Thursday, December 18, 2014

Weekend Discussion: Photo Gallery; Family Album, Volume 1


Don't you just love it when casting directors get it right?  I love how novela producers often match up actors who look like they could share DNA as family members.  This can't pretend to be a whole archive, but merely a first installment.

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Friday, June 06, 2014

Weekend Discussion: Crimes of Fashion

One of the things inciting constant comment here is the fashion felonies committed by many female characters in novelas (or by the fashion consultants for the shows).  It seems that femme fatale rivals and villanas are the biggest offenders, although heroines can be guilty, too.  For our purposes today we will cover the villanas, particularly since we have such a stunning example in our current prime time.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekend Discussion: Controversial Subjects


Tuesday's capitulo of Lo Que La Vida Me Robó provoked over 100 comments regarding the marital rape scene that echoed Gone With the Wind in many respects [GWTW's scene is still being debated today]. This may not have been the ideal way for the writers to handle the wedding night of our flawed but otherwise sympathetic protagonists, but a lot of bytes are being seriously inconvenienced in internet postings from viewers debating all the same hypotheses and issues we raised on Wednesday morning.

Which – por supuesto – is always good for ratings.

Several other series have provoked discussion in the last few years over other highly controversial actions and interactions:
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Friday, November 01, 2013

Weekend Discussion: Remakes (Again? Por Supuesto....)

While I am looking forward to Lo Que La Vida Me Robó I have to wonder just how long it should take to do a remake of anything, especially by the same network.  I never saw the 1983 original (Bodas de Odio), so I don't have a basis for comparison to Amor Real.  Updating the story to the present should change a few plot points and character traits, especially for the female protagonist.

There are many novelas remade multiple times by Televisa and for different reasons.  I end up wondering why they try remaking something that's already perfect and whether anyone will ever stop to think that Enough is Enough and let's do something new for a change.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekend Discussion: Primer Actor; Our Senior Caballeros

A comment made the other day prompted me to wonder at the past roles of some of the splendid senior actors Televisa has given us over the years.   This photo gallery is only a tease; it would involve more time than any of us have to do proper justice to this topic.  However, it will be fun to see how some of these more senior actors looked in their younger days.  We'll start with the youngest one first and age them in reverse.

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Saturday, February 09, 2013

Weekend Discussion: Novela Writing; Should writers always listen to what viewers are saying?

This question isn't about outdated cliche storylines, but about viewer reaction to what happens on the screen while the series is still in production.  It's also about viewer ratings and how that affects what they do.  A few examples of past decisions:

Pasion de Gavilanes (Telemundo, 2003-2004):  This was the most successful series Telemundo ever had in the 7PM EST timeslot.  Good story, writing was decent, cast was attractive.  At some point after the first third had aired, Telemundo made the episodes shorter so they ended five minutes early and the next program (Prisionera) began at 7:55 instead of 8PM.  The last chapter of the story was extended to twice the length it should have been because the network wanted to keep the ratings up in the time slot.  This series was rerun twice in the US, edited to its appropriate length in terms of the correct pace of the story.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Weekend Discussion: Bodas Interumpti... y otras disastres, Part 1


Part I

Sometimes I think there is a deal between the bridal industry and the networks that produce telenovelas. This thought first occurred to me in 2000 when Aracely Arámbula had no fewer than four bridal gowns in Abrazame Muy Fuerte: one in the bridal shop that she rejected, one for the interrupted wedding to José Maria, the third for the completed wedding to José Maria, and the fourth for the finale wedding to Carlos Manuel. Little did I realize at the time that this was close to the norm.

Here we will look at weddings that didn't or almost didn't happen and two which did but which will always be associated with tragedy.
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Friday, November 09, 2012

Weekend Discussion: Villains; They Who Make Our Flesh Crawl


Dirty Dozen # 5 The Sleazebags

These are the evil men who are not accepted in polite society.  They mostly lack the social skills and the minimally acceptable-to-excellent appearance of their higher-born and higher-educated brethren in evil.  They normally cannot enter parlours or drawing rooms.  They usually dress badly, are often less than hygienic, and usually have no family ties or any other kind other than to their paymasters who are usually the mastermind villains.  They happily do all the low-level tasks the others are unwilling to do as long as they are paid for it.  They sometimes initiate evil acts of their own, but frequently they aren't clever enough to always assess risk vs. reward.  They are usually expendable once their dirty work is done, but sometimes clever enough to outwit their masters.

Who is the most evil of them all?
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Friday, September 07, 2012

Weekend Discussion: Mandatory Forgiveness and Its Evangelists


Disclaimer: I am not a practitioner of any organized religion, nor was I raised in one. I know that the ability to grant forgiveness is a primary goal in most organized religions, but if “To err is human, to forgive divine” I will leave forgiveness to the angels.

We are always being told that forgiveness is for the forgiver rather than the person who offended him or her; forgiving is letting go to avoid living with rancor and hate. I can buy that notion if the offending act was committed in ignorance of the resultant suffering, whether the offender simply did not know the person would be offended or if s/he lacks the mental capacity for understanding such things. I can accept the idea of forgiveness if the offender apologises sincerely and makes amends (even if that can only mean getting out of the injured party's life). I cannot extend the same absolution to persons who knowingly commit malicious acts regardless of their motives for doing so.
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekend Discussion: Telenovela Villains; Peerless Evil, Part 2


Dirty Dozen #4: Sexual Predators

This particular class of male vermin primarily preys – or attempts to prey – upon innocent and/or wealthy females. His modus operandi can be seduction but often is rape or kidnapping. Usually perverse, and always achieving his most intense orgasmic experiences by inflicting pain, his usual motive is greed. Usually a smooth talker, often capable of moving in the upper echelons of society, he can get away with quite a lot before anyone finds out what he is really about. He may or may not be married, but he is always on the prowl because his appetite for others' pain is bottomless.

Who is the most evil of them all?
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekend Discussion: Fabulous Novela Weddings, continued


The Wedding Album, Volume II

Oh, how I sometimes wish we could go back to some true golden oldies, but it seems that in recent television seasons each wedding planner at Televisa or Telemundo (i.e., wardrobe consultant and production designer) tries to outdo the last production. I'd love to know whether novela weddings set the style for the brides of the following year. We start with three family affair weddings:
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Weekend Discussion: A Study of Novela Villains, Part One


Villains.  Where would melodramatic telenovelas be without them? As in grand opera, they are colorful and over-the-top evil, with grand gestures and outrageous fashions on the women and basso-profundo voices on the men. They come in distinct (stereo)types and for our purposes we will discuss them by classification. Therefore we will examine a series of Dirty Dozens to determine who is the most evil within each. Controlling parent villains will also include their usual surrogates (steps, uncles, aunts, grands), peers will include same-sex siblings, and there is a third category yet to be named. This week's Dirty Dozen – in this author's mind – is perhaps the most lethal of them all:


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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekend Discussion: The Healers

Despite all the medical misinformation we get in novelas, we do get some good doctors who fight for their patients' well-being.  Herewith are examples:

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Triunfo del Amor #172 8/1/11 El Gran Final -- The Sandoval Saga: The Final Chapter

Reprise:
Special Sauce
Bernarda sits alone at the carefully laid table, sips her wine and begins to eat her freshly dressed salad.

