We want Latino media projects to succeed.
We need Latino media projects to succeed.
Television, film and music are the primary vehicles, through which the world learns about our Latino culture and history.
Somewhere over the past 30 years, school systems and books abdicated this role: TV, movies and tunes are all we have left.
For this reason, the new NBC TV show Telenovela is an enormous disappointment. Starring and produced by Eva Longoria, it is filled with Latino stereotypes, absurd situations and buffoonish characters.
These characters are painful to watch: so vain, superficial and self-involved, that nothing they say or do is remotely interesting.
Worse yet, the show isn’t even funny.
Fake Latino accents are not funny. A gay man binge-eating in a bathroom stall is not funny. An actress upstaging everyone in her personal and professional life is not funny. Narcissism is not funny. It is a cultural disease. And every character in this TV show is profoundly, pathologically narcissistic.
The producers of this show should look up the definition of bathos: “an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous.”
Telenovela is bathetic.
It takes a sublime window of opportunity – a prime-time network comedy about Latinos in Miami – and turns it into a trivial and tasteless mofongo of sight gags, gay jokes, female snark, macho posturing, and celebrity gazing. The show feels written by a roomful of 14-year olds, all vying for attention and cheap laughs.
The only thing that could save this show would be Erik Estrada. He should star in every episode, but without a script. He could just stagger from one scene to the next, without a clue what was happening around him, and we could watch his attempt to “act” his way through it.
In effect, we would be watching episodes of Lassie, though the show could be called Erik & Eva.
For the sake of other Latino projects in the network/studio pipeline, I hope that Telenovela succeeds, despite its relentless stupidity.
For the sake of our culture at large, Telenovela deserves a quick and merciful death.
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