Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekend Discussion: What do you want from the novelas you watch?

It's 2013 and we're watching remakes upon remakes, many of which are barely updated to take more modern attitudes into consideration.  We see more bare flesh than in 1990, but hear no discussion of birth control.  Abortion is still a taboo subject and we see very little about pedophilia.

We're still shocked, however, when a female character is raped and especially when she is particularly vulnerable, like Solecita in Corazon Indomable.  We should be outraged, indeed.

What do you want to see?  How do you want to feel after you see an episode?

I want to see more stories that consistently reflect current human reality.  Women with education and confidence who aren't afraid to face the world on their own terms.   Current attitudes about religion, class structure, education, and human behavior.  What are real workplace dynamics?

Please, no comic relief in the middle of something violent, serious, and/or emotional.  That is bad writing because it interferes with the emotional impact of the main events.  It also makes the whole episode less memorable.

No sudden detours or about-faces; think out a story before committing it to the computer screen.  El Fantasma de Elena could have been a great supernatural story about ghosts and werewolves if some writer hadn't decided three weeks into shooting that they needed to change this to a psycho twin story (though I do give them credit for a great final fate for the villana).

Be consistent with the period of the story.  If you're going to have the characters get DNA tests to show kinship, why don't they have cell phones?

Rant away, amigos.

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"Please, no comic relief in the middle of something violent, serious, and/or emotional."

You have made similar declarations many times and you are clearly a huge fan of opera. My favorite opera is Don Giovanni and I'd guess that it is considered a tragic opera since so many horrible things happen and the main character ends up in Hell... yet a good bit of the time it is downright knee-slapping hilarious.

Do you like this opera and what are your thoughts about the often broad humor it contains?


I want the protagonists to not be total idiots. I want them to not fall for every stupid lie the villains tell them. I want them to not spend the whole time crying. I want them to spend more time together than separated by lame misunderstandings. They can still have conflict and difficulties, but I should be able to cheer for them.

I especially like a smart, capable, spunky heroine who doesn't need the galan to save her.

I also like humorous touches, but not grotesque Humor For Dummies like stupid sound effects and fart jokes.

I am less knowledgeable about Mozart's operas than Verdi's, but I see Don Giovanni as someone who exists for the devil's amusement. In the end he gets what he deserves.

A friend of mine would describe him as a sociopath.

The stupid sound effects are childish. Why should there be a musical chord when Discua winks at a man in PEAM?

You know how in almost all telenovelas there's the good guy who wants to get with the leading lady but she never gives him the time of day and instead goes back to the galan that's treated her like crap? I want the good guy friend to get the girl and I want a leading lady to say "basta! you had your chance with me and messed it up, i deserve better" that would be a breath of frsh air!

The list of defects you mention in the current novelas aptly describes why I've migrated to Telemundo. I was tired of the Televisa Paint by the Numbers plots and constant refritos. People DO use cell phones on Telemundo. A woman chose to have an abortion recently.

Sorry to sound so negative. I also know that some areas of the country only have Univisón as their Spanish language channel. But I just prefer more realistic fare.

That happened in Querida Enemiga! Only time I've seen the heroine go for the second string guy, though.

As for what I want in telenovelas:

A coherent plot (not necessarily plausible...just coherent)

good acting

pretty women

good Spanish closed captions


Ditto what Julia said.

I like my heroines and heroes to be: likeable (why is this so rare?); ambitious (not in the evil way villains are); intelligent; decisive; critical thinkers; independent; and fun.

I want them to: have great chemistry; trust each other; not trust the villains; like each other; respect each other; and laugh together.

I don’t mind clichés and humor as long as the writing, plot, pacing, and acting is good. No story, especially one about two people falling in love, is “original.” A re-write/update of an old tn can be very good if done right.

I wouldn’t mind at all if the rape of an innocent who can’t fight back storyline disappears forever, because I don’t really see the good it does.

I am pleased to see cell phones, texting, Skyping, etc. being used more and more. I wish more of the “rural” tns would use them. AB did a good job using all of these in a rural setting. STUD and Abismo really had no excuse for pretending this technology doesn’t exist.


great topic UA... lord where to start.

