Oct 31, 2007


This is the fifth and last installment related to my students' presentations regarding the topic of telenovela reception. We will focus our attention first on La Mentira. Then we will move on to Telemundo's Dame Chocolate, and we will finish the cycle with one of the telenovelas we examined in the first installment: Pasión de Gavilanes.

Presenter: Ashley Davis

Topic: La Mentira and the evolution of consumption.

Sources: Blogs, message boards and http://tunovela.net/

Objective: To analyzde the reception of La Mentira, and explore the conceptualization of interactive telenovelas via Internet.

Findings and conclusions:
- La Mentira has been sold to more than 90 countries. At this time it's being broadcast in Greece.
- Some episodes won the ratings in L.A. and Chicago.
- There are more messages objectifying the male actors than the women in the telenovela.
- Interestingly, the director, Carlos Sotomayor, responds to messages in boards and blogs.
- Carlos Sotomayor, Kate del Castillo and Guy Ecker have a new project: interactive telenovelas on the Internet. In these mininovelas (5 minutes daily for 3 weeks), audience members can provide their opinion regarding the direction of a particular plot or twist.
- They also organize live chats with these actors and director.
- However, their webpage hasn't been updated since the beginning of October.

My thoughts: Telenovelas have influenced other genres. For instance, in Venezuela there is a serialized TV ad for a detergent in telenovela format and starring actor Roque Valero. In addition, there have been several attempts to broadcast mini-telenovelas via cell phones. Melodrama sells. Here in the United States we find melodrama not only in soap operas. But also in the tv coverage of the Olympics and in the press' political beat. The question remains: Why is melodrama universal?

Presenter: Felicia Hylton

Topic: The consumption of Dame Chocolate

Sources: Telemundo Yahoo message boards, Facebook

Objective: To explore the reception of Dame Chocolate

Findings and conclustions:
- For audience members who watched Dame Chocolate, Carlos Ponce and Génesis Rodríguez were "the perfect couple".
- The public's loyalty was manifest in the number of episodes they uploaded, their messages requesting a sequel, and their fascination with the transformation of Rosita (Génesis Rodríguez), who becomes Violeta Hurtado.
- Product placement--Clorox and Ikea--were present in this telenovela.

My thoughts: While studying telenovelas I've often come across the success (audience-wise) of the physical transformation of a "good" character. The audience gets hooked particularly when they know or anticipate that such transformation will revindicate or redeem a character they consider "good." It's the other side of the principle of "crime and punishment," in which the "good" person is rewarded and, many times, her/his transformation will allow her/him to get revenge from those that wronged her/him (yes, like the Count of Montecristo).

Another theme that comes to mind when we examine Telemundo productions like Dame Chocolate, is how (at least up until now), Telemundo's telenovelas are more successful abroad than in the U.S., where the demographics of the Latino population keep Univisión and its Mexican Televisa telenovelas on top.

Presenter: Christine Bassett

Topic: The consumption of Rosario in Pasión de Gavilanes

Sources: Blogs and message boards

Objective: To understand the reception of the triangles involving the character of Rosario in telenovela Pasión de Gavilanes

Findings and conclusions:
- Rosario is involved in two hot relationships. First, with Franco Reyes and then she falls for, and marries, her manager Armando.
- Both relationships have a good deal of ambiguity re: Rosario's real feelings. In particular, her relationship with Armando is love-hate.
- At the same time, the audience established a parallel love-hate relationship with this couple: Rosario-Armando.

My thoughts: Just like there are characters we love to hate, there are couples that capture our attention precisely because of their ambiguity, which, in turn, generates ambiguous feelings in us. Among the many paradoxes present in the telenovela genre stands out the fact that the public likes the traditional codes because they know well how to decode them. (For instance, a man and a woman fall in love, overcome obstacles, only to end up happy everafter). At the same time, it is now frequent to see the public hooked by a story in which ambiguity reigns and the traditional code has been broken. Such is the case of Rosario and Armando's, in which there is no redemption or happy end.

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