Telenovelas, or as I knew them growing up in the USA, soap operas, have been a constant in my life ever since that fateful day I saw the Young and the Restless for the first time. Sitting cross legged on the carpeted floor of my friend Jenny's house, her mom a fan of the Y&R, would let me watch while my friend begged that we go play. However, at home, my mother never watched a soap opera or a telenovela. She is a rarity among Mexican women her age because she has never liked telenovelas.
Exposure: TelenovelasI had never seen a Mexican telenovela until I moved to Mexico City in 1998 while studying a semester abroad at the Universidad Iberamericana Santa Fe. My boricua (Puertorican for those unfamiliar with the term) roomate, Beatriz, was my own personal resident expert on all things Mexican and she got me hooked. Beatriz, at the time was smack in the middle of a love affair with Mexico and all things Mexican. She convinced me to go with her to the Cervantino, she insisted I try new foods, chapulines (crickets) chilaquiles, anything instead of pizza. With Beatriz I climbed to the top of "El Cerro del Tepozteco" and once every week day, we would sit in front of our furnished apartment's television to watch Beatriz's favorite telenovela.
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During the years that I've lived in Mexico I've shied away from telenovelas, finding those produced by TV Azteca and Televisa irritatingly bad. They are either re-makes of old telenovelas, adaptations of other countries telenovelas or just plain insulting. Last night, however, I sat down to watch Las Aparicio. Las Aparicio is not produced byTelevisa or Azteca, but Argos . It first aired last year on Cadena Tres. It is is about a very unique family, The Aparicios.
In many Latin American countries, Mexico included, children use both parent's surnames and in the case of the Aparicio, three sisters from three different fathers, fathers who each died under very strange circumstances, all share their mother's surname as their first and only last name. ( Aparicio is Spanish, Castillan if I am to believe a website on surname origens). The word "aparicio" is very similiar the words "aparecer" and "aparencias" which mean "to look like" and "appearances", respectively. "Aparició" with the accent on the last o, means "to have appeared". As is the case in any part of the world, appearances are so very important to people, and the Mexican upper middle class is no exception. Las Aparicios´ world is one where appearances, as they so often do, deceive. The family is surrounded by scandal, loss, sadness and triumph. Rafaela, the three times widow and her three gorgeous daughters, Alma, Mercedes and Julia must deal with the stereotypes placed on women in Mexican society. This program´s relevance in Mexican society stems from its portrayal of gender roles, sexuality, and sexual orientation; topics that are still difficult to discuss in Mexico. In the very first show, the youngest of the Aparicio, Julia has a hot and steamy romp with her best friend Mariana in her bedroom. Mariana stops Julia and says "si aqui la lencha soy yo". Lencha is a Mexican slang term for lesbian and word not often used or heard on Mexican television (click here for an interesting look into lesbian life in Mexico). If these first two shows are any indication, I am in for a lot of entertainment and topics to discuss in the future here on the blog and out and about with all those I encounter while living life in MY Mexico.
For more on Las Aparicio, please visit these sites:
De Telenovelas Blog http://detelenovelas.com/tag/las-aparicio/