Telenovelas in Brazil

Subject: Media
Type: Exploratory Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1142
Topics: Mass Media, Cultural Diversity, Emotions, Love

Telenovelas are typically known to be the long running Mexican dramas where no one seems to be able to speak in English. They are commonly aired in the evening. As much as telenovelas have come to be common in our televisions, it’s important to have a deeper understanding of its history, features, as well as future trends (La, 2012). Telenovelas are bound to be part of our television sets for a while.


Telenovelas emerged in Brazil during the Brazilian Miracle era. At this point in life, the government, through the military took matters into their hands and pushed away any foreign influence, including television programs. The Brazilian population was compelled to view local content, and hence the rise of telenovelas in the Brazilian culture. It is important to note that the idea of telenovelas is more of a regional thing, rather than a born child of Brazil. Mexico is still considered to be the source of telenovelas, even though Brazil has grown and taken over the market, almost monopolizing the industry. The “Brazilian miracle” took place between 1968 – 73, and thanks to that, telenovelas have grown to be the largest industry in the world. Today, more countries that ever are interested in these shows. The price of the sky was the first telenovela to be aired on television in 1959 (Sellers, 2005). Right from the beginning, the industry has tried to make their programs more sophisticated as a way of ensuring that all niches of their audience is satisfied.

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It is important to note that telenovelas are huge in almost all Latin countries. This is serious to the extent that some f the events that take place in the programs have the same effect as those shown on the daily news. These programs have been known to be twisted in a bid to add more drama and suspense. Telenovelas are largely known to be a uniting factor among the people that watch the programs. In most cases, the programs are set to have wealthy families, as well as poor families (Silva, 2015). In a typical sense, a poor girl would end up marrying a rich young man. The struggles that follow are often modified as a way of increasing the level of empathy between the poor and the rich.  These two calluses end up watching these telenovelas and at the end of it all, it has been proven to have strong influence on its viewership. Telenovelas are often known to be very different from the popular soap operas, where it is typical for a couple to fall in love or even leave happily ever after. These programs can be molded to show corruption, or even expose child labor in an entertainment forum. In the seventies, telenovelas were used to encourage the civilians in Brazil to stand against an oppressive government. Away from politics, the shows can take the form of comedy, or even action. Today, it is common to come across a number of superhero based telenovelas. The main idea is following the obstacles that one faces, as well as monitoring the way they will overcome the same. Millions can relate to such concepts and hence the mass influence

Telenovelas are known to be aired almost on a daily basis, for approximately one hour. In most cases, they are aired in the evening. In Brazil, it is common to find that bars are full between eight and ten in the evening, being that everyone is watching their favorite telenovela. These programs are also known to run for a period of six months on average. Each character is given a unique role that builds up towards the season finale.  The script writers are known to shoot a few episodes at a time, as a way of making the programs more flexible resulting from feedback from the viewers. These programs are known to be shoot in Latin, a language that millions can relate. They borrow a lot from the Latin culture, and even use traditional setting as a way of ensuring that their viewers can relate. It is common to see horses, or even traditional foods being served. The market has proven to be lucrative and hence more, and even better telenovelas are being produced.

Audience acceptance

Telenovelas have been known to be interpreted to more than fifty two languages globally. This is a direct result of a growing market that is already stuck to the programs. It is common to come across telenovelas that have been interpreted into English or French. Some go as far as adding captions to ensure that what is being said can reach the audience (Kreft, 2015). Over the years, the programs have been accepted even though some of their efforts to interpret from Latin come out as below global standards. The audiences have come to accept the overly dramatized gestures as a way of expressing emotions and the message being passed, rather than relying on the words. Today, the industry is still a multi-billion sector.

Future directions

More and more writers have opted to remake telenovelas according to the regions that they are bound to be aired. A typical example is the popular television series, Ugly Betty. This is an adaptation from a popular telenovela I am the, the ugly one. This allows the script writers to adequately customize the characters, and even the drama as a way of customizing the program, considering globalization. The future direction of telenovelas is great being that some of the stars in the programs are being assimilated into mainstream movies. Such moves are lucrative, apart from being exploited as means for expansion into new markets (Storgadd, 2011). Nations like Mexico and Brazil still use the programs as a way of enforcing certain social elements. The programs are still being strengthened as tools of influence among communities, especially during political or social unrest.


Right from the beginning, back in 1959, telenovelas have always stood out to have a bigger influence than simply being programs meant for entertainment. Today, more than ever, telenovelas are being used as a way of exposing the world the Latin culture. Being that most, if not all telenovelas are being produced in Latin America, it goes without say that the world is bound to be exposed to cultural elements. The programs are now commonly interpreted to more than fifty two languages globally. In order to ensure relevance even in the future, the genre has opted to adopt a remake strategy (Nivillac, 99). This allows them to make the same programs, but in different languages, allowing for more customization in global markets. Such trends are bound to sustain the steady growth, apart from the lucrative income. Some or the main cast are popular to the point where they are being used to popularize the telenovela culture in areas including Hollywood. The future of telenovelas looks bright.

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  1. Kreft, L. (January 01, 2015). Melodrama and telenovela. Maska, 20, 105-109.
  2. La, P. A. C. (2012). The telenovela way of knowledge: An ethnographic reception study among rural viewers in Brazil.
  3. Nivillac, M. (1999). The representations of masculinity and femininity as portrayed in selected telenovela.
  4. Sellers, J. A. (2005). Using cooperative learning in a content-based Spanish course: The Latin American telenovela.
  5. Silva, D. F. (January 01, 2015). The drama of modernity: A color and symbolic exclusion in the Brazilian telenovela. Black Brazil: Culture, Identity, and Social Mobilization, 339-361.
  6. Sivado, L. E. (2014). Six Ugly Betty characters stolen from beautiful Cinderella: The modern woman and telenovela.
  7. Storgaard, N. K., Valle, S. G. S., & Syddansk Universitet. (2011). “Life is like a telenovela”: A field study of mexican teenage girls’ identity work. Odense: Syddansk Universitet.
  8. Tracey, A. (2013). The telenovela method: How to learn Spanish using TV, movies, books, comics, and more.
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