Dec 14, 2007


The semester is over and so is my Telenovelas class. And the last class was a nice final episode about final episodes. That day we moved our class from afternoon to evening, and from the classroom to my living room.

My students had already watched the final episodes of the telenovelas they had analyzed throughout the semester: Rubí, Amor Real, Corazón Salvaje, Amarte es mi Pecado, Pasión de Gavilanes, La Mentira, Piel de Otoño, La Usurpadora, Los Ricos También Lloran and Dame Chocolate. That evening at my house we discussed different types of telenovela endings. From the most traditional with weddings and terrible punishments for the villains, to the less typical (and more contemporary) ends in which the protagonists are together, without a classic wedding, and impunity is present as not all crimes receive punishment.

We watched several interesting final episodes. Among them, Juana La Virgen's, which like this whole telenovela, was mostly "rosa" but with an interesting twist. In its final episode: the use of memories and recollections by the protagonists who are now elderly.

We watched the terrible and lesson-laden end to the important Colombian series Sin Tetas No Hay Paraíso, which has many of the elements of a telenovela--melodrama, love triangles and secrets--but it's too short, in my opinion, to be considered one.

We also had a chance to watch on the screen (and read the script) of the last episode of Cosita Rica, which blurred the line between reality and fiction until the very end, by having the character Nixon presenting on the stage of a filled theater the end of each character/subplot.

(Pictures courtesy of Dani, foro Cosita Rica)

We were able to compare the script and mise-en-scene of Ciudad Bendita's last episode, which occurred in the tragic context of the murder of actor Yanis Chimaras, only hours before the last key scenes were taped. This time reality bit fiction. Throughout these examples, we talked about the distance between the script and what we saw on the screen, and the way these episodes were received and read by the public and the entertainment press.

And to honor that this class was an approximation to Latin American culture through its telenovelas, I cooked for my students a typical Venezuelan meal consisting of pabellón criollo and arepas. For dessert, we had what is now my best-known recipe--a Tres Leches cake, which we accompanied with the reading of a letter that actress Marisa Román wrote especially for my students.

It was a great final episode for a semester that enriched us all. Teaching and learning always go hand in hand. As a professor, I'm immensely satisfied and grateful for this experience.

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