- Stop the remakes of remakes. Some of these aren't working anymore. When I'm yelling at a character supposedly in present day "Oh, for cripes sake, just call your cell phone" and they don't even show them in the show, not working. Some characters are so outdated in thinking and behavior, it just doesn't make the show work as a whole.
- I ranted once today on this, but the rape of the innocent needs to stop now. I say shame on writers for using this very tired plotline over and over. Inexcusable.
- Leave us guessing. More TN's where we don't know who the heroine or hero will wind up with at the end, if at all.
- The young innocent heroine who pines for her chosen Cad....oh, I mean hero who gets to be a jerk and have affairs, etc. and she waits patiently until he gets a clue. We need more spunky heroines and less playboys.
- Stop showing the various community entities as total idiots or worthless just to make a plot happen ( i.e. medical, police). If you have someone corrupt, that's one thing, but showing the whole group in a bad light is wrong and unnecessary. Lazy writing.
- I know much of the humor escapes me, but I'm surprised how much of the humor is based on sheer humiliation of people. If I had a child who pulled some of the antics we see, I'd be doling out punishment, not laughing at it. I always feel like I'm missing something when I see that for the sake of humor.

Ok, I'll stop now....


I don't want any rape scenes,child abuse and certainly no protagonists who can't think outside the box.I would like the characters to communicate better than they do.Example: MC in CI believes everything Lucia tells her. Octavio knows MC in wears tarted clothing,isn't there any village seamstress who can sew a simple decent dress for a few pesos? He can't be that broke. I also want all protagonists to be smarter than all antagonists. Hope that is not too much to ask. Last but not least, editors should be made to watch their crappy work before we have to.


Julia, I never saw that one so I missed it! It just seems like a lot of leading ladies end up staying with men who in many cases caused them so much heartache when there's another man who loves them and would do anything for them. I'm tired of writers basically saying that "love" is enough to over come the pain and humiliation some of the galans put leading ladies thru, just once I'd like to see a heroine say "Screw you Jose Antonio, I'm staying with Juanito",lol

Novelera- I have to say that being a viewer of both Televisa (Uni) and Telemundo tns, other than the narco-novelas, I don’t see a huge difference. (Don’t throw anything at me!) The heroes and heroines behave in the same stupid ways, letting things like jealousy and villainous plots separate them. Since the setting for the ones filmed in Miami is the U.S., it’s not a surprise that the cultural attitudes about some things (abortion) would be somewhat different than tns that come straight out of Mexico. But really, it’s not that different. The Telemundo characters often forget to use birth control and are just as reluctant to have abortions. The tn where a woman did have an abortion recently (Pasion Prohibida) was a remake of a Turkish tn, where the character did the same thing.

La Patrona, a huge hit for Telemundo, could easily be a Televisa tn. The tns that start out being really unique (La Fantasma; Aurora), get re-written and butchered and turned into dreck. Rosa Diamante was a remake of many remakes, and not as well done as a Televisa remake.

Overall, I would like to see more use of birth control and less talk of babies being a blessing in both Televisa and Telemundo tns.



Thanks for putting this up. I too hate the rape scenes and the idiocy of the protagonists. The writers could do better. I think they put these comic scenes into these TN's to give the viewer a break in the middle of some of these terrible scenes. It may not be right but sometimes it is a relief.

The only TN I saw that mimicked more of real life was PVAA, Para Volver A Amar, there were smart women in that one, but the horrid storyline of the wife being abused was horrible, but I think very true to life. She even went through therapy for weeks afterwards, and he went to jail. They did a gay storyline, kidnapping of a child by one of the parents, cancer, it was loaded with everything. Too bad it wasn't recapped here on Caray Caray. It's a shame it got such a dead time slot, at midnight.

I too agree they need more modernization and more technology. I like the computers I have seen and the cell phone use too. I agree about the country ones. Most don't have cell phones or computers. They need them in those.

I'd also like to see period TN's that are more accurate as far as the time in history goes, the proper costumes and good music. I loved CS 2009 but the opening song so didn't fit it. A good Spanish guitar piece would have been better for that one. Does anyone know of a good historical TN like the Mexican Revolution? That would interest me.

Ellie- You need to watch Querida Enemiga mi amiga. It was very satisfying to see the heroine do just that and choose Galan #2. And it was a guessng game till the end because Galan #1 did come to his senses and did fight for her, and there the two of them were in the opening credits kissing in the rain. But our heroine was a smart girl and chose the man who never broke her heart and stomped all over it.

Mads- PVAA is an example of an excellent remake. Uni did a diservice showing it at midnight, especially given that it was so popular in Mexico and won all the awards that year. It made no sense when they chose to show it. But it wasn't a typical tn either. I'm not sure what I would call it, but like a narco-novela, it's in its own category. That was also one of the very few cases in a tn when the rape storyline (marital rape) was appropriate and served a real purpose in the story.

Wow this does hit some buttons with us. I'm sick of stupid heroes and heroines, rapes for story line purposes, idiot police, wrong medical and justice scenes. Lack of technology and the list goes on.

I want to see smart women who don't need a man to save them or for that matter to make them complete. Every novlea mother is always advising the girl that a good and or preferably rich man is what she should be striving for. Pluease that thinking went out ages ago but to be fair perhaps not in Mexico.