An acid remark
Bernie must be eating her salad right now, says Eva. Why should I care, sniffs Rox. Eva smiles wickedly: Because it has a special dressing – acid!

Bernie swallows a forkful and then clutches at her throat. Something is burning her from inside... destroying her inside... She falls to the floor, writhes in agony, and clutches blindly for the phone which falls out of reach.


Luncheon on the Grass
Cruz and Fer bring little Vicki to the picnic at Casa Sandoval. The kid is a champ – she allows herself to be passed from one adult to another without making a peep. Grandma Victoria makes a big fuss over her. Uncle Max introduces her to her cousins, little Osvaldo and little JP.

Three rats, one rathole
Xi whines about their living conditions. Only one bathroom for all these bedrooms, she says. And roaches everywhere! Eva tells kvetchy Xi that if she doesn’t like the place, she can leave. Es un asco (It’s disgusting) Xi says snottily and stalks out, pulling her suitcase behind her.

The Sandoval picnic is a love-fest with smiles and hugs all around. Now María arrives and fusses over little Vicki; next Pipino takes a turn. Then Osvaldo and Oscar arrive from the tennis courts and Fer proudly introduces her father to his new granddaughter: Victoria Robles Sandoval.

Os takes them by surprise with the news that he’s going to Spain – it’s a professional opportunity of a lifetime. Vic wishes him well and the two hug affectionately.

Looking for another rathole
Gui is rehearsing when the doorbell sounds. When he sees it’s Xi – and with a suitcase, no less – he tries to get rid of her. He still has the cellphone video showing her killing Linda, he says. Well then we’re even, says Xi complacently, one murderer to another: Imagine what would happen if Ofelia’s remains appeared. Besides, Xi can help him rehearse. Gui scoffs at the idea but Xi insists she knows Desdemona’s lines and can do a better reading than Leonela.

Osvaldo says goodbye to the family and promises he’ll see them before he leaves for Spain. He takes Vic’s hands and kisses them. Cuídate mucho, he tells her. He’s trying hard not to cry.

As he walks to his car, he crosses paths with the lumbering Dr. Todo.

Ceci n’est pas une pipe / This is not a pipe.
I’m not your enemy, Todo tells him, fingers crossed out of sight. We’re both in love with the same woman. It’s my good fortune that she chose me. Tough break, Os. But it’s not like I’m trying to steal your family away or take your place. (Yeah right.)

Os understands. He asks only one thing: that Todo make Vic happy. She deserves it. He looks back wistfully at his beautiful family on the lawn.

Adiós, esposo mío.
Ximena recites Desdemona’s lines. She holds a glass of wine aloft.
Gui is surprised she knows the part so well. Just one of many things he doesn’t know about her, Xi reminds him, allowing him a generous sip of her wine. Anyway, she came to wish him luck in his opening and the best good luck charm (amuleto) is making love. They decide to test the theory.

Back to the picnic. Now PJP arrives and meets little Vicki.

Todo has something to say to everyone. He doesn’t know what they think of him -- Some may be criticizing or judging or even condemning him. But he loves Vic and she loves him. He just wants to make her happy.

He repeats the same twaddle he fed to Os: he has no intention of usurping Osvaldo’s family. He’s just asking for a chance. They know him as a doctor; now he’d like them to get to know him as a man.

Max speaks for the family. Os is their father and they love him but that doesn’t mean they won’t respect Victoria’s decision: Welcome to the family!

While Max and Todo exchange a heartfelt man-hug, Max’s two mommies watch proudly: What a great son we have!

Honeymoon on Tar Beach
Napo and Mili continue their one-day honeymooning on the roof of the vecindad. They relax on their chaise lounges sipping cool drinks. The neighbors dance attendance on them in their pretend resort.

Eva??? Padre Juan Pablo calls her name when no one meets him at the door of his mother’s house. Where is she? She never goes out on Sunday. Mamá? He walks toward the dining room, sees her dinner still on the table and then catches sight of Bernie on the floor. She’s alive (damn!)but unconscious. He pulls out his cellphone.

At Casa Sandoval, Todo’s phone rings. Call an ambulance, he says to his caller, and he’ll head to the hospital. Todo turns to Vic before rushing off: That was Juan Pablo. There’s a emergency with his mother.

María feels a little twinge of conscience – Bernie is her grandmother, after all. Maybe she should be with her now. Do what you think is right, says Max. But some people don’t deserve to be forgiven. María stays put.

It’s like old times with Gui and Xi rutting like pigs -- although this time he lets her into the actual bed -- until Gui passes out. Ximena laughs wickedly.

The idyllic afternoon at Casa Sandoval continues. Victoria, Toni, Oscar and Pip have an announcement. María, Fer and Max have inherited – and learned – (here Toni nods in Max’s direction) Vic’s design talent, right? The grown-ups have decided the three will have their own line of clothing: Fer and María will design for young women and Max for young guys. Everyone agrees it’s a great idea but María wonders where will they find the start-up money.

Now Max has something to tell them: Osvaldo put the title of the theater in his name. (He wanted to make up for all the tsuris he caused when he sold his shares in the original Casa Victoria to buy the theater in the first place.) Very soon they will have legal possession and can sell it, using the proceeds for projects like this one.

Pip leads everyone in a chorus of “Florecita de mis suenos...”

Back at Gui’s place, Xi takes advantage of Gui’s stupor and rifles wildly through his things looking for the incriminating Linda video.

Maybe she bit her tongue
At the hospital, Dr. Todo tells JP that his mother is out of danger. She ingested poison and they had to pump her stomach. The authorities need to be notified since Todo doesn’t know if the poisoning was accidental or if someone tried to kill her.

Xi is still rifling. She finds a wad of bills and grabs it. Then she spots a CD -- It’s the kidnap video, the director’s cut!
Así que Bernarda y Guillermo se involucraron en el secuestro de MD y Victoria. Ahora los tengo en mis manos.
(So B and G were involved in MD and Vic’s kidnapping. Now I have them in my hands.)

In the vecindad, Cruz is pulling an all-nighter, cramming for an exam. His dad is proud of him – he’s the first Robles to go to the university and he’ll be the first with a professional degree (título).

