Friday, February 28, 2014


Tonight is the finale of MENTIR PARA VIVIR at 7 p.m. ET on Univision. It was probably the best telenovela from Televisa last year over its first fifty episodes, but its quality dropped significantly over its second half and it is limping to the finish line.

Even the masterpieces of the telenovela format often have hiccups of a couple or so weeks, usually about two-thirds of the way through the run. You can take the bumps in the road because a good telenovela has already earned your trust, you believe the writers and producer will eventually right the ship, and usually they do. Not this time. Characters acting stupidly to drive plot, subplots stalled, a character ramping up to murderous insanity seemingly overnight, a significant addition to the cast occurring far too late in the telenovela’s run – the final weeks have been an unfortunate mess.

LO QUE LA VIDA ME ROBÓ (weeknights at 9 p.m. ET on Univision) is currently the most-watched telenovela in the US and Mexico and its success is well-deserved. The apparent ease and proficiency with which it manipulates the sympathies and emotions of its audience as it proceeds through its multitude of storylines, constantly shifting the relationships of its couple dozen characters, leaves you exasperated as to why all telenovelas can’t be this effective.

There is not a single subplot on this telenovela I don’t find interesting. That is rare because even in most good telenovelas there are parts I find myself fast-forwarding: the juvenile leads, the comic relief, or just a bad actor. One of the strengths of LO QUE LA VIDA ME ROBÓ is everything feels a part of the whole, nothing feels extraneous.

What I thought would be this telenovela’s biggest flaw – the over-familiarity of some of the storylines and character types – is surprisingly one of its best qualities. The inherent emotional power of the archetypes employed by this novela hit you full-on thanks to the quality of the performances – Sebastián Rulli’s orphan, now master of the house, reuniting with his servant mother played by Ana Bertha Espín, Osvaldo Benavides’s layabout scoundrel, Verónica Jaspeado’s ugly duckling and Ilithya Manzanilla’s dying swan are high points.

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 protected].


  1. well said about lo que la vida me robo, well acted, well written, well directed. this is a dream cast. i love everyone on this show. sooo good.

  2. Do u know when the finale is for lo Que la vida me robo