It always starts the same. The hook always gets me. Sooner or later I’m rushing home, driving through traffic like crazy, putting off phone calls, avoiding any and all work around the house, for one hour, every single night of the week, all for the sake of watching the onscreen drama unfolding in my latest telenovela of choice. Be it a comedy, a drama, a dramedy, a period piece, a satire, or anything else, once my interest is peaked there’s no turning back.
Of late, my addiction to these mockumentaries of real life has become so severe that I’m actually ‘conclusion hunting,’ whereby I watch the ending of telenovela despite never having watched another single episode of it before, simply to see ‘how everyone and everything ends up.’
The finality comforts me. Like telling me that no matter what goes wrong in my own life sooner or later good will always triumph over evil, problems will always work themselves out, and bad people will always, always get what’s coming to them. It’s a nice fantasy anyway, not that I’m naïve enough to believe it all – hopeful, yes. Still, to be completely honest, the likes of Veronica Castro, Lucero, Thalia, Aracely Arambula, Edith Gonzalez, and many other luminaries of the small screen, with their personajes and historietas, have taught me so much about life.
Some of the most fanciful and amusing points: a.) one should always be weary of the mother in law, especially if her social economic status is much higher than ours, because behind all of those smiles and niceties she’s always plotting a way to separate her child from us; b.) that poor equals good and rich equals bad – Rosa Salvaje, need I say more; c.) that before the big happy wedding, which everyone else’s lives revolve around, will come a huge falling out between the bride and groom, something so huge that will make both parties take on entirely different personalities for a short while, or at the very least culminate in the ugly-to-beautiful transformation of the bride…
d.) That a jealous third party will go to the most extreme of measures to get what they want, including framing, poisoning, torturing, harassing, or murdering their opponents – nothing is off limits, although if you are their target and an overall ‘good person’ your seemingly nine lives will always spoil every single one of their attempts; e.) that the best way for two women to deal with their building hostility against each other is to engage in a good old fashioned slap fest – the slower their heads turn away from the impact the better, if they are knocked down onto the floor, way better…then they can go back to hating each other again. f.) And finally that death is never final! Out of nowhere, all of a sudden, appears the long lost twin who no one ever knew existed, not even the mother who bore him or her…that’s if the person you just buried six feet under and cried incessantly over, just doesn’t come waltzing in the front door fresh off a comma or a severe, but temporary, case of amnesia.
I owe my love of telenovelas to my parents, because as far back as I can remember we spent many an evening glued to the television screen laughing, gasping, sometimes crying, always together, about the drama unfolding before our very eyes, one hour at a time, five days a week, always leaving us guessing what was going to happen tomorrow. Our guesses were always right, but half the fun of the telenovela is sharing it with the people you care about.
And who can handle more than an hour of drama a day anyway?
Below a few of the best TV y Novela ‘slap-fest’ videos off the web. Enjoy my friends, and then go slap somebody…just kidding, not really.