I'm bored with galans who are too stupid to come in out of the rain, the kind that let themselves be used by the slutty second woman in the cast, that continually believe lies and do little or nothing to fight for the love of their lives. One thing about QBA at least Santos to this point isn't a fool.

I'm tired of children who are either such brats they need a good slap or a long time out or so angelic it is ridiculous. Children are a mix of both and that's what I want to see. Isa again inQBA fits into the mold of a real child.

I want to see a scene when someone has a medical emergency or accident someone immediately pulls out s cellphone and calls for help instead of standing around wringing their hands and muttering Dios Mio. Using QBA again lasts night's accident scene , a crowd standing around and no one making a call for help or for that matter doing anything to help the child.

If their must be a jury scene or medical scene get it right.People don't leap up and screams in courts or walk in interrupting.In hospitals it is not the norm for visitors to wear masks and gowns.

From a technical standpoint just once if there has to be music keep it in the background so we can at least hear what it being said. It is often both frustrating and annoying.

Oh and it might be interesting to see people actusally work for a change

I am looking for more smart comedies where there may be slapstick humor but no pottie humor.

As far as dramas, I would like to see dramas that are less violent and less mysogynist. I refuse to watch any torture or rape scenes.

For all novelas I would like to see better written plots where all subplots would be pertinent to the main plot and characters and not just created to lengthen the novela. I find so many subplots to be simply extraneous and a waste of time: they end up destroying the cohesion of the novela in its entirety.

Also, I would like to see actors playing age appropriate roles so that the middle aged are not cast in roles that were clearly written for younger people.

Great topic, UA! You always give us something to think about.


There is an historical novela called El Vuelo del Aguila which is about Porfiorio Diaz. It wasn't shown here in its entirety, though.

A sprawling novela de epoca that would be interesting is La Antorcha Encendida.

The 1993 CS had all orchestral music with no silly modern songs (except for a brief period in the story, then it was dropped). I'm glad to find another person who objects to music that doesn't match the period of the story.

I have a similar complaint about the two versions of the Reyes' brothers stories regarding technology. Pasion de Gavilanes had a 1990's look to the furniture and home technology (the TV sets were 90's models, a laptop computer was shown in one scene) and the automobiles that were in the later episodes, but no cell phones. When Oscar and Jimena got stranded in the desert I kept wondering where the hell her cell phone was.

FELS had modern medicine -- DNA testing was discussed and the monitoring equipment was modern -- but not a telephone of any kind in sight. The word only was said twice in the whole series. Consdering also that our three studly heroes (who had better chemistry than the three in PdG) only rode horses, why on earth didn't they just make that into a novela de epoca and set the story in 1900 instead? The story would have worked just as well or better for the consistency.

Same thing with Duelo de Pasiones. The whole notion of the controlling Alvaro refusing to do a DNA test to find out whether Alina was his daughter made no sense at all and the godfather to whom he said that should have done something at that point that could have stopped what he did to Alina and Soledad. Cell phones disappeared after the first week or so as well. This could have worked as a novela de epoca.

It also suffered for the crisis tacked on at the end. Alina and Emilio should have just gotten married and had their happily ever after without going through a medical crisis in the last episode.

UA - Great topic.

I like characters I can root for. They don't have to be the smartest or most elegant but they must have heart. But it would also be nice to see the protagonist as smart as the antagonist sometimes -- I guess this is tough to write in daily episodes because then the antagonist’s plan would be foiled too soon, story over.

I love a hot galán that helps his woman, but I don't like a woman that waits for help. Gaviota of DA is one of my favorites because she was physically robust (I love a woman that can kick a$$ while her galán races to get there) and ambitious whether she was with the man or not.

I love acting that is so believable that when you're watching it you lose yourself in it. I wish Adela Noriega would come back. I think she's the best at this, but would love to see her in something a little grittier.

How about some intelligence & originality like Amor Bravio & Por ella soy Eva?
Less cliche mierda. You would think the directors have a bingo card, have we done this one yet? You know the list.
The rape scenes are so terrible, can't the pervert just threaten & get taken down before the event?
And the interminable crying (Victoria Ruffo). !stop it ya!
How about if they just think about their own lives & just be a little more realistic in their portrayals?

I'm a newbie to Tns so I'm not jaded as gou guys, but I want character to nlt act too stupid to live, a la Max and Val in La Patrona, whom, knowing the villana was sneaky and murderous, signed paperwork which turned out to be their death warrant.

Niecie, I love Adela Noriega! I only saw her in Maria Isabel, but she was amazing in that! She told the galn off in that and.left the galan when she found out he cheated, and only went back after he got shot and was near death for three days and her Dad begged her to go back to him.