And in the little furnished room Eva complains that Xi is an ingrate.

A moment later, there’s a knock at the door. Xi and her suitcase have come back. Xi fake-apologizes to Eva. She promises not to cause any more problems.

Eva’s not especially happy to have her back but agrees to let her stay because she’ll need her to carry out her revenge. They’ll talk about it in the morning.

The morning After
Gui emerges from his stupor, looks around at his place now in a shambles:
¿Qué pasó? ¡Ximena! ¡Me drogó!
(What happened? Ximena! She drugged me!)

He figures Xi was looking for the Linda video. Then he realizes his secuestro CD is missing: She wants to play? Well game on!

Eva steps out to brush her teeth. As soon as she leaves the room, Xi pulls the purloined CD out of her purse and shows it to Rox: It’s our life insurance, she tells her. It’s worth gold! Hide it someplace where no one will find it.

While Eva’s brushing her teeth, Xi is snooping in her purse and finds a set of car keys. Huh? She doesn’t even have a car. Are they Bernie's?

At the sound of Eva’s knocking, Xi hastily puts her things back in the purse and moves back to her own side of the room. Why didn’t they open the door right away? asks Eva, her teeth now minty clean, and she squints at Rox and Xi suspiciously.

Now back at the parish, Padre Juan Pablo laments to Padre Jerónimo: Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life... (Why? Did you get stuck with writing up the two hour gran fin for the parish newsletter? No? Well then don’t complain to me, buster.)

He found his mother on the brink of death. She was poisoned, possibly intentionally and the authorities are investigating. And their prime suspect, of all people, is Eva. She’s the person who had been looking after Bernie and now she’s gone.

Jero is puzzled. What motive could Eva have to harm Bernie? PJP wondered that too so he stopped at the reclusorio and asked Fausto. Remember the married man who seduced and abandoned his mother? The family that Bernie burned alive? Well the man’s wife was Eva’s own sister!

Eva says toodles to XiRox.
She’s off on a fact-finding mission. She needs to be sure that Bernie is really dead. And if not, well, she’ll keep after her until she is.

Xi figures the cops will be after Eva – she’s the only suspect in Bernarda’s poisoning -- so it would be better not to be connected to her. Cuídate, she tells her mother and then she heads out again, leaving Rox alone.

Rox pulls the CD out of her purse and waves it gleefully: This must be worth a lot of money!

Gosh, who could the client be?
At the new Casa Victoria, Pip, Vic, and Toni admire a wedding dress that María has been modeling for them. Oddly enough, the client has the exact same measurements as MD.

Bernie: The Energizer Bunny of Bad
Juan Pablo escorts his mother into her house. She needs to rest. He’ll find someone to take care of her. Not necessary, says Bernie. (Damn. She can still talk. She swallowed acid and the evil tongue is still working. She must have a satanic acid-resistant lining in her gut.) Cuídate, says PJP unnecessarily and he leaves.

Eva releases Fausto from his oath
Eva stops off at the reclusorio to say goodbye to Fausto. She is going to carry out her vengeance and then go far away. But she no longer blames her nephew for refusing to go along with her plan and before she leaves, she’s going to make sure that he is set free. They hug one last time. Eva picks up an envelope from the table and leaves.

On her way out of the prison, Eva stops an official in a business suit and gives him the envelope, asking him to pass it along to his comandante. Con todo gusto, Señora, he replies.

Bernarda plans to call on Fausto too. He’ll give her Eva’s address, whether he wants to or not.

I never realized how talented you were, Max tells Fer as the two review some of her designs. And his design? It’s a surprise.

Now María joins them and gushes about the gorgeous dress she is modeling for the client whose measurements she shares. Max wants her to keep the dress but María explains that it has already been sold.

Xi must have given the CD to the cops, thinks Gui as he gets in his red convertible. The fool! She didn’t realize I’d do the same with hers.

If at first you don’t succeed...
Eva is back at Bernie’s and ready for another try. She opens the hood of Bernie’s car and squirts liquid all over the motor housing. Then she hides and waits.

Right on cue, Bernie emerges from her house. Damn useless servants, she grumbles as she gets in the car, and turns the key. She looks on in horror as the engine bursts into flames! She struggles to get out but the door won’t open. God help me, she screams. Hell itself is coming after me! Noooooooo...

From a comfortable distance, Eva observes the growing flames with unabashed, open-mouthed delight and then slips away.

It’s washday at the vecindad. The Jarochas scandalize Mili with their scanties. Nati, by this time ready to pop, cracks up at their antics and then thinks she has peed her pants. Mili does a quick sniff test and corrects her:
Se te rompió la fuente.
(Your water broke.)
An excited gaggle of neighbors surrounds Nati and leads her away.

In this theater, not all the action takes place on stage
Gui is in his dressing room nearly swooning with anticipatory pleasure. Surely Max has seen the Linda video by now and Xi is probably already behind bars. What a fool to think she could outwit him!

An assistant stops in to remind him they need him in costume – including the steel mesh that goes under the robe. He reports that Leo has arrived and is in her dressing room.

Leo studies her reflection in the mirror over her dressing table and likes what she sees. She’s so nervous, so happy, so grateful to life for the chance to be on stage again as Desdemona... so ... then she is puzzled to see Ximena’s reflection in the mirror. And Leonela’s moment of giddy happiness ends abruptly as Xi conks her on the head and leaves her unconscious.

Gui is now in full costume.

Ximena has put on Desdemona’s long white gown. She holds a dagger and looks nutso ecstatic.

Gui is on the stage emoting like a bastard when he suddenly realizes that the Desdemona he’s trying to strangle is not Leo but Xi. Too late. Xi pulls out the dagger and stabs him. He falls forward on the bed and Ximena runs away. The audience is in an uproar. What happened? Close the curtain! Get her!

At Casa Sandoval Max is puzzled when he finds Gui’s envelope on his desk. But before he can open it, Victoria comes in and tells him they have a surprise visitor: Roxana is there and she wants to talk to the two of them and María. And she seems very nervous.

Back at the prison, the official leaves Eva’s envelope with his chief. Just before he leaves for the day, he turns back and picks up the envelope and opens it: An anonymous letter...

Rox wants to do a little business
She plays the secuestro video for Max, Vic and Maria. She’s not asking a lot of money for it, she tells them amiably, just a few thousand and she’ll go far away.

Rox agrees to wait in the study while Max confers with Vic and María.

The Remains of the Day
Ximena's persistence has finally been rewarded -- the kid has found human bones. Xi, still wearing the long white gown of Desdemona and still clutching a dagger, crows: I knew it! She tells him to dig them up and then bury them in a different spot, making sure to mark the place well. Get it?

