The protagonists of AMOR BRAVÍO (weeknights at 10 p.m. ET on Univision), Daniel (Cristián de la Fuente) and Camila (Silvia Navarro), made love for the first time this week. As is becoming too frequent an annoyance, the scene was expurgated by Univision. The censorship of this scene was not as clumsily rendered as Camila's love-scene dream from a couple weeks ago where the Vincente Fernández sung theme playing over the scene suddenly jumped forward like a skipping record accentuating the edits, but it was noticeable nonetheless. Watching the full Televisa versions of the scenes and comparing them with what Univision decided to remove left me scratching my head as there is nothing the least bit objectionable in what hit the cutting room floor, literally a couple more close ups of the couple kissing and a shot of Navarro’s bare back.At this point, it seems Univision is merely censoring the love scenes for the sake of censorship.
It may seem fastidious to be harping on what amounts to a few seconds of cuts, but there is a glaring lack of respect for the programs Univision is airing betrayed by this senseless censorship. The directors, performers, crew, and editors work to put together an emotionally satisfying scene; the length and sequence of shots and rhythms of the editing were chosen toward achieving that goal. The indiscriminate censorship of shots vitiates the scenes and robs the audience of the opportunity of seeing the work as it was intended by its creators to be seen.
This week on AMOR BRAVÍO also saw Luzma (Mariana Van Rankin) finding the courage to reveal to Daniel the identity of her rapist, her uncle Leoncio (José Elías Moreno). Daniel viciously pummeled Leoncio before taking him to the police where Luzma made a statement. After an examination by a doctor, it was revealed Luzma was pregnant with her rapist’s child. The doctor laid out the options for Luzma, including abortion which is permitted by law in the state in Mexico where the novela is set because the pregnancy was a result of a rape. Luzma’s mother is horrified by the notion of her daughter having an abortion, but Camila makes clear that the decision is Luzma’s to make and she will support her.
This being a Mexican telenovela from Televisa, there is virtually no chance that Luzma will choose to have an abortion, despite her pregnancy being the result of an incestuous rape. Abortion in Televisa telenovelas is almost exclusive to villains, and they usually suffer some additional punishment directly attributable to the abortion. Luzma being the juvenile protagonist all but rules that option out for her. As craven narratively as it may seem, the telenovela gods very often will intervene on behalf of the heroine and prevent an incestuous birth through an accidental miscarriage, thus, sparing the heroine ultimate responsibility of making a choice in the matter.
UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR
Friday’s episode of UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR (weeknights at 7 p.m. ET on Univision) concluded with a promo announcing the telenovela is in its “final stage” and “last chapters.” It is rare, with today’s novelas featuring longer and longer runs, to see a telenovela proceed with no significant longueurs, but with the finish line in view, in my opinion, UN REFUGIO will manage to accomplish just that.
This week featured another eventful family dinner at the Torreslanda residence. After Roselena (Laura Flores)discovered the identity of her husband’s, Maximino’s (Roberto Blandón), mistress, Roselena convened a family dinner where she planned to humiliate her husband by revealing this secret to their daughter, Jana (Ilean Almaguer). Maximino, though, revealed his infidelity to Jana earlier in the day, stealing Roselena’s thunder. A touching scene followed with the three Torreslanda siblings, Jana, Rodrigo (Gabriel Soto), and Patricio (Brandon Peniche), quietly commiserating with each other over the shattered idealizations of their parents and the sad, terribly flawed realities.
Friday’s episode saw the story move five years into the future. I usually find this type of time jump late in a novela’s run extremely difficult to pull off convincingly as it requires the characters to sit in a holding pattern, developmentally and emotionally over that time jump, to be picked up again as the story resumes. The characters grow older, their fortunes may change, but ultimately, the stories are picked up right where they were left off.
Telemundo announced Friday Jencarlos Canela and Mónica Spear will be the protagonists of their upcoming telenovela titled PASIÓN PROHIBIDA. The news spurred a social media kerfuffle as fans of Canela and actress Gaby Espino, previously paired in the 2009 telenovela MÁS SABE EL DIABLO and now a real life couple whose fans go by the portmanteau name “Espinelas,” were hoping to see their favorites paired again.
This sort of fandom that develops around actors rather than characters, where fans desire to see the same pairing through subsequent telenovelas, seems almost unique to this format. I can feel for these fans, but given the rarity at which we see the repetition of actors as protagonists, this type of fandom almost seems an exercise in futility, yet still it persists, from disappointment to disappointment, Lucy perpetually pulling the football before Charlie Brown can kick it.
Given Telemundo’s telenovela output initiated so far this year has ranged from the mediocre (ROSA DIAMANTE), botched (RELACIONES PELIGROSAS), dreary (EL ROSTRO DE LA VENGANZA), and ghastly (CORAZÓN VALIENTE), it is getting to the point where I cringe at the thought of seeing my favorite performers attached to the studio’s product. (It is the first time I can remember every Televisa novela currently playing on Univision is superior to every novela on Telemundo, excluding the non-Telemundo production PABLO ESCOBAR.) On the other hand, what little art evident this year on Telemundo’s novelas is courtesy of performers like Ana Layevska and Gregorio Pernía, who like the imp in the fairy story, manage to somehow spin straw into gold.
The initial casting reports for PASIÓN PROHIBIDA feature a pair of past alchemists in Spear, who in the Venezuelan productions MI PRIMA CIELA, CALLE LUNA, CALLE SOL, and LA MUJER PERFECTA, and last year’s Telemundo production FLOR SALVAJE, has proven herself to be as versatile and talented an actress as there is working in telenovelas today, and Rebecca Jones, a wonderful actress too rarely on our screens, who is rumored to play the villain.
- TELENOVELA WATCH: The Latest on AMOR BRAVIO, UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR & ROSA DIAMANTE! Plus, CORAZON VALIENTE & EL ROSTRO DE LA VENGANZA (September 29, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: A Look At EL CAPO 2, Now English Friendly; Plus, AMOR BRAVIO & EL ROSTRO DE LA VENGANZA (October 6, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR's Final Weeks, BELLA CALAMIDADES Comes To U.S.; Plus, AMOR BRAVIO, ROSA DIAMANTE & EL ROSTRO DE LA VENGANZA (October 13, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: CORAZONES BLINDADOS Premieres Monday! Plus, ROSA DIAMANTE, AMOR BRAVIO & UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR (October 20, 2012)
R.G. Morin writes a regular 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 email@example.com.