I'd like to see a tn where the protagonista couple are together from start to finish - loving, laughing, working (in their respective careers), lounging and mainly, communicating and trusting. Throw anything at them, any kind of villain, slutty wenches or sleazy lotharios, any nefarious plots, even beanie-inducing ones, but their 'coupledom' never wavers. Yaay, good guys win from start to finish.

I really liked Amor Bravio. Smart good people who were separated by a really difficult situation, not their own immaturity. I also really liked Guapos as a more comedic version...there was some growing up to do, but mostly the main characters were separated by the crafty manipulations of others, and it wasn't the kind of lie they should be expected to immediately see through. Plus the funny parts were genuinely funny, for the most part, and the characters were likeable.

Has Adele retired? There is nothing on her resume after FELS.

On a minor note: Big city: one restaurant, one hospital, doctors that seem to have specialized in all disciplines. Also, people who should know better, telling everyone about a person's medical, legal, etc. business (AB hospital scenes--though they were funny).

I loved the hospital announcements in AB!

No world-famous psychiatrists who are excellent neuro surgeons who happen to become super opthalmologists in six months!

Interesting topic. I need a good historical novela. I love Amor Real and Alborada. I need more Fernando. I am not loving him in his present novela. I need a hero.

I love this list! I second everything here and hope Televisa is checking this out. Amor Bravio is the high standard new shows should try to match. Even when they did the typical 'rape a young virgin and she gets pregnant', they handled it with honesty. There was discussion of abortion as an option, and (I assume) realistic torn emotions from Luzma who didn't want to have the baby but didn't want it to die either. But I too would be happiest to see the whole storyline disappear. Or at least include some self-defense classes.

Cracks me up that El Senor de los Cielos, taking place in the early 90's, happily uses brick sized cell phones all the time, and yet no one in current shows ever checks email on a smartphone. Occasional texts, but rarely.

Another nod to AB- intelligent priests and cops. You'd think real Mexican priests and police would protest the way they are usually portrayed.

Maybe is Silvia Navarro isn't doing anything now, she could teach acting classes. How to appear smart even if you make decisions, how to cry like you mean it, how not to kiss the butt of the horrible mother figure that is in every show...


You have opened quite the can of worms!

I wouldn't say abortion is a taboo subject. The Daniela Castro character had an elective procedure to deal with a tubal pg in UFCS and I don't recall anyone (on Caray) expressing anything but sympathy. Maybe it's not EXACTLY the same as someone not wanting a baby; but given the tone of what we hear in the US, I was surprised not to hear a peep from anyone. She could have gone ahead with a pregnancy that was doomed and put her life at risk, and in some circles it would have been expected for all to turn out okay.

I think we should still be shocked when a character is raped. It's not that we wouldn't put it past some of these TN villains, nor that we aren't halfway used to it. But it's still criterion behavior in terms of whether the perp is still redeemable, which is still a big point of speculation in TNs.

[snip long, slightly related tangent about Luke and Laura and the rape at the disco on GH many years ago: something many of us saw at an impressionable age]

And incidentally, in all the time I've been watching GH lately - daytime, US TV, I realize, so not exactly the same as TNs, but a relevant point of comparison - there has been only ONE abortion in eleven years. And they made such a big deal about it you would have thought she was bombing Manhattan. Even the most ridiculous, inopportune pregnancies are usually hailed as blessings. I'm just saying this phenomenon is not limited to Mexico. In fact, it could be that Televisa is LESS squeamish about abortion than the US networks lately.

Back to TNs, I am NOT okay with pretending that cell phones (and even land lines) don't exist (or in FELS where there was just the one phone from which our heroines ordered ropa interior from Delusiones or whatever it was called). I'm even less okay with that if later aerial shots of the area show a full complement of telephone poles. Seriously - if you're going to remake something, keep it period-specific if you don't want to update the plot to reflect contemporary mores and technology. Sheesh.

Probably the biggest annoyance I have with TNs, time and again, is the gullible protagonisto/a. Whether in drama, comedy, or real life, it is perfectly plausible for both halves of a couple to be able to see through the nasty people around them. That doesn't mean there isn't any potential for conflict. On the contrary, now the main couple is one big target rather than two small ones, which ups the ante on what the antagonists have to do!

I am disappointed that we so seldom go down this road. There is always so little suspense as to whether the main couple will get together or not; why not just let them be together, and let them deal with adversity as a dynamic duo while the more suspenseful subplots unfold around them? Is that so much to ask? I've seen this done, to a limited degree, in a few TNs (UFCS, Pasion) with good results.