(So the kid was hired by Gui, co-opted by Xi, bought back by Gui. This is kind of murky. Who is he really working for at this point? He seems to be a “Love the one you’re with” kind of guy.)

Now help me hide, says XiDemona. Where? Here, she answers. You’re going to bury me! Find a hollow reed and then bury me here and dig me up tomorrow.

The kid hesitates. He is clearly weirded out. Are you sure? he asks. She is. And too bad for you if you don’t dig me up, because you won’t get paid. Now scram!

Back at the Casa Sandoval, Max shows María and Vic the second feature of the evening: the Linda video. Rox may not have been involved in their kidnapping, but she knew very well who killed Linda. So in that case, she is complicit. Max will call the cops while Vic and María go back and stay with Rox so she won’t get suspicious.

(Yes, gentle reader. It is not your imagination. The Sandovals discover a crime and They Are Calling The Police.)

At the theater, the assistant tells Gui that Leonela is still out cold from the blow that Ximena gave her. Well I’d be dead if it weren’t for the steel mesh, he says.

The bone-digging kid may be desperate but he’s not dumb. He decides to cut his losses and run. He doesn’t want any hassles with the cops.

A police car pulls up in front of Casa Sandoval.

Roxana protests her innocence as the police lead her away. They tell her:
La extorsión y la complicidad son delitos muy graves.
(Extorsion and acting as an accomplice are very serious crimes.)

The Afterbirth
In a rare concession to the exhausted sensibilities of the viewer, the writers spare us scenes of Nati’s labor and delivery. We see Mili seated in the waiting area of the Cruz Roja. The vecindad gang crowds around her and jabbers excitedly. Everyone is thrilled about the adorable baby. Napo talked to Juanjo by phone and he’ll be back as soon as he’s done with his course.

At Casa Sandoval, María digests the hard truth: It was Ximena who killed Linda.

At the Garden of Gui and Evil, Ximena the undead speaks to us now from underground, the spot marked by the hollow reed, her air conduit: This is my best hiding place (escondite) and I’m not leaving until those fools stop looking for me!

Morning comes...
Did the earth move for you?
I guess Xi gets tired of waiting for the kid to dig her up because now the ground trembles and the point of a dagger sticks up out of the dirt. Then XiDemona herself follows, emerging from the ground choking and covered with schmutz.

Fausto Finally Gets Justice
His lawyer explains that fingerprints found on the murder weapon exonerate him of any guilt in the actual murder of Tomasa even though he was an accomplice after the fact. (No one ever spells it out, but I suppose we can infer that Eva’s anonymous letter led the cops to the murder weapon.)

Because of time already served plus his good behavior, he is getting out of jail. He’s going to finish his sentence by performing community service.

Fausto doffs his cap humbly, and then hugs his lawyer. Gracias, he says.

Diás Despues

Her first wedding present
It’s beautiful, says María looking at the completed wedding gown. And it looks perfect on you, says Fer. You’d think it was made for you, says Toni. María smiles a little regretfully: But it wasn’t.

Here comes Victoria smiling broadly: But it was! The dress is yours – your first wedding gift!

Hugs and laughs. Pipino joins the fun and is present to hear Victoria say that with some of the money from the sale of the theater, they’re buying back the original Casa Victoria and then they’ll have two places to work.

The Royal Wedding, Univisión Style
♪♪A partir de hoy♪♪
The guests arrive in cars and trucks and even a wedding trolley. Nati carries her new baby. Does Fer have a little baby bump?

Max drives up in a black convertible bedecked with flowers. He greets his moms, Victoria and Leo, and Dr. I’m Not Trying to Take the Place of your Father with warm hugs.

Max steps apart from the group to answer his cellphone. It’s Osvaldo calling from his exile in Spain. He wishes his son and his bride great happiness and he offers some fatherly advice: Never take anything for granted. Os sends his love and blessings.

Now María arrives in a Shetland pony-drawn carriage. She may not be as pretty as Max (well who is?), but she is a lovely bride nevertheless.

Inside the church, Padre Juan Pablo, in gold vestments, with Fausto assisting in black, gives the word to begin. A chamber group sings Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as the family members enter the church and make their way to their places .

Max waits at the altar as María walks down the aisle wearing the regal Casa Victoria creation, the long train trailing behind.

Juan Pablo reads the vows. Papa Cruz sings a not too shabby version of Ave María while the couple and their respective padrinos de anillos, arras, lazo and rosario complete the wedding ritual. Then Padre declares:
Lo que Dios acaba de unir en el cielo, que no le separe el hombre en la tierra. Amen.
(What God has just joined in heaven, let no man put asunder/ let man not separate on earth. Amen.)

Who Let in the Bride of Chucky?
XiDemona, covered in the dust of her recent entombment, looks like she’s ready to do some serious sundering. Dagger raised menacingly, she cries:
¡Zorra! ¡Te vas a morir!(Whore! You’re gonna die!)

She rushes down the aisle heading straight for María. Fortunately, Max is able to fend her off. The cops run into the church right behind her. They point their guns at her and bark: You’re under arrest for the murder of Linda Sortini! Somehow Xi manages to slip away and the cops run after her and out of the church.

The wedding guests take it all in. They are momentarily stunned but recover quickly. Just business as usual at a Sandoval affair. (Kevlar vests optional.)

PJP tells the congregation they’ve all just witnessed proof that evil never triumphs. The force of love is indestructible. True love conquers all obstacles. All roads lead us to the same place – to the triumph of love. Never forget it.

A round of applause for the couple! Now the groom may kiss the bride!
♪♪A partir de hoy♪♪ Still smooching... still smooching. Smiles, more applause. Still smooching... smooching. ¡Ya basta! Jeez Louise.

She is living in a material world and she is a material girl
Cut to a breathtaking panorama of Acapulco. The bay. The cliffs. A table set out with piles of shrimp and lobster. A slender hand reaches for a glass of champagne. The hand is Bernarda’s, and she sits, elegant in white, her face shaded by the brim of her fashionable sunhat.

Bernie remembers:

She survived what seemed like certain fiery death when the car exploded in flames by kicking out a window and making her way free.

Eva, holding a lit candle, threatened she’d burn her alive to avenge her sister Rosalía’s fiery death but Bernarda overpowered the small, elderly woman, choking her until she, and her candle, fell helpless to the floor

Back in the present, Bernie lifts her glass and looks heavenward. Good times!

She smirks in the sun and once again intones: Por ti y para ti, mi Señor. Gracias.

She looks up and sees a group of men in suits and knows it’s time for Plan B. Marcus, she calls to a manservant: Have my luggage packed and a car ready; and contact the airport – tell them to have the private plane I rented ready to go. ¡Rápido!

