ALBORADA: Or, "Why YOU Should Watch Telenovelas"I was flipping through channels the other night, looking for something to watch during my workout, when suddenly I saw a familiar face. It was Fernando Colunga, a Mexican actor I hadn't seen since the last time I watched a telenovela…several years ago.
Fernando has changed. Fernando is hot. Fernando has long locks and has apparently discovered either a personal trainer or steriods. In the intervening years, he's also acquired a wrinkle between his eyebrows and I haven't, so I feel quite warmly disposed toward him.
Anyway, I had to watch whatever it was. It turned out to be the fabulous historical costume drama, Alborada (the word means "sunrise"). Only five minutes into it I was asking myself, "Why did I stop watching telenovelas?"
Alborada is an instant classic-- everyone is married to the wrong sister or brother, everyone is pregnant by the wrong man, the hero and the villain were switched at birth, the heroine is nobly born but illegitimate and was forced to work as a laundress in a whore house…and so on.
It's as if someone in the script department decided not to compromise on genres: "Should we do a cowboy theme or a historical theme? How about both? Should we have a secret baby plot or an amnesia plot or an estranged half sisters plot? Hell, make it all of the above!" In an outstanding grace note, the villain is a licentious pervert with a widow's peak enhanced by black eye pencil, who tries to imprison virtuous women in brothels and talks to his dinner guests through a pervy painted porcelain mask. What's pervy about a porcelain mask, you might ask? Just watch the show already.
Unfortunately, the villain was shrieking at his wicked mother when my husband (The Professor) walked in. I had totally stopped doing oblique crunches and lunges, and was splayed on the bed instead, with my jaw hanging open, trying to figure out who the villain's father was. The Professor looked at the screen with a half-smile on his face and asked me what I was watching. I tried to explain how "Alborada" is must-see TV, but he just gave a laugh and when the heroine came onscreen, he remarked, "Is that actress Lucero? She looks old." Then he left the room. No, he did not pat my head first.
So The Professor didn't get it, but I think you will, my blog-buddies. You'll know what I mean when I say that Alborada kicks the sorry ass of just about any American show I can think of. It's all about storytelling, and Alborada doesn't have just one story, it has more like twenty-five. You don't need to know Spanish, either.
Don't forget to watch for the porcelain mask. And the extra-pretty horsies. And the good-hearted prostitute. And the vile henchmen. And the dwarf.