That was the ONLY complaint I had about Destilando Amor. Gaviota and Rodrigo should NEVER have been fooled by Aaron and the in-laws after the first time. Those were the most PATHETIC liars I have ever seen - in real life, TNs, or even daytime - and the gullibility reflected poorly on Gaviota and Rodrigo.

I'm capable of suspending disbelief, but TPTB should not abuse the privilege.

I loathe BOIIIIING and PTHBTHBTHBTHB sound effects.
But, strangely enough, I don't hate fart jokes. As long as they're not the ONLY jokes. (This is maybe the ONE place where Julia and I disagree.)

I must also note that I have been less annoyed by TNs ever since I dumped dramas in favor of comedies. Comedies can be annoying too, but they aren't as heavy-handed about the things that piss me off the most. Also, ironically, the lighter mood sometimes makes it easier for a story to venture into sensitive areas where dramas cannot.

More. Sorry I'm being so long-winded. Did I mention you were opening a can of worms?

Querida Enemiga was my second-favorite ever. Destilando Amor was my very favorite, probably because of Sergio Sendel and tequila. Speaking of Sendel reminds me of another thing I like in TNs - actors who bring more of themselves into a performance. I wonder if this is more because of the shortcomings of the actors, or of the directors.

But back to QE: I cannot say enough good things about this one. I never understood why it wasn't a bigger hit. It had all the things we like: Food, and... well, it had food. And a heroine who had half a brain, which is still 90% more than average for a TN heroine. And TWO galans and a more suspense than I'm used to in a TN. Plus, FAFY CUENCA!

Thank you so much for opening up this topic. I know this isn't the first time some of us have mentioned these issues. Some of my/our rantings may be reruns. But, clearly, many of the changes we'd like to see are long past due!

I just wanted to say, about abortion:

It is legal in 28 states and Federal District in Mexico only when it endangers the life of the mother and it is legal in all 31 states and DF in cases of rape. It is only legal in 14 states in cases of malformation of the fetus and in 11 states in cases of health risks for the mother. In Yucatán it is also legal in cases of extreme poverty.

However, outside of those reasons, it is illegal to have an voluntary abortion in all 31 states. Only the Federal District has legalized abortion for all cases up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

In fact, abortion is still considered a crime in 18 states and Guanajuato considers it murder and has women in jail facing sentences up to 30 years prison. Every year, a little over 220 women are reported to the police for having had an abortion, some were even reported by their own mothers. Most are not prosecuted but some do face that fate.

I don't think we are going to see people choosing to have an abortion in Televisa's novelas for any reason that is not the endangering of the life of the mother, like in Pina's case in UFCS. Even abortions due to cases of rape are still controversial and I don't think Televisa wants to rock the boat here. Other smaller Mexican networks, like Cadena 3 will probably be the ones to touch the subject but not Televisa. Not while its still illegal in all states of the country and not when a majority of the population still opposes it.

People have been changing their minds about many things faster than ever in the last couple of decades but abortion is the one subject where many appear reluctant to change their views.



I’m going to come at this question a slightly different way. Yeah, I know. I’m like that. So shoot me. :P

I’ve watched a lot fewer TNs than a lot of you, but I started watching them back in the 80s. It’s only been since I found this blog that I have really become a fan, however, and watch the whole damn shebang. Thanks to the recaps, as well as the Spanish captions and replay on OnDemand, I can now understand them a lot better and have gotten more drawn into them. However, I am not yet jaded.

What do I want from a telenovela?

I want to learn Spanish. Subtitles in Spanish and being available to replay on OnDemand are mandatory for me to commit to one. I have always said that I probably couldn’t watch any TNs if they were in English. The Spanish makes them fun.

I want to see Mexico. A TN set in the US has absolutely no appeal for me, and neither do any that are mainly set in sterile, anonymous, or modern settings. I love seeing the colonial era buildings, the street scenes, restaurants, food, music, anything that transports me back to Mexico. Que Bonito Amor has been terrific for this.

I want to spend my time with likeable and good looking characters. I stopped watching Amores Verdaderos when I realized I really didn’t like anyone except Liliana. This is subjective, but it is not something I can overlook. Good looking characters are a big plus, of course, and for me that goes for the women as well as the men.

I want to be entertained. I am willing to suspend belief and I am willing to overlook a lot of inconsistencies, but it has to hold my interest. Slapstick, adults acting like junior high schools students, and too much melodrama don’t interest me. Suspense and good acting does, but even something as pathetic as Abismo de Pasión entertained me. Go figure.

A lot of the stuff others have mentioned I just see as Mexican culture. It doesn't matter to me. However, I do have a pet peeve, and that is the amount of make up the women wear. Ick. Amor Bravio went lighter on it for a lot of the women and I liked looking at them a lot more for that reason.


