Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Indian Soap Operas vs. Latin American TV Shows

I still remember the first day my mom got cable in our house. I was in third grade and was beyond ecstatic. My sister and I were jumping around in utter joy and excitement in our room. Cable TV is something every household in the United States has had ever since it was first discovered. But having it in a small country named Nepal was a big thing. One of the first things I ever watched was 8 p.m. Indian soap operas with my mom. It was very interesting with evil mother in-laws, poor innocent girls and rich handsome guys. I would always finish my homework before 8 p.m. so that my mom would let me watch them. After coming to the United States, I had a diverse group of friends who got me to watching Korean Dramas and I was hooked. I would watch them day and night. I had some Latin American Friends who had told me to check out telenovelas and I knew that they were very similar to the Indian soap operas that I used to watch but I had never taken the time to watch them. After just three classes and just two  episodes of La Patrona, the telenovela I will be watching and writing about this semester, I can say that it is, in many ways, very similar and different to the Indian TV shows I used to watch.

Like TV shows in every country, Indian TV shows are lengthy or short depending on the ratings. Usually, a successful television series lasts for 1-2 years and reaches ranges from 500-600 episodes with some exceptions that have reached over 2000 episodes. I noticed that La Patrona, like most other Latin American telenovelas, were about 120 episodes. Some of the most common things I noticed in both types of TV shows are how women are portrayed. In a lot of the TV shows, women were usually the poor ones being swept away by a rich prince charming. There would be a love triangle, the protagonists would always have enemies and their biggest enemy would usually be someone from the family like the girl’s in-laws (especially mother in-law). Another similarity I found in Latin American telenovelas and Indian soap operas was the dramatic background music, facial expressions and dramatic acting. When I watched the little excerpts of telenovelas in class, I instantly would notice the mood and what was going on in the telenovela from those three things. Another big thing that I noticed was how the protagonist, usually the girl, would have one bad luck after another whereas the antagonist would have infinite amounts of good luck and in the end, there would be a happy ending for the protagonist while the antagonist would pay for their wrongdoings.

I have not watched a lot of telenovelas and can’t say that all the telenovelas fall under the comparisons I made above and neither do all the Indian soap operas I have watched in the past fall under my list. But I do see similarities in the two types of TV shows and this connection makes me want to watch the telenovelas even more because I have always loved watching the Indian soap operas.

Latin American soap opera
Indian soap opera. The meaning of the title is "What is the name of this love?"

1 comment:

  1. That's convenient that you've already watched shows with similar structures to telenovelas! The style of these shows is so specific and different to US television, so I bet you were were able to jump right into your telenovela! Those stereotypes you discussed of telenovela plots was spot on. Though these points of interest explicitly appear in Telenovela Rosas, non-traditional telenovelas usually contain these elements, too.