Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Telenovelas and Globalization

When I first entered the small, conference room in the Journalism Building at the beginning of the semester, I honestly thought I could easily get through this class without being impacted. I had never even heard of telenovelas and I really wasn’t a huge fan of Spanish in high school (because it was hard for me). Wow, was I wrong on so many levels. Immediately on the first day the topic of telenovelas grabbed my attention. But why? Did I enjoy the various dramatic love triangles? Did I find the actors attractive? The answer to both of those questions is yes, however, the main reason this class almost instantly interested me was the impact behind each and every telenovela. It is crazy for me to fully comprehend that this little industry that emerged in Cuba has managed to spread across the globe.
            In the article Romancing the Globe, the reach of telenovelas is emphasized allowing me to continue to be astounded by this industry that, a few months ago, I never even knew existed. Instantly, the article stunned me by stating that when the telenovela Marimar aired in 1994 it quickly became a global phenomenon. What stunned me the most about Marimar was the fact that mosques in the Ivory Coast in Africa issued the call to prayer early so that people would not miss an episode. That is crazy. They were basically putting this telenovela before their religion so that they would not miss a second of the juicy drama. The only thing I can relate that to would be the Super Bowl because that is the only time I can recall that my church ever moved the time of a mass. Other globalization examples include the fact that Latin American telenovela stars are often times mobbed by fans in places as far as Indonesia. Also, in post war Bosnia, US diplomats had to intervene so that the telenovela Kassandra could stay on air while the Bosnia Serb faction battled over control of the media. These few examples completely blow my mind because telenovelas have literally thrived through war.
In total, around 2 billion people around the world watch telenovelas. That is almost twice the size of China’s large population. Telenovelas originated in Cuba, spread to Latin America, then spread all over the world to places like the US, Europe, the Philippine, Cambodia, Cameroon, Kenya, and even Malaysia. Telenovelas have made huge names for themselves and it was super interesting getting to learn how telenovelas truly are WAY MORE than just melodramas. 

Thank you so much for really changing my perspective on the significance of telenovelas! I can honestly say I will remember what I learned in this class for many years to come!

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