Ciudad de México

Two for the Road
Gui is packing his suitcase when he hears a noise. He quickly pulls out his gun. Guillermo! says a familiar voice. Then Ximena, still in Bride of Chucky mode, runs in. Gui shoves her down angrily. It’s her fault the cops are after him. She’s crazy! She’s a traitor! She’s disgusting! And oh my lord, she stinks! In short, she has all it takes to be Gui’s ideal woman.

Xi pushes on: He can’t leave without her -- he’ll never find another Xi. She seals the deal with a kiss.

Let’s go, says Gui. They’ll leave everything behind. He knows someone who can forge passports and documents for them.

They hop into his red convertible. Xi smiles wolfishly.

Bernarda’s last stand
Bernarda descends in the glass elevator of her luxury hotel and then trots through the lobby as the men in suits watch from a balcony. The suspect is trying to escape, say the suits. Block the exits! But it’s too late. Bernie is already getting into her car: To the airport and make it snappy! The car pulls out.

The Mexico City cops aren’t having much luck either. They figure Xi has gone to Gui’s but by the time they get to his place, he’s already gone. Why did he leave all his luggage behind? They find muddy footprints and conclude: He must have left with Ximena! Let’s go!

The Acapulco cops give chase but find their way blocked by a camioneta. It’s just enough of a delay to allow Bernarda to get to the airport first. She boards the waiting Satanair private jet. She grouses at the flight attendant for the seeming delay and demands immediate take-off. One hand holds a crucifix and the other hoists a wine glass. She toasts to her God and to herself – to her intelligence, her shrewdness. Thank you, Lord!

Cue the chant.

Hellfire One
Bernarda’s plane takes off and soars through the sky. Then it seems to be losing altitude ... oh no... we watch as the plane explodes and is completely consumed by a ball of fire.

Bernarda de Iturbide is surely in hell now. (I can’t speak to the final destination of the flight attendant, copilot and pilot who were on board with her. In my opinion, anvils should be more precisely aimed than this one.)

The police interrupt Padre Juan Pablo in his prayers with shocking news: La señora Bernarda de Iturbide murió en un accidente. (She died in an accident.)

Juan Pablo is left alone, kneeling before the Virgin de Guadaloupe. He remembers how his mother used to say that there was no mortal power that could defeat her. It was God’s hand that finally stopped her from doing more harm.

Good news travels fast
Victoria’s not happy Bernarda is dead but she’s not sad either, she tells Heri. She was guilty of many offenses and she deserved to pay for them.

The last surviving scoundrels speed along the highway in Gui’s red roadster. I don’t know how, but you always get your way, says Gui to his soulless mate. I like dangerous games, agrees Xi:
El peligro y el dolor me provocan un gran placer.
(Danger and pain give me great pleasure.)
Gui and Xi laugh dementedly at the things that matter to others: fame, prestige, fortune. Who cares?

Sirens wail.

You know what, loquita? They’re on our tail! Go faster, urges Ximena. I don’t want to end up in jail or a nuthouse!

Gui take a swig of whiskey, laughs again and pulls the car to the side of the road. We lost them! They kiss. He is holding a gun. The sound of the sirens gets closer.

Go! says Ximena. Gui drives a little farther and then reaches the end of the road. A steep precipice lies in front of them. Police cars are lined up several yards behind them blocking any possible escape. The cops order them to get out of the car with their hands up and kneel on the ground. They sound a warning shot.

It’s just like in the movies, says Gui with a certain delight. But Xi says again that she doesn’t want to go to jail or get locked up in a nuthouse. Should they make like Thelma and Louise?

They put their hands together and Ximena slashes their wrists with her dagger. They both wince at the pain. Gui is sure they’ll end up together in another life:
Una pareja como tú y yo es inmortal.
(A pair like us is immortal.)
(Let’s hope not.)

Hellfire Two
More demented laughter. The police wait, guns trained in their direction. They watch as the top of the convertible is raised. Gui closes his eyes and steps on the accelerator and the car plunges over the precipice, rolling over and over until it reaches bottom where it explodes in flames.

¡A ver! ¡Una sonrisa!
The family and their groupies pose in front of Casa Sandoval. Juan Pablo has the penultimate word:
La oscuridad y el mal sólo pueden ser vencidos por el triunfo del amor.
(Darkness and evil can only be conquered by the triumph of love.)

Whatever floats your boat
A full moon. Max and María in a rowboat decked with flowers. Hey, let’s not worry about how -- or why -- they stuffed that long, elegant gown in that tiny boat. It’s just a pretty picture, folks.

After 176 episodes, Marco di Mauro gets some face time as he sings ♪♪A partir de hoy♪♪. The camera cuts back and forth from the image of the singer to our lovely groom and handsome bride and muchos smoochos.

While the guests watch from the shore, undoubtedly armed with matamoscas (fly swatters) against the mosquitoes, the couple simper their final simper:
Nothing could keep them apart. They always had strength and courage and above all love. That’s why they are celebrating the true triumph of love.
Smoochies.

Fin
Sweet William Levy paddles his kayak on to fame and fortune in Gringolandia.


Epilogue*
*Don’t be cursing your poor DVR for cutting off the end. The following scenes take place exclusively in NovelaMaven’s troubled imagination.

Tiempo Después

Victoria soon grows weary of living with a platitude machine, especially one with an unfortunate propensity for flatulence. She discovers that breaking up with Heriberto isn’t easy. Even after she tells him, gently but unequivocably, that it’s all over between them, he continues to pop up uninvited wherever the family gathers.

Meanwhile Alonso’s sole surviving relative, a maiden aunt living in Oaxaca, raises questions about her nephew’s untimely demise. When she learns that his physician concealed Alonso’s diagnosis even though treatment existed and indeed was life-saving for two others who contracted the disease, she accuses Ríos of acting unethically.

A subsequent investigation uncovers numerous episodes of medical malfeasance; but most shocking of all – Heriberto Ríos Bernal has never been licensed to practice medicine. The charismatic Cuban conman has a long history of exploiting wealthy families at vulnerable times in their lives. Even his tragic past is shown to be pure fiction, finely calculated to engage the sympathy of his prey.

Ríos is found guilty of negligent homicide as well as numerous counts of fraud and is sentenced to many years in prison.

María and Max, while technically complicit in Alonso’s death, are not charged with any crime because they are not mentally competent to stand trial. The aunt in Oaxaca is, however, considering a civil suit.

Ever resilient and resourceful, Heriberto converts himself into a successful jailhouse lawyer, earning privileges and prestige among his fellow inmates. A few years later, lic. Heri escapes during a prison riot. Some say he is now practicing psychiatry in Buenos Aires; others swear they have seen him in ads on late-night Miami tv hawking his legal services.

