All About Those Telenovelas!

Posted: Nov 02 2014

Reina de Corazones-By Barbara Alvarez

“Ah, you’re talking about the Spanish or Mexican soap opera.” Actually, nothing could be farther from the truth. The American soap opera is an ongoing storyline that never ends. Well, it may end when the show is canceled. With the telenovela, these stories have a beginning, middle and end. They are also packed with drama and, many times, torrid romance.

The Telenovela
This television show format features beautiful men and women, who interact with each other, their families and friends. The main characters and some of the minor characters come up with ideas for love and revenge, sometimes getting innocent people involved in their scheming.

Entire families will sit down in the sala to watch their favorite telenovela and comment on the happenings and escapades that take place during that day’s episode. Because the shows are self-contained, it is fairly easy to pick up with a new show, watch it during its run and view nearly every episode until the show comes to its conclusion.

Brush Up on Your Spanish!
Every telenovela is recorded and spoken in Spanish. The titles, subtitles and credits are shown in Spanish, so you’ll have to have either a good command of the language or be able to follow it – even if your first language is not Spanish.

Of course, as you get into the story, you’ll soon figure out that Alma, who says she loves Juan has been seeing Diego on the side. Diego has never liked Juan and is waiting for just the right moment to clue Juan in. Only Juan already suspects that Alma has been stepping out on him. Juan has been planning a little surprise of his own – with a gun.

The Countries Where Telenovelas are Most Popular

In most of the Spanish-speaking countries, telenovelas are a popular form of entertainment. These countries include:


        √ Machos
        √ Donde esta Elisa?
        √ Mujeres de Lujo
        √ Tempano
        √ Primera Dama


        √ El Ultimo Matrimonio Felizaa
        √ En los Tacones de Evaa
        √ Hasta que la Plata Nos Separe
        √ Yo Soy Betty, La Fea
        √ La Hija del Mariachi

Spain (Where telenovelas are often called culebrones or long snakes)

        √ Los Hombres de Paco
        √ Escenas de Matrimonio
        √ Yo Soy Bea
        √ Supervivientes


        √ Simplemente Maria
        √ Rebelde
        √ Clase 406
        √ Martin Garatuza
        √ Maria la del Barrio

The Relevance of the Telenovela
As you can see from some of the titles, telenovelas can carry a strong message of social justice. While social events and fashion are also featured in several telenovelas, the scriptwriters will find a topic that touches on justice, poverty, inequality between economic groups or men and women. This theme will usually run through the entire telenovela, with the different groups showing how their lives have changed by the end of the program.

Whether you are fluent in Spanish or not (I am getting there), sit down with a drink and someone you enjoy spending time with, then watch one of your favorite telenovelas. When you’re at work the next day, you’ll be able to spend a few pleasant moments recalling last night’s show.


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