3 reasons why watching Latin soap operas as a kid wasn’t a complete waste of time and one reason I shouldn’t have watched them
As a regular kid born in the 90s in Romania, telenovelas, cartoons, playing and fighting with other kids outdoors were part of our daily routine.Not in that particular order, but…you get the point.
Our moms and grandmas loved Jose Armando and the beautiful but poor girl who fell in love with him… Dads and grandfathers… still preferred football and action movies with almost the same plot and actors. So we weren’t so different after all.
Little boys were disgusted by telenovelas, of course, but little girls…well, here the story changes a bit. Of course, I loved cartoons (Scooby-Doo and the Flinstone Family ruled) but apparently, I love dramatic love stories with a happy end. Do you think I was the only little girl who binge-watched telenovelas? No, no. Some of my friends and colleagues watched them too. That’s why if you go to Romania today, you will come across many millennial women who speak Spanish. They didn’t take any online courses if that is what they are trying to sell you.
So, let’s begin with the reasons I don’t regret watching… you know what:
1. I learned Spanish. Exactly. I don’t want to brag, but my Spanish sounds pretty good, due to the years spent in front of the TV. I couldn’t disappoint a native speaker, I am sure. And to be honest, I love the language. It’s easy-going like a flowy, colorful dress on a hot summer day, relaxing like a Bob Marley song but can be intense and passionate as well. For me, it’s a range of emotions, not just a language.
2. I developed good taste in music. At least, that’s my unpopular opinion. Latin music is anything but boring. I remember when the telenovela was about to start, I would wait for the theme songs because I couldn’t hear them somewhere else. I didn’t have Internet access to listen to whatever I want, and the music you could buy in stores didn’t sell telenovelas music, of course. Nowadays, romantic, Spanish songs still make part of my playlist and I enjoy them as much as I did when I was a kid.
3. I got in touch with Mexican culture. Beyond the poverty and crimes I have seen in telenovelas, I have also seen cheerful and humble people, a variety of colorful and interesting food, breath-taking places, and beautiful traditions. And all of these make part of their reality. Of course, when I grew up and I could explore more about Mexico and their culture with the help of our friend, Google, I discovered more about the Mexican lifestyle and I fell in love even harder. If there are any Venezuelans, Colombians, or Brazilians reading this article I hope they won’t take it personally, but Mexican telenovelas for me were the best, also because I love the way they express themselves. ‟Chinga tu madre” was my favorite phrase, I don’t know why 😊
Here comes the only reason I consider I shouldn’t have watched any telenovela (ok, maybe just Rebelde, that one was so cool even my male cousin watched it stealthily)
I grew up and developed my personality believing that true love can defeat all, and always wins. And not only true love, kindness, and justice in general. I also believed for many years the perfect man and the perfect woman exists. I believed people are very good, or very bad. There was no shade of grey because in telenovelas everything is black and white. All I have seen invaded my subconscious, creating harmful and false beliefs about the world we are living in. The good thing is that I managed to wake up to reality and accept it as it is, with all its colors and non-colors.
I will end up this article with a funny confession: I loved telenovelas so much that, at some point, when I was 13 or 14 years old, my grandma said to me:
‟Nemira, let’s watch something else. They are all the same.”
I was like: ‟How dare you? You cant do this to me. I need to know what happened to Maria Desamparada (desamparada means helpless in Spanish, and was the name of the main character).”
So, tell me your thoughts on these intense, melodramatic, romantic Latin series. Did you watch them? Did you like them? If so, have you learned something from them? Comment below!