Once Dr. Ríos is unmasked, many inconsistencies are explained:

The Swiss vaccine was a fraud. Both Max and María recovered as a result of supportive treatment and sympathetic writers.

María’s diminished kidney function was transient; a kidney transplant was never needed nor was it ever performed. Victoria and María were subjected to sham procedures for which the Sandovals were bilked out of many millions of pesos.

Both of Fer’s surgeries were actually done by a competent neurosurgery resident. Heri’s abysmal management of post-op therapy nearly sabotaged the success of the procedures.

The hospital is found complicit in the fraudulent activity and under the weight of the scandal and the crushing fines, it, including the Sandoval pavilion, is forced to close. Since it was TOHIM (The Only Hospital in Mexico), the Sandoval family now drives to Puebla for their medical care although the vecindad gang still go to the Cruz Roja, as they have always done. And in a pinch, everyone goes to the animal doc, Cruz. A mammal, after all, is a mammal.

Osvaldo’s project in Spain is a resounding success making him a director’s darling once again. He is courted by Televisa, TVAzteca and Telemundo, each anxious to bring him back to Mexico.

His intense romance with a sympathetic Madrileña ends when he and the gorgeous and soulful Marisol realize that his family and the woman he loves are back in Mexico.

He and Victoria meet again as equals, both humbled by their lapses. Victoria now understands how one can be dazzled by the light of a new passion to the point of blindness. Their mutual forgiveness is heartfelt and their love for one another is rich and profound.

Our hero, Osvaldo, the true moral center of the tale, once again takes his place as the Sandoval paterfamilias, a place he will enjoy for many years. And God knows this bunch will need him.

Padre Juan Pablo is profoundly shaken as more and more of his mother’s evil comes to light under the investigation spearheaded by the Sandoval family. With Fausto’s help, even the heartbreaking murder of Sor Clementina is revealed.

He is tormented by knowing that while he was silenced by the seal of the confessional, his mother continued to loose her wickedness on the world. He is disappointed by the Archbishop and his willingness to be swayed by Bernarda’s pocketbook. He remembers Octavio, the man he knew as his father and how he warned him not to allow Bernarda to force him into the priesthood before he had a chance to experience the secular. He makes a bold decision. Setting aside his soutane – and with the blessing of his old friend and mentor, Padre Jerónimo – he enters the world again. He is no less a man of faith but one who chooses to serve God and man in a different way.

He is the sole heir of Bernarda’s vast fortune and looks for ways to use it to do good.

Upon learning of the miserable conditions of the tenants in her extensive properties, he invests time and money to improve their lot. He rewards good tenants with equity in their apartments and their ownership motivates them to keep up all the improvements.

He enlists María’s help in a project to help abandoned children.

He enlists the help of Fausto and Oscar in his personal justice project: to find the families of his mother’s innocent victims so he can apologize to them, indemnify them for their loss, and most importantly honor the memory of those who suffered because of her malice.

Leonela takes the next step in her recovery when she starts to look beyond her own needs and to resonate with the joys and sorrows of others. She helps Juan Pablo in his children’s project and the two become close friends. Only time will tell if their relationship becomes something more intimate.

Bernarda writhes eternally in the flames of hell.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Triunfo del Amor #170-171 7/29/11 Part 1. Maria Finally Says the Magic Word: “Mama!!”; P.2. Victoria Decides and Somebody Gets Lucky; Eva Finally Makes Her Move; Burnie Gets a Taste of the Afterlife


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Maria Finally Says the Magic Word: “Mama!!” 
Part 1

Capítulo 170

Caution!  Sugar-high alert!  There’s just so much sweetness and light tonight as we in Viewerville j.i.p. (join in progress) in this evening’s festivities you may need an emergency injection of insulin.  Maria Desamparada, having regained consciousness in her hospital room, is guilted by the realization that at least twice by now Victoria Sandoval has sacrificed her health and safety to rescue Maria from certain danger and/or certain death.  She flops into her trusty wheelchair at the ready and wheels right into the correct room for forgiveness from “Mama”.  

“Mama!  Mamita!  Don’t leave me!  Forgive me!”  Vic immediately opens her eyes and smiles wanly.  Through her tears, Maria acknowledges that motherly self-sacrifice not only by walking for hours back to the kidnappers’ hideout with bleeding feet, but now in giving part of her body to save her daughter’s life without asking anything in return, not even Maria’s forgiveness. She has given her a chance to be reborn.  (Come to think of it, Vic has had a pretty rough year.  First the breast and now the kidney.  Maybe she might need to loan out the ol’ uterus and be a surrogate mother for Fer next.  Just sayin’.)  “--Mi peqen~a Maria!”  All is right with the world because she’s finally used that word!  “--You’ve called me ‘Mama!’ ”  Heriberto, still in his scrubs and lookin’ fine, walks in on the scene, congratulates the two of them, and sniffles a bit as he leaves them to bask in the warmth of mother-daughter affection.

Meanwhile, out in the waiting area, Antonieta tells Osvaldo and the others that the two still have to do a few more tests and they’re worried that Vic woke up with some problems from the transplant.  It might take a miracle for her to survive this.

Maria and Vicki hold hands during the tests that Dr. Heri performs.  The results are encouraging.  Maria is fine but Vicki will have to rest for a while and get her strength back.  No fashion shows even if it’s for the Queen of England. 

Bernarda, meanwhile, continues on babysitting watch with JPito and chanting with crucifix in hand. (Anyone else channeling visions of the Golden Child and/or the reincarnation of the child Buddha?)

A bit later, Toni, Leonela, Os, Pepi, Fer and Cruz pop in expecting to find Vic and Maria in separate rooms.  They are pleasantly surprised at the site of the two holding hands and sharing the same room.  Toni says this is the miracle they’d hoped for: it’s the triumph of love.  More gushing ensues.  Lots of congratulations all ‘round.  Maria claims it was the miracle of love that saved her and that was able to vanquish all adversity to survive; it was the love she was too blind to recognize or to admit to; the love of a mother to save one’s child at all cost.  Fer says her prayers have been answered.  Cruz races off to call the vecindad and spread the news.

Os mentions he’s got to get to Max’s room to tell him the great news.  Heri enters and chimes in that he’ll go along with Oz to remind Max not to leave the isolation ward and not to come into this room for love nor money.  Oz gives Dr. Sabe-lo-todo a much deserved verbal slam for being the way-too-cheery-interloper.   “I’m very capable of speaking to my son alone!  What you did was no more than your job, so stop playing Super Hero!” Oz leaves but Heri has gotten the message--loud and clear.  Everyone left in the room starts counting the number of scuffs on their sneakers and/or the number of wrinkles in the bed sheets.   Heri shrugs and leaves also.  (His burdens are many but his triumphs even greater…..)

