Apr 13, 2008


One of the most fascinating aspects of studying telenovelas is the amount of diversity of paradoxes that are part and parcel of this television genre. Some examples:
  • Distributors believe that 120 episodes is the magic number to sell telenovelas in the international market. However, when non-Latin American cultures produce their own telenovelas, those are generally longer than 120 installments, as is the case of the many versions of Yo Soy Betty, la Fea.
  • Telenovela actors are frequently dismissed as second class talent. However, their names are often the ones that attract audiences to theater and movie theaters. 
  • Even though there's an increasing number of scholars studying telenovelas, we still have to justify sometimes our interest in one of the most watched (if not the most watched) tv genre in the world.
  • Telenovela writers who come from the literary world (theater, film, narrative and poetry) spend a good time of their lives explaining why the write telenovelas. 
I believe that these and other paradoxes have their roots in which I like to call "The Central Paradox":

Telenovelas are products of mass consumption and mass disdain.

And it isn't rare to find people who both watch and scorn telenovelas. This is the source of most of the contradictions and paradoxes associated with telenovelas.

What do you think?

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