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TELENOVELA WATCH: ROSA DIAMANTE Ending; PASIÓN PROHIBIDA Premieres Jan. 22; ¿QUIÉN ERES TÚ? Pulled

ROSA DIAMANTE comes to an end this Monday, January 21 at 8 p.m. ET on Telemundo. The last week of a telenovela often brings to mind a line from the cult televisionseries MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, the show with the little silhouettes sitting in the movie theater lobbing comments at a cheesy movie: “Okay people, everybody wear eye protection – there’s a lot of loose ends flying together all at once.”

That was the prevailing sentiment I had watching last week’s chaotic happenings on ROSA DIAMANTE, a flurry of hastily executed revelations and comeuppances. When a telenovela hits its audience with all its plotand subplot resolutions at once rather than staggering out the tying of plot threads in the preceding weeks, it makes for eventful and exiting episodes, but awfully sloppy writing and little in the way of emotional payoff. Most of the revelations required subordinate villains to suddenly inexplicably confess their misdeeds or else the protagonists would still be clueless.

Ultimately, ROSA DIAMANTE managed to be a fairly entertaining ride without ever quite coalescing into an outright good telenovela, remaining far too inconsistent. Large chunks of story emphasized and given importance early on werealmost entirely dropped, in particular the corporate angle – the wrangling for control of the family business and the rivalry between the two family companies. Taking its place were unfortunately typical Telemundo sensationalistic junk like a human trafficking story from out of nowhere. ROSA DIAMANTE also never quite managed to get the “big moments” right, a shortcoming made all the more conspicuous when compared to the recent, similarly themed UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR, which hit every big emotional reveal out of the ballpark.

The biggest flaw of ROSA DIAMANTE was the male and female protagonists played by Mauricio Ochmann and Carla Hernández were mostly sidelined in the second half of the telenovela. Both characters spent large chunks of time in prison, neither were given much to actually do in the last weeks, reduced to reactionist roles rather than actively driving story. While they were beingsidelined in prison, Lupita Ferrer ended up getting sidelined in the story with her character first drugged for weeks, then amnesiac. About the last active move Carla Hernández’s heroine was allowed was deeply satisfying - her “kidnapping” Lupita Ferrer’s character away from the villains and taking care of her. Throughout ROSA DIAMANTE, the best scenes were those between Hernández and Ferrer, a contrast in performance styles that served the characters’ relationship beautifully.

Without protagonists driving the story, the villains were able toride roughshod over the novela. They were an entertaining bunch played by Luciana Silveyra, Constantino Costas and especially Begoña Narváez, who was given the juiciest material in the final weeks, of which she took full advantage, stealing the show.

PASIÓN PROHIBIDA premieres
PASIÓN PROHIBIDA will take ROSA DIAMANTE’s 8 p.m. ET slot on Telemundo starting Tuesday, January 22. A Telemundo Miami production adapted by Juan Camilo Ferrand from the popular Turkish series ASK-I MEMNU, PASIÓN PROHIBIDA is a vengeful daughteragainst her domineering mother story. Mónica Spear (LA MUJER PERFECTA; FLOR SALVAJE) stars at Bianca Santillana, a beautiful young woman whose father dies of a heart attack after discovering his wife, Flavia, played by Rebecca Jones (PARA VOLVER A AMAR), with another man. Bianca marries a rich widower played by Roberto Vander (LOS HEREDEROS DEL MONTE) whom her mother hoped to marry, but then finds herself drawn to the older man’s nephew, Bruno, played by Jencarlos Canela (MÁS SABE EL DIABLO).

The cast includes Mercedes Molto (RELACIONES PELIGROSAS), Henry Zakka (UNA MAID EN MANHATTAN), Sabrina Seara (VÁLGAME DIOS), Carmen Aub (NIÑAS MAL), Pepe Gámez, Jorge Consejo (RELACIONES PELIGROSAS), Liannet Borrego (EL FANTASMA DE ELENA), Priscila Perales (CORAZÓN VALIENTE) and Sharlene Taule.

¿QUIÉN ERES TÚ? pulled
Unfortunately, it only took two weeks for the wariness I expressed two columns ago regarding UniMás/Telefutura’s treatment of their prime time telenovelas to prove justified as the new RTI production ¿QUIÉN ERES TÚ? will be pulled from the schedule starting Monday, January 21, a decision made after just a week of episodes, replaced by a rerun of the depraved and dreary ROSARIO TIJERAS.

It’s a shame as judging by its first two weeks, ¿QUIÉN ERES TÚ? is a good telenovela, and good telenovelas will find their audience so long as they are promoted and scheduled properly, two undertakings long proven beyond the capabilities of the network, regardless of its name.

The outright cancellation of a telenovela by a network is rare(and after only 10 episodes, ridiculous) and looking at the current schedule at UniMás it is hard to believe they could not find a spot to move the show – a schedule which will now include a ludicrous nine hours of telenovela reruns versus the single hour of its first-run novela (the fine MADE IN CARTAGENA), as well as two-hours devoted to a midnight repeat of their prime time movie offerings – such opuses as KOMODO VS. COBRA and Steven Seagal flicks from the groundbreaking “Paunch Phase” of his career dubbed into Spanish.

For telenovela fans, the cancellation of ¿QUIÉN ERES TÚ? just furthers the ongoing deterioration of the network over the past few years as it now floods airtime with reruns of decade old Televisa telenovelas – most getting their third or even fourth US airings–instead of first-run productions. The days when Telefutura would air first-run Venezuelan productions like LA MUJER DE JUDAS or MI PRIMA CIELA or Colombian productions like LA POLA and EL ÚLTIMO MATRIMONIO FELIZ, are increasingly seeming a thing of the past.

RELATED:
- TELENOVELA WATCH: First Thoughts On CORONA DE LÁGRIMAS & LA MARIPOSA (December 8, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: Strong Start For LA MARIPOSA; LOS REY Loosely Inspired On DALLAS (December 15, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: Best & Worst Of The Year (January 1, 2013)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: TeleFutura Relaunches As UniMás (January 6, 2013)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: UniMás Premieres Three Shows, And A Trio Of Villains In The Spotlight (January 14, 2013)

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 argeemorin@hotmail.com.

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