Back in the vecindad, Padre Juan Pablo has just agreed to officiate at Napo and Milagros’ wedding.  The neighbors are all ticked off at the two jarocha’s because they’re hogging the phone and can’t get word about Maria.  PJP calls Cruz to get word and hears about the miraculous recovery of Max, Maria and Victoria. 

  Oz then gripes about Heri’s supercilious attitude.  Max tells him he thought he’d left home to give Vic a chance to start over again and wonders what happened to change his dad’s mind.  Oz answers that there’s no battle worse than the one you fail to fight.  He still loves Victoria and is ready to fight to win her back. 

PJP pays a visit to the recovering mother and daughter.  He points out that this was the miracle he had told her about that Dios had delivered to her, which was in front of her the whole time but which she’d refused to see.  Maria says they’ll be making up for lost time once they’re both out of the hospital.  She’s thrilled now to have what she’s always wanted: a true family!  She has a father, a mother, two children, a sister, and a soon-to-be husband! Who could want for more?

A few days or so later, back at the vecindad, we take a minute for Napo, Cente, Juanjo and Cruz’s papa to give us a PSA about smoking and emphysema.  Napo tells Cruz’s dad he’s taking him back to the doctor.  FF>>

Inside Maria Desamparada’s apartment, she and Max are getting ready for the babies’ baths before their family field trip.  We get another PSA about clean babies and healthy bone development (?)   Maria assures Max that she loves Osguito every bit as much as JPito.  FF>>

Burnie plays with JPito’s toys and misses the little bugger now.  Eva comes in with some tea to quiet her nerves now that the baby’s gone back to his mother.  Apparently Burnie had nightmares and was calling out Juan Pablo’s name the night before; Eva foolishly tries making small talk about it.  Eva asks if perhaps she might have been having more nightmares about burn victims instead.  Burnarda: a definite study in no good deed going unpunished, snarls at her to keep her nose out of what doesn’t concern her.  Eva plays the hurt servant victim.  Burnie admits she doesn’t trust Eva and that she’s fed up with her [harta] and ready to chuck her out on the street at any time.  Eva insists that she has always been discreet about whatever goes on inside those four walls.  Burnie says the old gal knows her well and she and her subservient attitude is getting on her last nerve.  Who the heck does she think she is anyway to take such liberties?  “Why your most obedient servant, of course.”  “Keep your nose out of my business!” 

Eva asks a final stinging question about why Burnie seems so obsessed with Hellfire and Damnation.  Is she keeping some deep dark secret that burdens her conscience or is it all just silly nightmares?  Burnie give her a signature slap up side the head and whops her so hard she knocks the old woman out cold. 

At breakfast, Fer asks Cruz if he minds adopting.  He reminds her that Dr. Todo told her she’s perfectly capable of having children.

Burnie gets Eva off the bed and screams that she’s nothing but a dog biting the hand that feeds it.  Eva says calmly that her only intention was to give her a chance to think about the situation.  Burnie yells imperiously that she doesn’t need help from some insignificant being like her!  Or hadn’t she noticed she’s one of Dios’s Iluminada?  [enlightened elite of God] Of course she has, says Eva.  Only by being so close to one as learned as she can she have received such a blessing!  She wouldn’t dream of asserting that she knows more or better than Burnie, and her lips are sealed [sellado], permanently.

Cruz is agreeable to giving some needing child from the orphanage a home.  “--A father's not only one who procreates, but also one who raises and instructs.  There’s nothing more I’d like than to see you fulfilled, my love.”  Thank you smoochies ensue.

Napo takes Cruz’s pa back to Dr. Todo, who apparently didn’t do a good enough medical history on his patient the first time around, but seems rather adept at hiding that fact.  For some reason, he didn’t take a lung x-ray and didn’t know/realize/ask himself if the guy was a heavy smoker and might be suffering from emphysema, super-bug TB, cancer.....(What medical school did this guy attend, anyway?  Is that a real diploma on his wall, or a Mexican version of The Impostor.)  He corrects this mistake immediately.

That night, Jimena is really ticked that the mechanic still hasn’t found Ofelia’s skeleton.  She tells him to keep digging and leaves.  Guillermo shows up and asks the kid why he’s nosing around in his back yard.  If he doesn’t spill it right then and there he’s calling the police!  The kid mechanic begs him not to call the police.  Gui smiles evilly back at him.

At the Sandoval manse, Vic decides it’s time to show Maria and Fer her little box of Maria memorabilia.  Maria is overcome once she sees the toddler picture of her that her mother had kept.  Tears and hugs.

The mechanic guy has no choice but to tell Gui that Ji paid him double whatever Gui offered him for the other job.  If she paid him double to find human remains [restos humanos], Gui says, then he’ll pay the kid triple cuz he’s got his doubts about the woman, after all.  And, if the kid wants to stay alive he will do all that he’s asked and stay quiet.  The kid’s lips are sealed.

More mother-daughter bonding back at Victoria’s place.  Fer tells Vic and Maria that she and Cruz are adopting a child.  Everybody is elated.  What a benificent decision!

A few days or so later, Fer and Maria visit the orphanage she grew up in.  Maria tells the nun about Fer’s decision and they go into the playroom to see the little ones.  Fer spies a little girl playing and learns her name is Victoria.  She takes it as a sign that the little girl is The One.

End, P. 1
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Victoria Decides and Somebody Gets Lucky; Eva Finally Makes Her Move; Burnie Gets a Taste of the Afterlife


P.2.

Capítulo 171

That evening, Osvaldo pours himself a stiff one and sits down on the couch next to Victoria.  “--Victoria, you don’t love Heriberto.  What you feel perhaps is gratitude, but that’s not love.”  She wants to know how he can be so certain of what she feels.  Oz says he’s known her for twenty years.  She’s been in love with him that whole time and you just don’t change over night.  (Excuse me but it hasn’t been over night.  It’s been months --try at least a year or more.)  Oh?  Why not?  Anyway, Oz, she says, I told you I was confused and that first I had to take care of my children before myself.  Now I can concentrate on myself. But nothing’s changed.  I still don’t know if I love you or not.  Oz sucks it in.  

Vic tells him that she doesn’t know if it’s been for love or just for companionship, or like a comfortable habit having him around the house.  Besides, if he really loved her like he says he’d never have stuck his wick in another candlestick.  Then she’d never have kissed another man.  It’s only been the kids that’s kept them together she believes.  He disagrees and says he’s sticking around until he’s certain she’s certain.

