Brazilian Challenge Day 40: The Novela

Tonight I sat through an entire hour of the novella “Aquele Beijo.” For those that don’t know, the Brazilian novela is something similar to the American soap opera, but it plays in the evening (usually there are two or three that are playing at the same time in different time slots) and usually on the television station Globo. But these programs don’t run forever, like the soaps. The programs are as good as they are good for depending on popularity, usually six months. An extremely successful novella might continue for 9 months to a year. The shows are also on six days a week, taking a break on Sundays. Novellas are VERY popular in Brazil and it’s hard to find a Brazilian woman who hasn’t committed herself to an evening hour of television in the form of scripted drama.  I’ve made lame, 10-minute attempts to watch novellas in the past, but always failed to keep my attention attached to the show. This time I made a serious effort go the distance.

While I didn’t understand everything, I got the basics – heartbreak, betrayal and threats to uncover deep, dark secrets. The acting was extreme, the characters were stereotypical but if I continue to catch on, it might be good for my Portuguese. One thing I found most amusing was one of the commercials that ran during the program. It was for Red Bull and it explained that Jesus’ ability to walk on water was due to Red Bull having “wings.” I wondered, in a seriously Catholic country, if this commercial was considered funny or offensive by the majority of the Brazilian novela-watching population.

One thing impressive about Globo novellas is that they must put some serious cash into production. The scenes, the shots and the attire are all top notch. You can find out all about this particular show at the official site.

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31 Responses to Brazilian Challenge Day 40: The Novela

  1. Alex says:

    I’ve had the pleasure (IM NOT KIDDING) of indulging in some Novelas myself. My god, are they dirty. I love the cat fight scenes between the “Poor rich” woman and the “rich rich” women that seems to happen on every episode.

    But you are right, they spend A LOT of money on these things. They seriously remind me of movie productions. They are extravagant! But you’ve got to love the Brazilian drama that is thrown into them. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    ANd without further ado, I present the funniest video (Eu sou Rica) in Brazilian Youtube history. Well, maybe not ever, but I thought it was funny. The clips are taken from Novelas, obviously.


  2. Cezar says:

    BAB, The soap operas of 19 pm are freak.Are considered comedies for D class ( hahaha yeah, tv shows in Brazil are produced for social class: A,B,C, etc.)

    So, the 18 ( this the best in my opinion) and 21 pm are more sophisticated in screenplay, characters, image edition, etc

    • Uh oh. This one was on at 19:30. So what does that mean??!!

      • Eri says:

        As novela das 19h começas as 19:30h e a das 20PM geralmente começa as 21PM (da para entender porque as pessoas acham que atrasos são aceitaveis?).
        Mas como o Cezar mencionou, as novelas das 19PM são geralmente comédias (a que esta passando agora é intencionalmente um dramalhão, por isso todo o exagero nas atuações, maquiagem etc)
        As novelas das 6PM são geralmente romances melados, muitas são romances históricos para as donas de casa.
        E as das 20PM são as mais importantes, mas sofisticadas, onde a Globo coloca a maior parte do dinheiro. Até dizem que uma ator/atriz só é considerado famoso depois de representar um papel importante numa novela das 20PM.

        Se você não tem paciência para novelas, você pode tentar alugar algumas das séries mais recentes da Globo (algumas foram lançadas em DVD e você pode encontrar para alugar), elas geralmente são muito melhores do que as novelas e são geralmente baseadas em livros famosos de autores brasileiros e portugueses. Algumas séries que você pode tentar são “A Muralha”, “A casa das sete mulheres”, “Memorial de Maria Moura”, “O Primo Basilio” etc tem uma lista enorme, mas essas são as que me lembro agora que foram apresentados nos últimos 10 anos.


    • Wow! Who knew? I’ll have to compare the different time-slots and sophistication level.

