What I learned from telenovelas

According to a story on today’s New York Times, the Federal Communications Commission fined Univision with a record fine of $24 million for falling short on regulators’ expectations for educational children’s programming. Univision had long maintained that telenovelas were educational programs, but the regulators didn’t quite buy it and now the network must pay.

Not so fast. After a long day of debating the subject with some of my Mexican friends, we came to the conclusion that telenovelas are in fact very educational, and that there is plenty we all learned from them while growing up in Mexico.

1. We learned that the “ricos” also cry. In other words, that rich, famous and blonde people also suffer, and sometimes even more than the rest of the mortals.

2. We learned that, no matter how good or bad she was in the kitchen, the maid will always end up marrying the señorito de la casa (as long as she looks like Thalía, of course)

3. Blacks are always poor but nice people who are very good at taking care of strangers’ babies (ask Verónica Castro)

4. It is possible to kill your enemies and hide the poison inside your make-believe eye patch.

5. Evil-doers always end up burnt, dead, in prison or living in Miami.

6. We learned that to become really, really, really ugly, you just have to put on glasses and use a very large retainer for your teeth.

7. We learned that if you live in certain Mexico City neighborhoods (or rather, zip codes), you qualify to star in a hot telenovela. Of course, if you are very very tan, are not older than 16, have blonde hair and blue eyes and have a daddy with a house in Acapulco, as the kids from Codigo Postal can show you here

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One thought on “What I learned from telenovelas

  1. Dear Ms./Mrs. Martinez, As a black woman who is a fan of various telenovelas, I realize this is two years late by the way, I just had to write about some of the comments posted here. While I’ve said for the longest time that ‘dark-skinned’ latinas/latinos ought to finally have a crack at playing leads in some of these novelas (Brasil once again leads the way when it comes to this, and Venezuela did it last year.), something tells me ‘other’ countries might not be so quick to ‘jump on board’ with their ‘dark-skinned’ counter-parts. Brasilian actress Tais (Thais) Araujo, ‘Xica’ fame, has been the most ‘successful’ so far by the way. Her novela ‘Da Cor Do Pecado’ is one of the most successful ‘interracial’ novelas of all time (it’s still making the rounds over seas), and Venezuelan actress Brenda Hanst’s performance in ‘Caramelo e Chocolate’ is getting very good reviews as well.
    Now if only Telefutura, Univision, and most importantly ‘Telemundo’ would follow their leads, we would perhaps really see some ‘change’ in the industry. These women are very talented, as well as their dark-skinned male counter-parts, but it sure would be nice if they didn’t have to wait so long to be recognized the same way the ‘lighter-skinned’ ones do.

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