Frederick Luis Aldama and Theresa N. Rojas

in Latino Studies

ISBN: 9780199913701
Published online March 2013 | | DOI:

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  • History of the Americas
  • US Cultural History


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The global popularity of telenovelas is reflected in the recent explosion of material that examines the growing impact of the genre on both cultural production and international markets. They are made in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, and in the United States (Miami). There have been important remakes that have, for instance, moved shows from their Latin American origins to the United States as with the Colombian Yo soy Betty, la fea remade in the United States as the popular prime-time show, Ugly Betty. Mexico’s largest export was Televisa’s telenovelas, with markets in 125 countries outside of Latin America. They are popular not just in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, but also in Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, and Sweden, as well as eastern Europe, Russia, India, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China, They are viewed in countries all over the world; for instance, while we have seen diminished interest in soap operas in the United States, there is a tremendous rise in popularity of telenovelas. There are several approaches to the study of telenovelas. Some seek to understand them as possible shapers of attitudes and behaviors, others to consider their production and distribution, and yet others seek to understand how they are built. Several areas of exploration and analysis include: (1) their shared generic features such as noncontinuous seriality: they average 120–200 episodes and run 2–5 days a week, with each storyline ending in total closure—unlike soap operas that continue indefinitely, telenovelas have large story arcs that have a final end; (2) their interwoven plots and subplots, which take place in domestic settings and revolve around romantic themes, class divisions, mysteries, comedic situations, teenagers, historical periods, and drug-related stories, among others; (3) the way that telenovelas touch on issues of class, race, and sexuality; (4) the importance of lens and frame (especially dramatic use of close-ups); and (5) production constraints such as budget and audience approval.

Article.  2678 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; US Cultural History

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