I want an alpha male lead; no wimps. When my Telemundo rep told me that they were remaking El Clon I told her that I hoped they made Lucas a lot more macho; the original Lucas was such a wimp. Unfortunately, the remake was almost line for line from the Brazilian original.

Two alpha males fighting over the female is not awful, but they need to be adult about it. La Esposa Virgen did this one well even if we didn't like the outcome of the story. On the second viewing of that one I was able to live with Virginia's indecisiveness because it was due to her inexperience with men. What I am having problems with right now in QBA is Maria not putting her foot down more.

On that subject, I loved seeing her fight her attacker the other night, but that should have gone farther. She foolishly turned her back on him which was clearly a set-up for some male to enter the picture as a rescuer.

I personally would feel unworthy of life if I couldn't defend myself. Or at least scream louder than Brunhilde the Valkyrie.

The most important to me is a beautiful love story, no matter if at first I have to endure the usual cliches. I hate betrayal, when the two members of the couple throw themselves into the arms of others, out of spite, revenge and then resume, maybe with children procreated in estate of drunk o drugs effects. Love the romantic mood, love when the couple grows and matures, and do anything to defend their love against all obstacles. QBA has been the best surprise under this point of view, even with a poor plot. Great acting.

I have to say that there is WAY more that I enjoy about telenovelas than I dislike about them, otherwise I wouldn’t watch.

Of course, it’s actually this site and this community that got me hooked on them a few years ago, and keeps me coming back. But other than a few English series (GOT; Once Upon a Time; Downton; New Girl), my tv watching is now almost exclusively Spanish telenovelas and series these days. They must be doing something right. My biggest problem is deciding which Uni or Telemundo shows I WON’T watch, but so many of them have distinct god/great qualities that keep me coming back to find out what’s happened to these characters. Good job telenovela/series writers!


I would love to see a show where the characters act and react the way normal people would. That's what I loved about Amor Bravio. The 'good' characters didn't always fall for everything the 'bad' characters did or said, especially if it didn't make sense. They recognized the bad guys and reacted to their bad deeds with counter acts to thwart them. They even came up with a plan of their own. Their behaviors made total sense to me and I would have done the same as them. The characters didn't just automatically believe a compromising scene. The actually talked to the person to understand what had happened. Just like real life.
A great story can be that way. Pick up just about any book and it will have all those normal life reactions without resorting to tired cliched outcomes, and it could be a best seller. If a novel didn't do that, it wouldn't sell many books. There are thousands of routes a good story can take that can be completely fulfilling and riveting, and believable too, without using the usual pathetic TN fallback story lines.

Julie- Great point that U.S. soaps aren’t busting with people getting abortions either, and we have almost as much social disagreement over it as what Jarocha describes in Mexico.

Anon 6:32 PM- “I'd like to see a tn where the protagonista couple are together from start to finish - loving, laughing, working (in their respective careers), lounging and mainly, communicating and trusting.”

Here is an example clip of a day in the life of Camila and Daniel in Amor Bravio, BM (Before Miriam):
- Main couple communicating with and trusting each other- check
- Main couple discussing and reasoning out bad guy motivations- check
- Use of telephone, e-mail, internet and laptop in rural setting- check
- Cute pet- check
- Main couple being loving and playful, and teasing/joking with each other- check
- Afternoon delight- check
- Main couple and all the good guys caring for and supporting young rape victim- check
- Heroine confronting haughty, controlling mother and not backing down- check
- Main couple forming united front to confront and outsmart bad guy- check


I recommend to anyone who wants a non cliched TN to watch Amor Bravio if you haven't seen it yet. It's everything we wish a TN to have, except there was a rape and a few murders. But it is very well written, acted and has the love story and happy ending too.

Carolina - TOTALLY AGREE about the amount of makeup.

And it seems that the ones who wear the most makeup are also the ones who are supposed to be the most glamorous, which is odd because you'd think the more glamorous women would be getting exotic treatments for their complexions and want to show off their good skin instead of covering it up. Or at least want to LOOK as though they weren't covering it up!

Just thinking about this topic some more and I would like there to be less "surprise" pregnancies calling the shots. It seems nobody uses birth control in the novelas and pregnancies just "happen." One would think that if abortions are so unacceptable, one would do everything possible to avoid them.


What a wonderful topic and great responses! Many thanks.

I want to put in my two cents for intelligence and subtlety. That's a big order for serial, narrative-driven dramas, whether in English or in Spanish. But I believe its what separates the good ones from the ones that wear us down.