  3. Corinne says:

    the 3 Globo novelas, referred to as the novela das 6, novela das 7 and novela das 8 (even though start times are closer to 6:15, 7:30 and 8:45, respectively) are produced for different audiences. The 6pm one is lighter, usually more innocent (less sex or violence), since kids could be watching and is targeted toward adolescents. The 7pm one is the comedy, it is usually very over the top and is said to be the one prefered by men. The 8pm is the serious novela and the one that people mean when they ask if you saw the novela. It usually is responsible for influencing slang, dress and hairstyles for the length of its run. It is the novela to make or break the actors of the day. The length of any particular episode will vary by day. Usually the episodes on Wednesdays are shorter to not conflict with the soccer game and days like Monday or Thursday are longer. In fact, few Globo shows start at a specific time all week. It used to drive me crazy. If you want more novela overload, watch “Video Show”, which comes on after the 1pm news. It is like E tv, except only about Globo and the novelas.

  4. Peg says:

    I’ve been dying to watch one, but B HATES them. Don’t they show old ones during the day? Like 2pm or so? I keep hearing about how good it will be fore my Portuguese. I’ll stick with that excuse, lol.

    • Eri says:

      Acho que o “Vale a Pena ver de novo” que é o programa que reapresenta novelas antigas começa as 2:30PM (com a Globo não da pra ter certeza).
      Mas na TV a cabo tem os programas antigos da Globo (incluse novelas que fizeram muito sucesso) no canal Viva.


    • I’ve heard the same. I do believe that they show old ones during the day – that was one of my attempts to watch was an older one that was on at like 2pm. You should definitely try it out. I wish they had the shows on-demand somewhere so I could start at the beginning and watch when I had time, but I don’t think they have that available.

  5. Bee-eigh-bee,
    I think you must know someone over at The Economist’s São Paulo bureau because they seem to be reading your blog over there.
    If this is true then you, and Alex ( both instigated these “Mulheres Ricas” online discussions) are responsible for Val being mentioned in said publication. Yes, I’ll repeat that: Val was discussed in The Economist.
    Good God.
    I hope nothing related to “Aquele Beijo” is featured in future editions of my favorite magazine, and if so I’ll know who to point a finger at. Humpf.

  6. nina says:

    Well, it’s not just Brazilian women. Brazil men love novella’s too. Ricardo’s coworkers get into a daily fight over them. I had an automatic response, when I first met Ricardo. He told me he watched novella with his grandmother every night. I told him that was it strange, that normally in the US women only watched shows like that. It was automatic. I swear. Apparently I have ruined novellas for him. When you tell a man in Brazil his behavior is like a women, it hits home. But honestly I didn’t know much about central and south America, didn’t realize how taboo it was.

    But you should take a look at recent research of Novella effecting the birth rate in Brazil. Google it or check the back log of Rachel’s blog. I think it was her who wrote about it or Jim.

  7. Jana says:

    I freaking love ‘Finas Estampa’ it’s had me hooked from the beginning. It’s at the 9 o clock hour so I guess it’s the serious one? Anyways I think the key is to start at the beginning because even though I missed a month of it over Xmas I knew all the relationships and characters and it was easy to pick back up. It’s been great for my slang Portuguese (well when I can remember it) and a few of my amigas americanas all watch together and enjoy chatting about it!

  8. How come no one told me I was spelling novela wrong (I changed it now…)

  9. Pingback: Brazilian Challenge Day 86: Estreia da Novela | born again brazilian

  10. Julia P. says:

    Na verdade, cada novelista tem seu estilo, o do Miguel Falabella (autor de Aquele Beijo) é bem popular, cômico. Ele é muito famoso no Brasil, é ator também, diretor, apresentador, está por detrás de muitos musicais que estreiam no Brasil. Acho preconceituoso dizer que a novela das 7 é para classe E e as novelas das 6 para as donas de casa. Não é verdade. É mais uma questão de estilo .A das 7 é mais comédia, a das 6 mais romântica, a das 9 mais séria ( e as mais populares). As minhas preferidas são as novelas das 6 de época. A última foi CORDEL ENCANTADO. Se passava no Nordeste nos anos 30. Uma obra-prima! Linda demais! Dá uma olhada nos primeiros capítulos

    Adorei seu blog, vou acompanhar!


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