Will Juanita finally marry José?
During a period where news is dominated by politics, economy and crime, people turn to light-hearted television shows in order to get their minds off reality. They seek entry into another world, a different culture with ‘other problems’ in order to escape their own mundane routines. As such, telenovelas are the most preferred TV option, with these distinct soap operas being exported from (mostly) Latin American countries to all around the world, causing millions of viewers to fixate over them with anguish as to what happens next.
But why are these telenovelas so popular? Because they provide an entertainment option that keeps you asking for more. Because you get drawn into the series as if it is part of your daily life; you become acquainted with the characters and learn to love them (or hate them). You want to know what happens next, what will happen to Bárbara? Will she finally get punished for all the evil she’s done? Will Alejandro marry Leticia in the end? And what about Eva? Will she reunite with her family and find out Pedro is her brother? And what is in Dolores’ past that is now haunting her? It’s exciting, often nail-biting, and simply…different. It’s exactly what you need for an hour a day – to escape from your reality and enter into the lives of someone else – to become part of their reality, their problems and their dilemmas. To take your mind of yours at least for those 60 minutes.
Telenovelas are so successful because they make you feel part of these families, so close to them that you share their feelings and emotions. And sometimes this is the closest you can live in experiencing a fairytale. But most importantly, because in the end it makes you think about your own life and what you truly want to do.
I too love watching telenovelas (given that they’re not dubbed – that just ruins it). They’re great because they give you all you expect from a 60-minute series – an adrenaline rush, a good cry, fear, empathy; it’s a roller coaster ride from your couch. It often includes it all – romance, comedy, drama, mystery, murder, passion – a bit of everything. And the best thing is that no matter the predictable storyline, you know you’re going to remain glued there till the very end. Because telenevolas are concise, and do not run on indefinitely. Most are written with a complete story in mind right at inception, which means they are conceived as a limited-run program, generally less than a year, with a well-defined beginning, middle, and ending. The storyline often carries a strong sociocultural message and is invariably laden with drama and emotions. And the best part – it is perhaps one of the most efficient ways to learn the language! Pure, everyday language. As well as getting a great insight into the country’s culture, particularly through the social messages it puts across and the music and traditions it depicts.
So next time you want to escape from the ‘serious reality’ that surrounds you, how about tuning in to watch the life of Débora and Carlitos? It is guaranteed to make you feel better.