Telenovelas — Another Article About 2003

Jeffrey McGee
5 min readOct 15, 2021

I was never really into soaps

A lot of my articles revolve around stuff that happened 20 years ago, give or take. I believe that the main reason for this is that, as I see it, all the good things are in the past, but it’s probably me getting grumpier with age. Whatever the reason, I find less excitement in everything that happens today, which leads me to reminisce about “the times when video games were cooler” in the form of written articles.

But there was always something to get excited about, as there were many things that happened in the early 2000s (which is probably the better half of the 2000s), and not just video games, but other media as well. To be specific, I’m referring to the kind of things that you see on television. Well, I don’t know about “you” specifically since I have no idea about the telenovela subculture in America. And I’m deliberately saying “America” because most of my articles are mostly inspired by American culture. But this one’s different since it’s a bit more esoteric. But yes, I’m talking about telenovelas, which are Spanish soap operas for lack of a better term.

But there are specifically TWO that pop to my mind whenever the subject is brought up in my vicinity. Those two telenovelas that I’m referring to, in this exact order, are Chiquititas and Rebelde Way.

What’s so special about these two?

Good question. Frankly, not even I am sure about this myself. I can say for a fact that while they were around, they were a big thing in my country, at least among the youth at that time. But the main reason that these two probably stick in my head the most is that I had a friend who was an extreme fanatic of these things when we were younger. Come to think of it, he probably still is considering how much he was into it at the time (I can’t imagine that it left him). But I can’t be too sure about it since I haven’t talked to him for a while.

But yes, I suppose that one particular friend is the dominant reason I haven’t forgotten either of these Argentine dramas. So what were they exactly? Well… I already made it clear that I was never into these things, so I’m not the guy to ask. I think Chiquititas might have been about a foster family filled with girls or something like that, and Rebelde Way was about a group of pretentious teens who have more money than they need and use their parents’ reputation to make everyone else’s life a living hell (in other words, they’re spoiled rich kids). It’s also interesting to note that part of the latter’s popularity was because it cast the actors who appeared in the former, except when they were teens and not children (so everyone was like, “now they hit puberty, so it’s cool”). The best part is that this interpretation comes from a guy who never really understood that subculture because I was always just side-watching when my friend came over, and back then, there weren’t DVRs, so he had to watch it live aired, and it was my house. It’s a fun story, but that was twenty-something years ago.

The problem is not whatever happened on either of these shows (as in, the content) or any other telenovela for that matter. It’s that it doesn’t come in other languages… at least not where I’m from.

I never really understood why

First of all, it’s important to understand that some countries out there do not see it fit to include in their budget things such as minimum wages for voice actors or… anything else that has to do with voice acting. This is why some countries have dubs for shows that are mainly meant for adults, like Friends and Seinfeld, while others don’t. That needs to change if things are to work, especially regarding the country’s culture.

Of course, that’s a long shot. Not that it matters too much since most countries don’t mind it, as only a few don’t see it worthy of their time and money. But in their countries, I suppose that a group of willing voice actors could help make it somewhat more appealing to an unfamiliar audience.

But then again, I’m not in any region where these things are/were popular, so if I said something, I clearly wouldn’t know what I’m going to talk about. So for good measure, I won’t further indulge the readers on any 2-cent solution that I came up with on the fly.

So you do it for me!

As usual, this is the part where I urge readers to share their wisdom on whatever the subject may be. So this time, I want to say: if you are a wiz in telenovelas (that is, Spanish soap operas and not “regular” ones), do tell why you think whatever the reason may be that they are only popular in select countries, as well as what do you think should be done to increase their popularity (not that I want to since I don’t care). Even if you’re not a fan, maybe a TV producer instead, you can also add a word or two.

In Conclusion…

I’ll be frank I have no idea what’s so special about telenovelas that all my peers back then were so into it, to the point where the Argentine actors were an even bigger deal than local celebrities. I never watched them because a Spanish-speaking Brady Bunch didn’t seem like something that would be entertaining to watch by 4th grade standards. But if you like melodrama, then you’d probably want to check it out because they have a lot of it in that. But it’s in Spanish, and it’s the early 2000s, so hopefully, those won’t turn off your curiosity. But if you do happen to watch them, tell me what they’re like… because I’m not in 4th grade anymore.

I think it would be awesome if every country had a budget for dubbing adult primetime shows instead of settling for subtitles, assuming that only adults watch it, so it’s ok. I assume this is based on the presumption that kids can’t read, and that’s why they need dubs because if it were subtitled, they wouldn’t understand, which is not the case for adults. Whatever the case may be, I can’t decide what countries do with their money.

You know what… maybe I’ll go watch one episode of this “Rebelde Way” just to know what I missed. Maybe as an adult… it will seem different… or not.