My next couple of posts will explore telenovelas.
Much like Filipino dramas, telenovelas are short-run series written to a conclusion. This structure helps viewers commit to a show more easily. Some North American soap operas last for decades, which is way too much commitment for a lot of people.
The first telenovela I watched was Luz Clarita. It aired on XEW-TDT, a television station in Mexico City, in 1996 and lasted 105 episodes.
Live commentary for Luz Clarita
Wow, the quality of this video is rough. Forget about 1080p, it looks more like 420p or maybe even worse.
The theme song is ridiculously catchy. It’s like a jingle for a commercial but then drawn out for a minute. I have a feeling like the show is pretty lighthearted. A little girl is jumping up and down on a trampoline with confetti flying everywhere. It looks like the most fun a kid could possibly have on a trampoline.
The show starts off at an orphanage. Oh no, the little girl who was bouncing on the trampoline is an orphan. There are a lot of beds in the room, which is giving off an orphanage vibe. She’s giving another little boy a bath.
Okay, now a Spanish Betty White lookalike is talking to another lady in a kitchen. I can’t stress how much this lady looks like Betty White. Oh no, Spanish Betty White just fainted. I think this other lady is trying to get her to retire, but Betty refuses. Scene.
It cuts to a huge mansion where a woman and a man are arguing. Super dramatic music starts to play and two guys take away this lady’s chair. It’s a pretty nice chair, I don’t really get why they’re taking it away.
Woooo! A fancy looking man just stopped the two guys from taking the chair away. They put the chair back and then the lady kisses fancy pants.
The fancy guy walks into a little girl’s bedroom. This girl must be around 8, but all her clothes and entire bedroom are white… That feels like a disaster waiting to happen. What kind of crazy person trusts a child with all white clothes? When I was 8, I accumulated stains like Pokémon cards. When I was younger, I had to wear a white shirt to a golf club once, but my mom had such little trust in me that she wouldn’t let me wear the shirt until we got to the golf club. She put it on a hanger and brought it in the car. That’s what being 8 is. Come on Luz Clarita.
The little girl is eating breakfast now, and her brother is drinking some juice. This scene wasn’t overly exciting except that a maid was lusting over the little girl’s brother big time. She even did a lip bite. Scene.
Back to the orphanage. I can’t figure out if the girl at the orphanage is named Clarita, or if that’s just the name of the show. I translated ‘Luz Clarita’ to English and it means ‘Clear Light’ but I still think the girl’s name is Clarita. I’m going to call her Clarita.
A priest is talking to Clarita and then there are a couple of flashbacks.
Flashback: Clarita is kind of a troll. In the flashbacks, she sent a fake mouse loose on her classmates in school and hid a fake tarantula in the orphanage’s kitchen. Scene.
Fancy pants and chair lady are mansion shopping. OH DANG. Fancy pants gave her a huge ring. I guess losing her chair is the least of her worries now. Scene.
Spanish Betty White is back on her feet again. She’s in her bedroom with Clarita. I’m worried that….
WHAT! A rainbow just shot across the screen. I think we’re in heaven. Yeah, it’s for sure supposed to be heaven. Angels are watching over Clarita. They’re wearing big stars on their heads, like Christmas tree topper big. They look totally ridiculous. Why did they end the show like this?
Well, overall I was pretty happy with Luz Clarita. Despite the weird heaven ending, I liked the orphan setting and Clarita was a cutie. Spanish Betty White got me invested pretty quickly, so I think I would keep watching the show to find out what happens to her.
Luz Clarita felt like more of a sitcom than a soap opera, which was refreshing. It still felt dramatic but was able to accent moments of drama with humour. Humour isn’t used very often in North American soap operas, but I think it should be after watching this.