for Telemundo out of Venezuela, because now it is extremely popular. It is comforting in a way to know that these stories can resonate with me and other people around the world.
I also find it interesting to learn more about the writers. I can't imagine how much creativity must go behind producers and writers like Parraga to bring those stories to life for such huge audiences. Since my majors are public relations and English, I value storytelling in its many forms. However, I have not always quite understood the more nontraditional forms of storytelling–that is, non-written forms. Learning about the production behind telenovelas and their evolution has given me a better background on how that method of storytelling has developed into the larger productions that appear today. I enjoy being able to connect the group of actors crowded around a microphone with primitive sound effects with the large-scale scenes found in telenovelas like La Reina del Sur. I am excited to continue watching in order to apply what I learn in class. I also look forward to learning more about representation and identity.