Telenovela: Eva Longoria and Prat-Falls

As Sir Michael Caine once said, “people don’t want to watch shows, or films, about actors.” That may not be the exact quote, but it is close and more importantly Sir Michael is not wrong, Telenovela is proof of that. Eva Longoria and prat falls should be a winning combination for comedy.

Telenovela - Season 1

As Sir Michael Caine once said, “people don’t want to watch shows, or films, about actors.” That may not be the exact quote, but it is close and more importantly Sir Michael is not wrong, Telenovela is proof of that.  Eva Longoria and prat falls should be a winning combination for comedy.  So far, viewers have stayed away from the new series in droves.

This must be the only rational explanation as beautiful women who are not afraid to look funny, or more importantly act funny are adducing. Look at I Love Lucy, starring Desi Arnaz and the queen of television sitcom’s Lucille Ball.

One old friend once explained the  allure of Lucille Ball.  In his opinion, nothing was sexier than a “good looking bird not afraid to make herself look like an idiot.”  Longoria knows comedy and does it extremely well, something she shares with Ms. Ball.  In some instances Telenovela  may be a bit too slapstick in nature or broad to be really funny, but Eva, and her co-stars give it their all.

Only recently becoming aware of the “telenovela” and its phenomenal popularity  (these did not air in the United Kingdom) after moving  stateside, the shows have proven to be quite enjoyable, even if one does not speak the language.

(Warehouse 13 in its final season did a spoof episode where all the protagonists were pulled into the world of the telenovela in Savage Secret which was the first time this reviewer learned of the Spanish speaking television format)

Telenovela - Season Pilot
Eva Longoria as Ana Sofia Calderon, Jadyn Douglas as Roxie Rios, Diana Maria Riva as Mimi Moncada

The premise of Telenovela has drop dead gorgeous Longoria as the star of the show and she can speak little Spanish. When her costars are talking about her, she cannot understand because they speak too fast. Her character obviously learns just enough to “get by” on set. This in itself is funny.

Even the new “white bread” network head (played with great panache and extremely straight by Zachary Levi) can speak the lingo fluently while Ana Sofia Calderon (Longoria) falteringly responds.  It needs to be noted that Eva, despite being one of the most beautiful actresses in the world, can and does laugh at herself.

The star has had several wardrobe malfunctions in real life on the red carpet and all handled with a sense of laugh and depreciating humor.  In Telenovela one scene has Calderon rush to confront the network boss. Her costume is held together with pins and as the two talk her outfit begins to disintegrate, popping pin after pin. As she struggles to leave the office, with both hands holding up her top, the gown’s belt dangles down and wraps around her leg.

The timing by Longoria was practically perfect.

Add to the proceeds that the Desperate Housewives actress is not afraid to do a prat-fall or two, or more,  and Eva easily shows that her comedic chops are  massive.

Hot & Bothered - Season 1
Rosie – Jadyn Douglas

Sadly, the show suffers from the sum of too many comic parts.  It is trying too hard to be funny, but to be fair, with so much on offer it does hit far more than it misses.   The telenovela has merged into mainstream television almost effortlessly. The format has a legion of fans (when a well known telenovela star passed away in 2014, millions of fans north of the border went into mourning) and has spawned a few imitations up north.

Jane the Virgin is a straight remake of the hit show of the same name from Mexico,  CW are the proud owners of this very funny sitcom and The Mysteries of Laura, starring Debra Messing, is a another remake of a popular Mexican television show. both “Laura” and Telenovela are on NBC.

After watching the pilot on Hulu, it was impossible not to watch the next two episodes.  The sitcom is not all about broad comedy, nor is it too broad, no one, for instance, gets a pie in the face, but it is also made up of some clever lines of funny dialogue.

Certainly, there are stereotypes. (It does not take long to pick up these “types” after watching only  a small amount of the “real thing.”) The cast all play there parts with an energy that is admirable even if it does feel like a bit too much.

Eva Longoria, Zachary Levi, Jencarlos CanelaDiana Maria RivaAlex Meneses,  Amaury Nolasco and newcomers Jadyn Douglas and Jose Moreno Brooks make up the main cast and while the acting feels a little frantic, that is, apparently the way of the telenovela.

While watching the first three episodes of this new show, there was a much to laugh at.  A number of reviewers and critics are not overly impressed.  Certainly there was at least one “Lucille Ball” moment but that is comedy. Gags are shared, rewritten and adapted and have been since before vaudeville.

Hot & Bothered - Season 1
Jose Moreno Brooks and Eva Longoria

Telenovela may not be the Three Stooges but it is more amusing than not and worth the short time it takes to watch an episode just to see Eva Longoria be funny as hell.  Show creators Jessica Goldstein,Robert Harling andChrissy Pietrosh may be trying to run before they can walk, but the show does entertain, albeit a bit haphazardly.

The sitcom airs Mondays on NBC, tune in for a giggle or two, or just to crush on Eva, you won’t be sorry.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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