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South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Already Weak Novelas Careening Downhill, But We Keep Watching
By Magaly Morales
February 12, 2003
We all know most novelas offer scant educational value. We all know the dialogue is corny and the situations unrealistic. And while we may not always admit it, we all watch them. We even tape them when we can't be home to watch them.
Latinos are closet noveleros -- myself included.
And while every now and then, a show comes along that justifies a mass audience, sadly, there isn't a novela today that's worth its time slot.
I must still be experiencing "El Clon withdrawal," as one reader called it, because ever since the Brazilian drama concluded late last year, I can't seen to find anything that compares to it.
In fact, the current prime-time programming is so weak, I've had a hard time staying tuned to Latin television.
While it is my job to monitor the Latin networks, I confess I've been involuntarily wandering into English-language programming for lack of better things to watch. Or even engaging in activities other than TV watching.
Not that I'm suggesting a massive turn-off as a protest for better programming -- though now that I mention it, it doesn't sound like a bad idea. But I guarantee that you won't be missing much if you turn off your TV set and opt to update your phone book, alphabetize your pantry or finish that book you've been reading.
The Univisión primetime lineup is, well, its usual shade of "pink."
It's no secret that I dislike the novela rosa genre, which, however popular it may have been in the '70s and '80s, has no place in today's society. I'm tired of the Cinderella cliches with their lame portrayals of women. And if I see one more remake of a "classic," I'm going to lose it.
Gata Salvaje (Wildcat), for instance, has to be the worst telenovela I've seen in a long time. But for reasons beyond my comprehension, this Univisión co-produced drama, which airs at 7 p.m., has become the talk of the town in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Mexico. Which is pretty scary, because popular novelas almost always get extended, and I've just about had it with the feline.
Another monstrosity that's said to have prospects for extension is Las Vias del Amor, better known on message boards as Las Vias del Horror. But the rumor looks like it may be just a tasteless joke and the 8 p.m. melodrama will end, as expected, in April.
The only halfway decent novela on the Univisión lineup is Entre el Amor y el Odio, airing at 9 p.m. But its basic plot is not gripping enough to make me want to watch it for more than 15 minutes.
Telemundo hasn't done much to capture my interest and ease my frustration, either.
I placed a lot of faith in this network, which in the last couple of years has been doing a great job importing more diverse programming. But lately, its choice of novelas has been rather lackluster. Even the 10 p.m. slot, which has been airing Brazilian blockbusters, is currently a bore.
In my opinion, Brazil produces the best novelas in the world, yet from the entire Globo portfolio, Telemundo had to pick Terra Esperanza, a drama that is as exciting as watching paint dry.
La Venganza, Telemundo's 9 p.m. drama, looks more like a tragicomedy, and its leading woman, Gabriela Spanic, needs to reconsider her acting career, seriously.
And how about Adrian esta de Visita?
The Telemundo-co-production was written by Julio Jiménez, known as "El señor del misterio," and while the story has a lot of potential, sadly, some of the performances are not compelling enough. And nothing ruins a good plot like a starched-stiff actor.
The future? It looks rather grim. More remakes of remakes. More sleazy reality TV. More Cinderella stories.
To be honest, I'd rather watch the Food Network. And I think that says a lot coming from someone who can't cook at all.