Amor Bravio was complicated, intelligent, unpredictable on a day-to-day basis. I could name many others that share that trait, e.g., La Reina del Sur, La Otra, Ramona, PVAA. Smart protagonists, good actors, more adult and mature situations and resolutions, etc. Everyone has said it well.

When I give up for a while on the Telemundo and Televisa, I search out something else. I watched Pura Sangre from Colombia a while ago, the original of Manana es para siempre. Same basic story, but told in Colombian version with much more subtlety, mystery and intelligence. I did love FC and SN in the Televisa version, but the point is that the Televisa and most of the Telemundo novelas telegraph every punch and fall into every tried and true plot and character mechanism.

If I go off to try something new I really miss the Caray, Caray recappers and commentators.

I ran into someone this week who works as an independent novela editor. She works mostly with Telemundo because she believes that their quest for a younger demographic is bringing important social themes into novela.

UA, thanks for giving us this entertaining topic. Lots of thoughtful responses.

As I've watched TNs over the past few years (mostly since La Fea and Destilando Amor), I decided that stock characters and situations come with the territory. The outstanding TNs find a way to bring something fresh to the traditions. The bad ones are absurd and ridiculous in doing "business as usual."

I love to see well-designed plots, good acting, and coherent production details. I get tired of repetitious stuff, especially when the plot mires down in endless loops. I do get tired of hearing "Ave Maria" at every church ceremony.

I don't mind seeing the same actors in multiple TNs, especially if their roles vary and they work their skills. I enjoy different locations, especially the rural scenery. I enjoy historical TNs and wish we saw more of them.

I really liked Por Ella Soy Eva and wish they would replay Pasion.

UA: "my Telemundo rep"?

I'm out of work at the moment but I'm an advertising professional. I found out almost a year in advance about the remake of El Clon and their version of Dona Barbara. They originally were going to cast Gabriela Spanic in the latter but I'm glad they got Edith Gonzales instead. She is a far superior actress.

Two TNs that were quite different from the usual fare as well as very entertaining and very satisfying were India (produced in Brazil filmed in Brazil, India, and Dubai and dubbed into Spanish here), and La Pola (produced and filmed in Colombia). Both were breathtakingly beautiful as well.

I'm sure that both were very costly to produce but both managed to be incredibly original in many respects and yet incorporated a lot of the endearing TN cliches as well.

I wonder if the folks at Televisa took note of some of the fresh ideas displayed by these and that perhaps we can look forward to seeing a few innovations in some of their future productions.


It sounds to me like I would enjoy the novelas from Colombia or ones like you mention, Carlos. However, right now, my language skills are such that I depend on the subtitles. Once I improve a little more, I'd like to move on to ones that are more to my taste. There is also some tempting offerings here, on this site from Spain, but no subtitles:


" language skills are such that I depend on the subtitles."

Well, no problem there. In both shows the CCs were almost always impeccable and both were presented with the option of English CCs as well. The major problem was availability. They were both aired here on Telefutura (a wing of Univision) which, as you know, is not as widely available as Univision itself.

Both were so good and so popular that it would not surprise me at all to see either rebroadcast before long. Interestingly, the dubbing into Spanish with India was so well done and so well enunciated that even with my hearing deficit I could have probably done quite well without the CCs.


Carlos touched on something where I think Televisa and Telemundo fall down on. Mexico is a beautiful country with a highly varied landscape and a fascinating history. Novelas tend to almost always film in the same location. Those that step outside of the DF often have such beauty or interest we can't stop talking about them. I still remember those lovely HetHet scenes in Refugio and LQNPA was interesting as well. Years ago I remember one with an archeologist galan and it seems to me they filmed a lot of it around Uxmal. Wracking my brain to remember the name of it. Colombia and Venezuelan novelas always seem to take advantage of the countries have to offer.

In any event I'm guess that cost is one reason for not taking advantage of Mexico's beauty and sadly security probably comes into these days as we.

I'm also guessing that is why we don't see many historicals. Those also require a lot of research to get the story and costuming right. Done correctly they are fabulous, done poorly they are laughably awful even with a first rate cast.

I have been watching another Colombian novela on UniMas for the last couple of weeks. It's Sin tetas no hay paraiso. It's very short, gritty, quite addictive, different in all the ways we are talking about. It does have Spanish subtitles which I really need for this one -- tons of street language that I have to see to understand.

By the way, it was redone by Telemundo and called Sin senas no hay paraiso. It's been described as an anti-narconovela, about a group of young women who figure out how to make money partying with the narcos that occupy their town -- until the drug trade is chased away from the community and relocates elsewhere. Then they are addicted to the good life and have no way to finance it beyond working as prostitutes. I don't know anything about the quality of the Telemundo version, but I understand that it was stretched out to last longer.