The next day, back at the vecindad, it’s a bachelor party for Napo and his buds, complete with sexy blond jumping out of a cake.  All the gals, including Vic, Leo, Toni and Pepi, are inside Maria’s apartment for Milie’s wedding shower.  Oh, man!  What a treat.  Pepi is the prize in spin the bottle.  FF>>

That night, Max finds Vic in her room reminiscing about the past twenty years with Ozzie.  She tells Max she was so busy she never realized when it was that she stopped loving his father.  She believes that if she really still loved him she’d have forgiven him right away for cheating on her.  As it is, she thinks she only used his infidelity as an excuse to hide her disinterest.  Max defends Oz and tells Vic he’s ready to fight for her love.  He says Fer’s gone and he’s about to fly out of the nest himself.  They understand that to stay together real love is necessary.  Vic suggests she could try to make the effort, but Max says true love doesn’t need any effort.  Either way, in the end they will both support what Vicki decides.

The next day Milagros and Don Napo are at the church getting married.  The entire vecindad along with the Sandovals are there.  Vic arrives alone.  Heri is already there and races up to take her arm.  “--Are you alone?”  “--Yes.”  He kisses her hand and walks her into the church just as Oz gets out of his car.  Oz sees the two of them walk in together, arm in arm, and deflates.

The ceremony takes place and then it’s time to PARTAY!!  Oz sits it out with Vic’s posse while Vic and Heri enjoy themselves at their own private table in another part of the hal; and when they dance together they only have eyes for each other.  

Vic gets a bit too tipsy and Heri offers her coffee (at his place this time and no doubt thinking ahead as any self-respecting hombre worth his salt in hopes of gettin’ lucky would do) and a ride home (uh-huhhhh) after that.  She accepts.

The coffee takes effect and Vicki’s ready for that lift home--or so she says.  Heri looks longingly in her eyes and asks if she really wants to leave.  Vicki has made her decision.  She looks longingly back at him, remembers Max’s words of support, and says no, she really doesn’t want to leave.  She wants to stay with him.  They kiss and things progress como Dios manda [er...naturally].  

As Viewerville plays peeping Tom on the two of them, it would seem that Handsome Heri’s drought is finally over--in fact it looks like that well of water he’s been digging has come a gusher.  Heri rates a 10+.  (How comforting for him to know he’s still got it after veinte an~os and that “it” and all associated parts still function appropriately when needed.....)

Love is definitely in the air that night, cuz when Cente walks Almita back home  the two of them decide to give going steady a try.

The next day, Milie and Napo “honeymoon” by sunning themselves on the rooftop of their building, being fanned with palm fronds by Don Joel and another tenant.  FF>>

Downstairs, in their apartment Fer catches Cruz up about the orphans she saw with Maria. There’s a little girl named Victoria she thinks is adorable and wants to adopt her.  Cruz agrees with Fer that her being named Victoria is a sign from Dios that she’s meant for them.  

Across town, back at Vicki’s, the babies are spending a day in the garden with her.  Leonela comes by and asks to join the fun.  Leo thanks Vicki for showing her the true worth of family.  She plans to stay in Mexico near her grandchildren and Max.

Maria stops in at Toni’s to ask her forgiveness also.  She tells Toni she remembers now the blond lady who used to sing her to sleep in her arms.  She knows that was her and recognizes that she’s been like a second mother to her and wants to apologize for purposely ignoring the fact.  Toni is thrilled.

At Burnie’s it’s sherry time.  Roxy and Ji make the mistake of asking Eva for a glass each for themselves, but Burnie gets on their case and says absolutely not!  They’re not going to
sit around there slurping down all her good booze and pigging down all her food. Do they think she’s going to maintain them the rest of their lives?  Despite what they might think, it’s not some hotel and they are neither guests nor lodgers!  No, they’re Moochers [vividora = scrounger, sponger]!  Eva joins in the fray all of a sudden and says they don’t have to take that from this old bag.  She’s leaving too! “--You ungrateful wretch!  All of you get out of my house!  I’m Bernarda de Iturbide and I don’t need you around!  I’m fine with just me, myself and I!  Get lost!  Scram!”  

Back at Vicki’s, Toni shows up to enjoy the day since Oscar’s playing tennis with some friends at the club.  


It’s Oz who’s playing tennis with Oscar we learn.  He’s playing relentlessly because he’s so filled with rage.  Oscar admits he’s obviously been fully aware of the situation and commiserates.  Talk turns to Gui and the lawsuit. Not much so far, but Oscar assures him that things should fall into place about mid-way through his season when he’ll get closed down.  Gui will lose his entire investment.  Oz is thrilled to hear it.

Toni mentions to Victoria that Maria stopped by and why.  

Ji is ready to go and asks what Eva’s doing preparing salad dressing.  Eva says it’s her favorite.  Ji says instead of feeding her that it should be poison!    Roxy wonders where they’re going to stay now.  Eva offers to let Roxy and Ji stay with her in a furnished room she’s going to rent.  They gripe but accept in the end.  Eva puts the bowl of dressing on the table and the three women leave.

Max walks out of the house on his way somewhere and marvels at the happy picture across the lawn.  

Vicki tells Toni that she and Dr. Voice warmed up the sheets the night before after the wedding.  Toni wants all the details and the two giggle like teenagers over it.

Meanwhile, back at the club, Oz gets an unexpected call from Pedro the producer.  He has the perfect project in Spain and wants him to fly over to take a role.  It has an impressive international cast and it’s the opportunity he knows Oz has been waiting for.  He’ll have to fly over ASAP, though.  (Oz, I’d say it’s time to cut your losses and get. a. life!  Spain sounds perfect, especially the Costa del Sol!)   

Fer and Cruz arrive at the orphanage.  The nun in charge tells them that because they are Victoria Sandovaaaaal’s next of kin, they can adopt right away without the usual waiting period.  Cruz and Fer are elated.  They go into the play area and Cruz and little Victoria hit it off right away.  

Eva, Ji and Roxy arrive at the rooming house.  Ji gripes and turns her nose up.  Eva tells her to think instead how at this instant Burnarda is probably munching away on her salad.  Why, asks Roxy.  Because, says Eva, she mixed a very special dressing for her this time.  Ji gets her drift and her eyes begin to shine with a conspiratorial light.  


Back at Burnie’s, the table is set and the Holy Terror sits down to eat.  She takes a couple bites of her salad and begins to cough and choke. (Anybody want to guess what Eva mixed into that salad dressing?)  Burnie can’t talk but she is definitely thinking panicked thoughts:  “--I’m burning from the inside out!!  My insides are burning!  Ahhh!  My insides are on fire!!”   She knocks over the chair, gasping for breathe.  She falls to the floor and then blinks and chokes her last--or does she?  

End P.2.

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