The disconnect

“Theresa in three stations”: The new soap opera from Tves.

State TV channel Tves launched a new soap opera this week, in order to get out of the last place of the ratings.

The premiere of Teresa en tres estaciones received a heavy push of publicity, thanks to communicational hegemony. The first episode was seen not only in Tves, but in VTV as well. They could put it in cadena nacional if Chavez said so.

I took my chances and watched it out of curiosity. I gave up after 15 minutes.

The saddest part of the whole enterprise is not that it is bad, but that is simply more of the same. With the exceptions of the setting, the program follows the same cliches, the same story formulas and the same bad acting Venezuelan audiences have gotten used to for decades.

But Teresa fails in other aspect: it feels like a half-hour commercial for the National Train Institute (IFE). One of the main characters works there, and the stories are set around the Caracas-Tuy Valley line. The main writer has denied that the project was meant to be propaganda, but it looks that way. Like Battleship was a 200-million US$ toy advertising.

And there’s where the disconnect between what the Chavernment wants to present in its “cultural battle” and the everyday life of today: a Venezuela where no major problems exist, expect the personal little dramas every person has. Where everyone is content.

The Caracas-Tuy train service has been facing problems for quite some time. Delays caused by mechanical failures are a common occurrence, including a tragic collision last year. But the breaking point was reached on the morning of October 18th: some passengers forced a train conductor to change its course. That, combined with a lack of information, sparked a riot in the train station of Cúa. Footage of the incident (above) does speak for itself.

Soap operas, like other works of fiction are not supposed to be always 100% accurate, but when reality is adapted well beyond the suspension of disbelief, in order to embrace an ideological or political narrative, then audiences could be alienated. Skipping to the end: if the State’s cultural policy is like its communicational policy, the final result will be a flop.

Les dejo esta perlita: The inspiration of Teresa came from the comandante presidente.

13 thoughts on “The disconnect

  1. More of the same? Do the characters live in mansions and entertain us with their love triangles, fits of rage, prejudices and deceits?

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  2. “Hello, my name is Hugo Chávez, and I pitch ideas to screenplay writers. My last effort, “Zamora”, broke the national record for lowest number of entries, ever. I’m also behind Chalbaud’s radically innovative (if you’re in the 1940s I mean) “talk directly to the camera” narrative style, as exposed in “El Caracazo”, another great money-losing cinematographic venture. I hope I can just keep the winning streak going with a ripoff of ICAC’s “Lista de espera”, badly shot and acted”.

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  3. So in the end, someone will get for real the suggestion of that gaita “Las cadenas de Chávez” the one that suggested a Delia Fiallo soap Starring the man himself with Lupita Ferrer

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  4. Maybe chavismo is set to discredit not only Socialism but also the usual telenovela format for Venezuelans.

    Win : Win

    Nope, I don’t think a TVES telenovela will be watched, much.

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    • When I find something about the ratings, I’ll post it.

      Soap operas is for me a zombie genre: It’s dead in the creative side, but the laziness of producers and audiences is keeping it alive anyway.

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  5. I did not watch it, but I think that it *is* different from the usual lore in that two of the protagonistas are people of color, including the young man with dreadlocks. if this is the case, bravo to Tves!

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  6. Como te dije anteriormente, no te voy a dar cuerda, Syd. Todos conocemos túl tendencia a buscar pleitos por todos lados y tus problemas psicológicos. Espero que tengas un domingo maravilloso. Saludos a Sydney, LOL.

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  7. Gustavo, thank you for making me spend one of the worst few minutes of my life. Because of your post, I got curious and went to check Youtube. I’m still getting goosebumps… There’s bad, then there’s terrible, then there’s awful and then, like, 100 levels afterwards and beyond, there’s “Teresa”.
    Now I’ll be heading to the nearest corner to cry and call my mommy.

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