TELENOVELA WATCH: POR ELLA SOY EVA, PABLO ESCOBAR First Thoughts Plus, UNA MAID EN MANHATTAN, CORAZON APASIONADO

POR ELLA…SOY EVA (weeknights at 8 p.m. ET on Univision) premiered this week, a Televisa comedy telenovela that breaks up the similarly toned, mostly dramatic telenovelas currently on Univision’s primetime schedule.  I confess, I’m generally not a fan of Televisa’s comedies, and through three episodes of POR ELLA, that hasn’t really changed.

POR ELLA…SOY EVA is a remake of a 2006 Colombian telenovela called EN LOS TACONES DE EVA that starred Jorge Enrique Abello.  The best scene so far in POR ELLA is a direct lift from that previous version: the male protagonist, Juan Carlos Caballero (Jaime Camil), stealthily watches from afar as the female protagonist, Helena Moreno (Lucero), lays flowers at his grave.  Juan Carlos, moved, is about to reveal himself to her when another of his ex-lovers arrives at his grave, followed by another, and another, accompanied by a mariachi band, until a whole host women arrive en masse prompting Helena to leave in a fury declaring Juan Carlos not deserving of their tears.

The story then flashes back to months earlier.  Juan Carlos, an inveterate womanizer and male chauvinist, costs the hotel and tourism development company he works for a major contract with an American company when he is caught with the wrong woman.  Meanwhile, Helena, a single mother who works for the same company, is fired, she believes by Juan Carlos.  Juan Carlos is ordered by his boss to come up with a project to replace the one he lost or he’ll be fired.  Juan Carlos sets about trying to seduce Helena in an attempt to finagle a promising tourism development project she’s developed away from her, donning an Argentine accent and Argentine alias, Juan Perón.

POR ELLA…SOY EVA is very much a star project for Jaime Camil, especially considering a later transformation his character manifests.  I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll find that later transformation somewhat more convincing than his Don Juan routine, which, while occasionally funny, is also pretty cartoonish, a bit like a live-action Pepé Le Pew.  Lucero is as fine an actress as there is working for Televisa and it is always a pleasure to see her on the screen, but I wonder if this show will give her much to do.  The first week was fairly slim pickings, though she did have a nice moment where she led a mini revolt of her fellow fired employees, all women, only to be carried out of the building, kicking and screaming.  It’s interesting to see Lucero taking a somewhat backseat role in what is very much Camil’s show; a great deal of her performance so far has consisted of beaming radiant smiles at Camil’s antics.  I just wish I was enamored with them.

Also with Jesús Ochoa as Juan Carlos’s boss, Marcelo Córdoba and Mariana Seoane as the villains; Paty Navidad is also in the cast but her character hasn’t shown up yet.

PABLO ESCOBAR: EL PATRÓN DEL MAL
The pace slowed down the second week of PABLO ESCOBAR: EL PATRÓN DEL MAL (weeknights at 10 p.m. ET on Telemundo) - after the first week swept through approximately twenty-five years, this week focused on 1982 and Pablo’s political ambitions.  As more “characters” out of real life enter the story and tread toward their inevitable historical fate, it makes for a rather somber viewing experience.

For me, the domestic conflicts between Pablo (Andrés Parra) and his wife Paty (Cecilia Navia) remain dramatically inert and too repetitive - Pablo is possessive of Paty while philandering around the world (Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Miami) on “business,” Paty is suspicious but unable to prove anything – each episode seems to have a very slight variation on that theme.  This story strand did provide one of the rare instances of humor on the show as Pablo, in a jealous fit, had a couple of his men remove a fictionalized simulacrum of the Venezuelan singer “El Puma” José Luis Rodríguez from a party after Paty showed him too much attention.  As the week ended, Angie Cepeda entered the story as Pablo’s newscaster mistress which will hopefully break some of the monotony in the scenes depicting Pablo’s personal sphere.

MAID FINALE
The finale of UNA MAID EN MANHATTAN is this Monday, July 23rd at 8 p.m. ET on Telemundo.  UNA MAID is a prime example of a telenovela whose quality suffered due to its success – it featured a pretty thin plot that was pleasantly told with good performances that would have made a perfectly fine 90 to 110 episode telenovela that, because it maintained decent viewing figures throughout its run, ended up being stretched, through padding, stall devices and repetitive story beats, to an unreasonable 160 episodes.  Some of the same complaints apply to LA QUE NO PODÍA AMAR (10 p.m. ET on Univision, now in its final weeks), which has a more complicated story, but was also stuck in stall mode for what seemed a couple months.

Starting Tuesday, ROSA DIAMANTE will expand to an hour and fill MAID’s spot.

CORAZÓN APASIONADO FINALE
Also wrapping up this week is CORAZÓN APASIONADO (weekdays at 1 p.m. ET on Univision) on Friday, July 27th.  This Marlene Favela/Guy Ecker telenovela looks to be the latest casualty of Univision’s exasperating practice of editing to pieces a telenovela they want to rush off the air.  These butcher jobs are so commonly applied to the Venevision International productions Univision airs in the afternoons, it’s hardly worth committing to watching one because you know the final weeks will probably be ruined by the network’s scissors.  To my knowledge, the only Televisa production to meet a similar fate was LLENA DE AMOR, though the editing of that telenovela wasn’t as severe as that reserved for the Venevision shows – it only had its final months cut in half, the Venevision productions usually have their final couple months, around fifty episodes, reduced to a couple weeks, or ten episodes.  I recognize television is a business and if a show’s viewing figures aren’t high enough, the network may need to shorten a program’s run, but surely Univision could at least put the remaining, full, non-edited episodes of the telenovela online for viewers who would actually like to see the final weeks of the show as they were supposed to be seen, not in an incomprehensible muddle.

The 2009 Televisa telenovela SORTILEGIO, starring William Levy, Jacqueline Bracamontes, David Zepeda and Ana Brenda Contreras, will be re-run in this afternoon timeslot starting on July 30th.


RELATED:

R.G. Morin writes a weekly column for We Love Soaps, "Telenovela Watch: A weekly look at the world of telenovelas for non-Spanish speakers." For feedback or questions, you can email R.G. Morin   at argeemorin@hotmail.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment