Culture

11 Crucial Life Lessons I Learned, Not From My Parents, But From Telenovelas

There are a few things that were never discussed growing up: relationships, periods, sex. Probably in that order.

The only advice I ever got on love and relationships was from watching TV. But of course rated R movies were prohibited in our house, however, my parents had no issue with telenovelas.

From telenovelas, I learned it all: how to handle scandals, how to have passionate sex, romance, and how to deal with malditas who betray me. You could say that Univision and Televisa served as my sex-ed — and all of these lessons took me very far in life.

Topacio

This 1984 telenovela from Venezuela told the story of young Topacio. She is blind, poor, and very beautiful. She meets Jorge Luis who comes from a wealthy family. But here’s the catch, they were switched at birth!

Moral of story: your parents might not really be your parents. 

Baila Conmigo

If you think “High School Musical” or “Glee” changed your life, you haven’t watched “Baila Conmigo.” This 1992 novela dealt with many things that high schoolers go through like rejection, betrayal, and first loves. And the entire thing was a musical!

Before I had ever seen this novela, I didn’t know the term “bad boy.” After watching it, it definitely made me feel like I wanted to be with the “bad boy” because it was probably the best way to rebel. It took me YEARS to get that notion of wanting the bad boy out of my head. Sad but true.

Moral of the story: If you see a guy in a leather jacket, chances are he’s the bad guy. So stay away from him! (Even though you won’t.) 

Quinceañera

I didn’t have a quinceañera nor did I want one, but this novela really made me see what could have been. The theme song on its own is great, and it really deals with the hardships that girls go through.

The novela is actually more controversial than I realized at the time but I learned a lot about real issues that no one ever talked about in my family such as rape and drug use.

Moral of the story: Just because you had your big birthday party doesn’t mean your life will turn out for the better. 

Los Ricos Tambien Lloran

Growing up, I had no idea my family was poor. I suppose I had no gauge of understanding what poverty or wealth really was. But then I was introduced to “Los Ricos Tambien Lloran.” While I didn’t understand our financial situation, I knew we didn’t have the money problems that these people faced. In fact, the people in this novela were downright evil.

Moral of the story: Money isn’t everything. 

Dos Mujeres Dos Caminos

This novela is as porny as you can get, or at least that’s how I understood it to be as I was a kid. For starters, the main dude who’s stringing along two ladies, is the dude from Chips! It made no sense. However, this show made it seem like all men cheat. It wasn’t a positive way to see men, but then again they also glorified his actions on this show.

Moral of the story: Dump a dude if he seems sketchy or too good to be true. 

Cuna de Lobos

The funny thing about this telenovela is that I couldn’t really pay attention to the drama because the matriarch of the family was missing an eye! Throughout the series, this lady wore an eye patch – a really fancy patch, so it was hard to focus on other things.

Moral of the story: Make nice with family or else they will leave you out of their will. 

La Fea Mas Bella

This storyline, which has spawned similar novelas worldwide, is one of the very few that I could actually relate to. Letty, a simple girl with big aspirations, is career minded but also in dire need of love. This girl will stop at nothing to get to to the top and get to her man, who seems like he might be out of her league.

I was Letty in so many ways. I was the girl out of place, the girl looking for love, and the girl that wanted it all. Watching Letty climb the corporate ladder and defying all odds was really inspiring to me as a kid. It made me feel like I could do whatever I wanted, and it didn’t matter what I looked like because eventually the guy of my dreams would see the person inside.

Moral of the story: The awkward girl is more awesome than you think. 

Amor En Silencio

This novela is kinda bonkers but insanely good. The storyline revolves around Marisela and Fernando who, naturally, should not be together for a variety of reasons but it technically comes down to his mother. Either way, these two get together and shit goes down at the wedding. And that’s only the beginning!

Parents should be informed that you should never ever tell a child what they should or shouldn’t do because they’ll end up doing the opposite. The more my mother said to me: “you shouldn’t be with him,” the more I wanted to. But also, never hook up with your third cousin, that would be the talk of every family reunion.

Moral of the story: Be careful who you fall in love with because they might be your relative. 

Maria Mercedes

I really thought of my older sister as Maria Mercedes. They both had the same problems. She had to take care of her siblings and basically be the adult and could never live a proper life. In the novela, Maria’s life is turned upside down when a wealthy man takes her just because he feels sorry for her. While that never happened to my sister, it did make me feel like the only way out of a miserable situation is if a man got you out of it. Not true by the way, but try telling that to an impressionable kid, especially one that would like to look like Thalia.

