Latin American Soap Bubbles

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Watch out survivor. Watch out Homer Simpson. In a world without borders, Latin American soap operas, the telenovelas, are spreading around the globe. Millions of Russians, Egyptians, Malaysians, and North Americans are hooked.

And for the life of them, some people just can’t understand why. They dismiss telenovelas as tacky, stereotype-laden sendups of Latin American culture. But for others, the maid running off with the millionaire plots are more than simplistic melodrama; they’re modern day fairy tales about love and loss, failure and redemption. Universal themes that translate in any language, no matter how overwrought the soundtrack. Wild rides and happy endings. A Latin American export’s surprising appeal.


Catherine Benamou, Latino and film studies, University of Michigan

Antonio C. La Pastina , Department of Communication at Texas A&M University.