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Monday, December 7, 2015

PILOT REVIEW: Telenovela


Starring: Eva Longoria, Jencarlos Canela, Diana-Maria Riva, Amaury Nolasco, Jose Moreno Brooks, Jadyn Douglas, Alex Meneses, Izzy Diaz

Created by Chrissy Pietrosh, Jessica Goldstein, and Robert Harling
Written by Chrissy Pietrosh, Jessica Goldstein, & Robert Harling, Directed by Steve Pink

Telenovela is a new sitcom that takes place on the set of a telenovela (Spanish soap opera). The star of the telenovela is Ana Sofia Calderon (Eva Longoria). She does not speak Spanish but she is the center of everything until her ex-husband and adversary, Xavier Castillo (Jencarlos Canela) joins the cast. Other cast members include the villain in the show within the show, Rodrigo Suarez (Amaury Nolasco), Ana Sofia's best friend, Mimi (Diana-Maria Riva), faded telenovela star Iabela (Alex Meneses), and co-stars Gael (Jose Moreno Brooks) and Roxie (Jadyn Douglas).

I'll admit that I've never watched a telenovela so maybe I just didn't get it but this was not enjoyable at all. The on-screen scenes of the telenovela felt like a longer version of Saturday Night Live's "The Californians" sketch (and believe me, those are long enough as is!) The off-screen scenes were perhaps even worse because they used every cliche in the book, dealt with overacting everywhere, and didn't do much with a plot.

It started with Eva Longoria who was horribly overacting in every scene whether she was being in the "telenovela" or not. Her hissy fit outside the studio wasn't funny and it definitely wasn't real, even in a comedic way. It was amateur in every sense of the word. The rest of the cast wasn't as noticeably bad, but they were certainly not memorable. Also, hasn't the whole "we dated once and now we have to work together!" premise been done a bit too many times? I felt like I was watching a pilot I've seen plenty of times before, only this time it had a Spanish twist.

It's too bad that this show is going to be paired with the far more clever Superstore. Even if I liked both shows, this is a terrible pairing. So now we get a potentially funny workplace comedy followed by this overblown, overacted "comedy." I think the idea of a parody telenovela is a great idea but it needs to be much more clever. I don't watch it but many would say Jane the Virgin has found a clever way to bring the telenovela to mainstream US audiences. This could have been the half hour comedy equivalent but it's most certainly not.

Considering the fact that I didn't watch the second episode that immediately followed the pilot, that's going to be a no.

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