Moral of the story: Men will not save you, only you can do that. 

Maria la del Barrio

Speaking of popular Thalia telenovelas, “Maria la del Barrio” is also a lesson on true life. This novela is very similar to “Los Ricos Tambien Lloran,” however, this one features the one and only Itatí Cantoral, which makes it even better.

One important teaching in this novela, like many others, is that just because your life sucks now doesn’t mean it won’t get better. Or perhaps I should say, just because you’re a gem living on the bad part of town doesn’t mean you can never end up a rich lady ruling her throne. For me, it was more like “good comes to those who wait.”

Moral of the story: Work as a maid with rich people and one day they might work for you! (Or go insane, one or the other.)

Rebelde

I could not relate to this telenovela at all, but that’s why I loved it even more. If you’d ever want to know what the other side lives like — you know, the rich, attractive, talented, and popular, these kids were it. “Rebelde” was my way of being part of the in-crowd without ever leaving my house

I really took notes from watching these characters because I really felt that one day I’d be put in the spotlight, or a cute guy would ask me out, or I’d get invited to hang out with the cool kids. And when those things happened, I’d know exactly what to do.

Moral of the story: Being beautiful and talented also comes with a heavy price so count your blessings.


READ: How “La Rosa De Guadalupe” Ruined What Was Supposed To Be The Best Years Of Your Life

Did you watch any of these telenovelas? Share this story and let us know in the comment section below. 

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This Is The Ultimate Telenovela Watch List To Help You Get Through The Holidays

Entertainment

This Is The Ultimate Telenovela Watch List To Help You Get Through The Holidays

La Reina Del Sur / Netflix

Ok, it’s not as if any of us need an excuse to sit down and binge watch our favorite telenovelas. I mean we probably all already have a long list of favorites growing up watching them with our moms, abuelas, and tías.

Melodramas are part of our DNA, and we thrive watching the often times overly passionate scenes on TV with our favorite celebrities. One of the best things about telenovelas is that they have clear villain roles and come with a clear beginning and end. The short stories help us escape into an alternate reality where everything is a life-and-death decision. 

And thanks to a surging pandemic, we’re spending more time than ever at home in front of our screens, looking for more content to watch. So why not work on this epic list of telenovela content to help get you through the holidays.

La Reina del Sur

La Reina del Sur was (and still is) an absolute game changer that’s exactly how it will go down in history. The series that starred Kate del Castillo is about Teresa Mendoza, a woman who gets dumped into the dark world of narcos unknowingly. She soon finds herself being persecuted by the Mexican cartel and escapes to Spain only to revolutionize the drug-trafficking world in Europe. There was no intention to make a sequel, but Telemundo caved after fans requested it for years and in 2019 released another chapter of the saga. Both seasons are available on Netflix now.

La Patrona

Aracely Arámbula is one of our Latin telenovela queens. And one of her greatest telenovelas is La Patrona, in which she portrays Gabriela, a single mother who works as a miner.

Of course, being the only woman who works in the mines brings out the bullies who make her life a living hell. However, things escalate further when she crosses Antonia Guerra. Things take another turn when she finds out that Gabriela Suárez is her grandchild’s mother, and she goes to terrible lengths to get rid her.

It’s a strong classic telenovela story that features two strong women who are determined to complete their goals.

Betty, En NY

Yo Soy Betty, La Fea was a phenomenon that captivated our hearts when it first aired at the turn of the century. The Fernando Gaitán original gave us a lesson about loving oneself and not judging others by their physical appearance.

Telemundo remade the Colombian hit in 2019 and cast Elyfer Torres as the titular character of Betty en NY. The network updated the series to modern times, but the heart of the story remains. One unique aspect of the particular transformation that Betty receives is that they kept her hair curly throughout, making a statement that curly hair is also beautiful.

Rebelde

If you’re obsessed with Elite (along with the rest of the world), then you can think of Rebelde as a way less intense early 2000s version of it. It’s a remake of the Argentinian series Rebelde Way, and it’s set in an *ahem* elite boarding school.

