Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mariá la del Barrio

This telenovela stuck out to me for two main reasons: it was on Netflix and the number of episodes refrain from exceeding 100. Not only these basic reasons, but the plot also mirrors the classic "Cinderella-esque" style, which interests me the most. The idea of a fairytale portrayed through this medium, and receiving a tremendous amount of attention, seems somewhat silly. Right from the first episode,  Mariá la del Barrio plays into this style with a stone, medieval architecture in Maria's room. Her godmother comes in adorning a stylized costume to wake her up. To bathe. Black smudges cover her, presumably from the day before, working in the landfill. She confesses to dreaming of a literal prince-charming (tassels and everything). The quality of the show creates an anachronistic effect, making things look somewhat out of place, though, he moderate level of ridiculousness to the aesthetic of the show does not devalue the program.

Because this show mirrors a Cinderella structure, people watch it for the transformation aspect of the protagonist, Maria. For this transformation to take place, she has to begin from the bottom. And that's where we come in. She works in a landfill, her parents have already died, and her Godmother dies on her fifteenth birthday. From this point, she gets a second chance when a wealthy business man takes her into his home. He treats her well, but his wife and their maid despise her instantly. Her pureness and innocence might be what sets them off or causes jealousy. Later, she has a similar, stylized dream where poor cgi dresses adorn these "Evil Step-sisters". All of these events set the show up within the first episode. This cramming of exposition compounded with the stereotypical telenovela drama provides an enthralling hook for the series. It's Maria's ascent from poverty that provides significance for the piece, that and the hilarious expressions.

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