TELENOVELA WATCH: MARIDO EN ALQUILER Finale; LA IMPOSTORA Premiere; POR SIEMPRE MI AMOR Time Jump

MARIDO EN ALQUILER concludes tonight with a two-hour finale on Telemundo starting at 8 p.m. ET. It was a telenovela that started promisingly, but took a turn for the disastrous about a third of the way through and wound up one of the worst telenovelas of 2013. It seemed a case of the lunatics running the asylum. Actors were permitted to give some of the most grotesquely stupid performances I've seen in years, mugging mercilessly. Normally good actors were very bad in this telenovela and the normally bad actors were unwatchable. When half of the characters are cartoons it throws off the entire equilibrium of the world in which the telenovela takes place -- it makes the other half of the characters, the ones that are sane, seem stupid and ineffectual for putting up with the antics of the buffoons. There were dozens of decent subplots introduced in the novela, but almost all of them stalled out weeks ago, given pat unsatisfactory resolutions. The final plot turns shown in the previews were predictable months ago.


LA IMPOSTORA
LA IMPOSTORA premieres Tuesday, January 14 at 8 p.m. ET on Telemundo. It is the latest co-production between Telemundo and Mexican company Argos. Argos is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde company – they have produced a number of modern, serious, and rather pretentious telenovelas for Cadena Tres in Mexico, but I have found their recent collaborations with Telemundo far less interesting. I mostly enjoyed ROSA DIAMANTE (2012) but loathed EL SEÑOR DE LOS CIELOS, a lionization of the drug capo as Superman, and LA PATRONA (2013), whose spirit lies closely with those repugnant female revenge flicks of the 1970s like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

Of course, EL SEÑOR DE LOS CIELOS and LA PATRONA wound up being hits for Telemundo. A sequel is already in production for EL SEÑOR DE LOS CIELOS; and from the press release description of its story, LA IMPOSTORA seems a thematic cousin of LA PATRONA with its secret identity for ulterior motives plot.

“The story follows the fate of Blanca Guerrero, a lovely young waitress in a beach town on Mexico's Pacific coast who has an extraordinarily ability to imitate other people. A powerful Mexican businessman, Adriano Ferrer, notices her talent and hires her to impersonate a millionaire New York investor. As part of her mission, she infiltrates the household of the Altamira family to discover the whereabouts of Adriano's missing son. The plot gets complicated when she falls in love with Eduardo Altamira, the son of Raquel Altamira.”

Christian Bach plays Raquel Altamira. It looks like another strut and sneer role like her Antonia Guerra in LA PATRONA, but judging from the promos at least, Bach looks a little more animated here than her monotonous, somnambulistic portrayal in LA PATRONA, and she has thankfully ditched the terrible sing-song lilt with which she delivered literally every line in that one.

Sebastián Zurita, Bach's real life son with actor Humberto Zurita, plays Eduardo Altamira. It is his first lead protagonist role; that it coincidentally happens in a project starring his mother has to raise eyebrows considering his mediocre, leaden turns as a juvenile lead in EN NOMBRE DEL AMOR and CORAZÓN SALVAJE.

Lisette Morelos plays Blanca Guerrero. Her last two telenovelas for Argos have yet to air in the US, so the previous role for which most US audiences will remember her from was a supporting role in Telemundo's AURORA in 2011/12. Actually, Morelos is probably best known in the US as the grown-up protagonist of the 2000 kiddie novela CARITA DE ÁNGEL which has been rerun ad nauseam on Univision and UniMás/Telefutura.

Charismatic ham Manuel Landeta, last seen on the network in CORAZÓN VALIENTE, plays Adriano Ferrer. The cast also features Begoña Narváez, who was very funny and inventive in ROSA DIAMANTE; Mauricio Henao, last seen in LA TEMPESTAD though for US audiences, much of his performance wound up on the cutting-room floor courtesy Univision's re-editing; Jonathan Islas, Alpha Acosta, Julieta Grajales and Armando Silvestre.

The writer is Sebastián Arrau, whose previous novela for Telemundo, EL ROSTRO DE LA VENGANZA, was vile trash and one of the worst novelas I've seen in the last two years. LA IMPOSTORA is an adaptation of a Chilean telenovela from 1999 from Arrau and Coca Gómez called CERRO ALEGRE.


POR SIEMPRE MI AMOR
POR SIEMPRE MI AMOR (weeknights at 8 p.m. ET on Univision) featured a time jump of ten years last week. We knew the move was coming, and it was much needed as the novela was beginning to feel underpopulated. Now, the kids from the early stages of the telenovela can more fully enter the drama as young adults. It is a well-acted telenovela, but there are some major plot flaws, chief among them the central story of the daughter hating her new step-mother thanks to the poisoning of her mind by her wicked aunt. The conflict is not portrayed with enough complexity, it is one-dimensional and therefore, monotonous. Hopefully with Thelma Madrigal now assuming the role of the daughter, more layers can be added to the drama. (Though it must be added, the child actors were all very good.) Madrigal is joined by Pablo Lyle, Sofía Castro and Jade Fraser, a nice group of fresh, good young actors. Also Tania Lizardo entered the story playing a fairly far-fetched character. Lizardo is a pretty and appealing actress, but the story seems out of place, like a remnant from a much older telenovela.

RELATED:
- TELENOVELA WATCH: Best & Worst Telenovelas in 2013
- Monica Spear, 1984-2014

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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