Thursday, August 25, 2016

Telenovelas in South America

Before taking this class, I had always seen telenovelas as a show on TV but never really knew what they were all about. My first impression of them had been that they are probably just a show for people who speak spanish to watch. I never really thought much more into it other then that they are simple dramas just spoken in spanish. After learning in class that telenovelas are broadcasted in many different languages, it prompted me to dig deeper into the vary qualities of how the telenovelas are referred to across various countries. For example, in Argentina, telenovelas are referred to as "teleteatros" in comparison to Spain where they are referred to as "culebrones." The spanish title of "culebrones" means "long snake," a symbol for the long, complex plots of telenovelas. Another example of this can be seen in Venezuela where telenovelas are referred to as "seriados" due to the genres chronological order of episodes. Although Argentina, Spain and Venezuela all have spanish as the primary spoken language, all refer to the same genre of literate with different titles. I find it very interesting that an international genre as big as telenovelas is referred to as different things depending on where you are in the world.
Another aspect of telenovelas that varies across the world is the content through which they are produced. For example, in large telenovela producing countries like Brazil and Mexico, many of the scripts and episodes are based off of real world cultural and political problems. In Mexico, many of the telenovelas contain scenes hinting at sex before marriage or abortion. In a country with one of highest percent of Catholics, one living outside of Mexico might guess that this kind of entertainment would not be so successful. The opposite, however, is true in telenovelas being the most watched form of entertainment, sometimes rivaling soccer. "More controversial events are being included in the Mexican telenovela," says Barbara More, the main actress in "Rubi." This form of production by Mexico is good for the telenovela industry and adds variety to the genre. A sharp contrast to Mexico's production can be seen in Venezuela. As we learned in class, the Venezuelan government has a strong say in what can be produced in the telenovela. Many people believe this is due to the governments fear of its sad political realities being broadcasted to the rest of the world. Although all countries produce telenovelas, it is very interesting to me how each country puts its on "spin" on the genre in order to make it appeal to varying cultures.

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