Before this class, I knew what telenovelas were, but had a very vague understanding of their worldwide implications. From my time spent in both Spain and Costa Rica, I thought telenovelas were the epic and universal love stories, but at the same time were very culturally exclusive. Being an outsider for such a short amount of time, I came to the conclusion that telenovelas weren't overarching productions that broadcast in countries outside of Spanish speaking ones. Obviously, I was wrong.
On Monday, we talked to Ruxandra Ciobanu, a telenovela junkie all the way from Romania. Ruxi says she started watching telenovelas about six years ago, when she was 17 years old. I'm about Ruxi's age, and six years ago, I was watching melodramatic teen dramas like "The O.C." Come to think about it, the similarities between "The O.C." and the typical telenovela are incredible.
For one, both have gorgeous protagonists. Secondly, the primary love story involves two lovers from extremely different backgrounds; the girl, a model-esque beauty queen from wealthy Newport Beach, and the boy, a bad-boy gone good from the outskirts of L.A., Chino. Also, the antagonists in the show were typical representations of the average telenovela. Whereas both the protagonists were blond, and fair-skinned, the antagonists were their complete opposites. Dark-haired, tan beauties. It never once occurred to me until now that the shows I was watching at 17 weren't authentically "American." Rather, I'm learning now, that the melting pot I live in adapted a structure from the Latin American world that appeals equally to my generation: the telenovela.
Ruxi said that she does watch some American shows, but mostly she watches telenovelas. At first this surprised me. I mean, what does Romania have in common with Latin America? But then again, what does Romania have in common with the United States? Nevertheless, I guess it goes without saying that our conversation with Ruxi changed my "American Arrogance." Above all, Ruxi said that she related to the telenovela world better than other shows because the much of latin american culture reflects Romanian culture-something I had no clue of until now.
So, before I go into anymore mindless rambling, I'll end with saying that I now know that the Telenovela world is much more prevalent than I initially anticipated. Instead of being only relevant to their home countries, I now know that Telenovelas are just as popular as much as American shows abroad, and in fact, some of the most popular American shows derive themselves from a telenovela format. Hmmm...I wonder if Ruxi likes "The O.C" too...