I mention the Colombian version because with so many more stations broadcasting novelas now, some gems pop up now and then and most have subtitles. With a little luck, we'll get some others from South America to expand our horizons a bit.



wow, talk about casualidades, you mentioned a predilection for Verdi operas in answering my question early on in this conversation. Well, Shazam!, I just switched on the TV to our local PBS station and what is showing at this minute? Great Performances at the Met (which fortunately my TIVO is set to record automatically) with a performance of Rigoletto which is peculiarly set in Las Vegas. Rigoletto was my very first opera. My suite mate at Baylor convinced me to go with him to see a production of this put on by the music department. I was so entranced by it I went back every night for each performance. It is still one of my all time favorites.

So I'm going to sit back and enjoy Rigoletto... set in Las Vegas for God's sake.


Unfortunately, Unimas (new name for Telefutura)isn't available where I live. I think in general these days, captions are available, but from what I've seen, not so much online. I really don't know how these things work, so I really appreciate all the info. Can anyone tell me, is there a way to view some of these intriguing novelas online with Spanish subtitles?

(BTW, I only use Spanish subtitles; I don't think the English ones help me learn Spanish very much. I also have some hearing loss, so that is another reason I rely on them.)

Loved India. Carlos, I think you and I were the only ones who watched that one. I wish they would show more Brazilian tns, or at least remake more of them like they did with El Clon. It would be very expensive to film though. The period tns are also very expensive.

I do think that Televisa does a good job of going all over the country in Mexico to film. Of the last many tns in the past year, I can only think of one that has been set in DF- Amores Verdaderos. And even part of that was set in a lush and beautiful part of the country on the family's hacienda. Each tn I watch makes me want to visit a new place in Mexico.

Vivi, wouldn't it have been a treat if we had enough recappers watching to do India here?


Carlos, I hope you enjoyed that production of Rigoletto. I saw it when it aired live around the world and thought it was brilliant. It's in my series for next season but it will have a different cast and I am a little concerned. Dmitri Hovrostovski is too handsome for the title role and I don't know if Matthew Polenzani is up to being the Duke. The DVD should be fabulous.

I don't know if anyone will see this but one of the concerns I have for the future of all original television programs is budget cuts at networks and production houses. When Televisa has to continue to produce the same number of total new hours each year on less money we will see fewer series, fewer original ones vs remakes, fewer novelas de epoca, and more comedies (because they are more studio-bound). Not to mention more product placement, which nobody I know likes in any language.

I'd love for Televisa to read this discussion.

I'd like the campy stuff, it is what makes the TN's entertaining. I love the justice that happens, evil people get punished.

I love that unlike US soaps, the story ends at some point.
I wish that they would have a longer time toward the end to have satisfying things happen instead of waiting until the last 15 minutes of the last episode.

And, I do wish they'd stop characters from always keeping (innapropriately) secrets.

One thing I realized during the (in the US) two-hour finale of FELS is that the entire last hour was devoted to the FPS (Felices Para Siempre). The triple royal wedding was the bigger part of that finale, which accounted for this. Had that been shown as two separate hours here it would almost have felt anti-climactic because both of the main villains were dead by the end of the first hour (Gabriela may have already been dead in the previous episode).

I don't have a problem with there not being a lot of time after the Karmageddons of the primary villains; we know they are the main source of everyone's grief and anything else can be worked out with maturity and understanding.

UA, I thoroughly enjoyed the opera. After an initial shock of the unusual setting and costumes, I settled in and delighted in the whole experience. I thought the performances were fantastic and with TIVO I was able to rewind and treat myself to several encores... you could probably guess which.

I mentioned that Don Giovanni is my favorite and this reminded me of a daring production of that back in the early 90s set in modern day NYC that was directed by Peter Sellars. I linked to a clip from that if you're interested.


UA and Carlos

How very cook to find other opera lovers in this group. I missed the Vegas set Rigoletto and am kicking myself. Sounds like it was interesting. I once saw a production of Carmen that had been tranfered to the time of the Spanish Civil War. Didn't detract from the story at all and certainly not from all that glorious music. Now i'm going to spend the day trying to think of time/local changes to some of my other favs. LOL

Decie Girl and other opera lovers:
The Vegas-garbed Rigoletto is now available on Met Opera on Demand' along with others that went out in HD this past season and the new Ring Cycle. If your computer has the system requirements or you have an iPad, you can see these incredible productions and many more.

The 2013-14 Live in HD schedule is also announced. Check your local movie theatre listings to find out where you can see these performances.

If you are in NYC at the end of August there is a free showing of 10 of these (usually from the past two seasons) on Lincoln Center Plaza. All you have to do is get there early enough to grab a seat.

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