Telenovela: The Rivals – Forbidden Love and Raising the Roof (Review)

It has been pointed out that shows, or films, about actors generally do not do well, Telenovela may be the exception, despite falling viewing figures.

Telenovela - Season 1

It has been pointed out that shows, or films, about actors generally do not do well, Telenovela may be the exception, despite falling viewing figures.  The Rivals, episode 104, manages to keep the laughs coming with forbidden love (Gael, played by Jose Moreno Brooks and his instant infatuation with a rival telenovela beefcake) and Ana (star Eva Longoria) with her “Raise the Roof” charity “face-off” with “hated rivals.” 

Longoria is good at comedy, if there is any doubt tune in and do a little binge watching. The performer has got chops.  Leaving aside Eva’s massive comedic chops for the moment, The Rivals is about Eva’s character Ana’s charity event “Raise the Roof.”

Things get started  when Ana announces that she needs cast volunteers to help a family to improve their home the next day. After a disappointing show of hands, the cast learn that the “coffee-boy” is off and they stage a “Belly Jenga” contest to see who will get the coffee.

Xavi (Jencarlos Canela) and Ana lose and after they bring back the coffee, the cast from their  telenovela rivals, titled”Cientificos Sexy,” arrive and Ana’s arch enemy Kate (Kate del Castillo) and her husband Diego (Carlos Ponce), show up to  volunteer for Ana’s charity.

On the day, each cast challenges the other in helping the Torres family and it turns into a very uneven competition. Clearly the “Cientificos Sexy” cast are much better at building than the cast of “Las Leyes de Pasión.”

During the event, Diego kisses Ana, who rushes to tell Kate and she learns her rival’s marriage is sham and  that Xavi and she may be exes but they are friends.

Standout Moments:

The slow-motion “paint fight” between Kate and Ana, where Xavi “takes a blob” for Ana and Diego protects himself.

Telenovela - Season 1
Xavi taking a blob for Ana…

The whole “star-crossed” lovers subplot that sours when the “forbidden love” aspect ceases to exist.

Telenovela - Season 1
Julio (Andrew Dits) and Gael as the star-crossed lovers.

Rodrigo (Amaury Nolasco) and Isabela (Alex Meneseswith the mustache gag and “they always fall in love with me.”

The kitchen vs the “wall” and the entire one-sided competition between the two telenovela casts.

Ana’s excitement at learning how to turn on the tools.

Telenovela - Season 1
Power tool excitement…

The final shot of Ana’s paint covered rear after she congratulates Xavi on helping her keep her white outfit white. (And they finally “high-five” correctly.)

Telenovela - Season 1
Paint covered derriere friendship.

Honorable Mentions:

Ava Longoria managing to look adorably cute (and about 15 years old) when smiling about  having to tell Kate that her unfaithful husband Diego tried  to kiss her.

Gael’s revelation that after checking onlineMD for hours about a mysterious new “lump” he discovered turned out to be a completely new muscle.


Telenovela may be about the actors behind the scenes of a Spanish soap opera, where the actress playing the heroine cannot speak the language, but it is really about over the top comedy that matches the OTT nature of the telenovela.

The cast of this comedy have rapidly become an ensemble and each cast member brings something to the table. Longoria proves, each week, that comedy is definitely her forte and as the season progresses, Diana Maria Riva, as Mimi,  matches Eva in performance. 

Telenovela airs Mondays on NBC, tune in and catch the buoyant comedic effort by all.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

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

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