The show follows the relationships of a group of wealthy and scholarship students who, in true Breakfast Club fashion, join together despite their differences and start a pop band. Oh, and another fun thing: They all dress like they’re about to star in a Britney Spears music video. It’s truly amazing.

Pasión de Gavilanes

If you are looking for something steamy to watch, look no further than Pasión de Gavilanes. The Colombian classic pairs three hot men with three gorgeous women, and there are lots (lots) of passionate scenes between all the couples involved. Telemundo remade this telenovela again as Tierra de Reyes with a whole new cast and abs galore.

La Que No Podía Amar

Another Televisa production, La Que No Podía Amar, completely changed the telenovela rules. Our protagonista, Ana Paula, is not your typical heroine as she is not one to take orders from anybody. Our galán is also not the usual lead man as he mistreats everyone around him due to an accident that left him unable to walk. Despite their clashing, they somehow bring out the best in each other and create a magical love.

¿Donde Está Elisa?

A telenovela meets true crime thriller? Sounds too good to be true, but it’s basically the premise of this Telemundo classic, ¿Dónde Está Elisa? 

As the family is engulfed in knowing Elisa’s whereabouts, deep, dark secrets start to unravel. How did Elisa disappear? Who is behind her disappearance? Is she dead or alive? The characters will ask themselves these questions, but the culprit of all this drama might just be at home.

La Usurpadora

This list would have a big gaping hole if we didn’t include the telenovela to end all telenovelas. La Usurpadora stars Gabriela Spanic as twin sisters Paulina and Paola, who trade places when the latter abandons her family and escapes with her love.

Paulina is the noble sister who ends up taking care of the Bracho family and finally making them feel like a family unit again. This sweet and bonkers story is one you have to watch if you call yourself a telenovela fan. Televisa adapted the story in 2019 with Sandra Echeverría as the twins. However, this time, it is set in the political world. This miniseries is available on Amazon Prime Video.

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CBS Pledges to Make the Casts of ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother’ 50% People of Color

Entertainment

CBS Pledges to Make the Casts of ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother’ 50% People of Color

Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

CBS just announced that it is committing to making at least 50% of the casts of their unscripted shows Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). CBS also announced that they are devoting 25% of their unscripted budget to BIPOC creators. The changes are expected to take effect in the 2021-2022 season.

“The reality TV genre is an area that’s especially underrepresented, and needs to be more inclusive across development, casting, production and all phases of storytelling,” said CBS CEO George Cheeks. “As we strive to improve all of these creative aspects, the commitments announced today are important first steps in sourcing new voices to create content and further expanding the diversity in our unscripted programming, as well as on our Network.”

CBS’s unscripted TV shows include fan-favorite staples like “Survivor”, “The Amazing Race”, “Big Brother”, and “Love Island”. The network has regularly come under fire for failing to cast diverse talent in both their scripted and unscripted programs. Unlike other broadcast networks like ABC (Grey’s Anatomy, literally any other Shondaland show) or NBC (This Is Us, Superstore), CBS has a reputation for white-washing its programming.

Last year, a former CBS Diversity & Inclusion executive wrote an op-ed in Variety accusing the company of having a “white problem”.

“While CBS proudly touts its diversity programs, a close look beneath the surface reveals that the company is unconcerned about creating space for minorities,” wrote Whitney Davis, who is a Black woman. “CBS continues to promote its diversity initiatives in public, while internally minorities are practically invisible.” 

In June of this year, a group of Black “Survivor” alumni created a petition demanding that the stalwart show make 30% of its cast BIPOC. They also asked that BIPOC are given “equitable screen time and opportunities to participate in marketing and promotional events.” The show’s Black alumni alleged that they were ostracized, gaslighted, and short-shrifted while they were contestants on the show. The petition received almost 8,000 signatures to-date.

As is expected, fan reactions have been mixed. Some people are happy that CBS is making the effort to fix the structural problems of their company. But others feel that the commitment is forced and will result in BIPOC cast members being treated as tokens.

This person is confident that CBS’s unscripted shows will simply improve by including more people of color on their cast lists.

If anything, this decision will add some much-needed change to their tired formulas.

This person was ready to submit their application.

Now that people know the playing field is more even, we’re sure that CBS will receive a more diverse pool of applications.

This person has doubts as to how CBS will approach choosing and casting POC.

It’s one thing to talk about diversity, but it’s another thing to actually choose people who represent a range of diverse cultures.

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