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Rating the South American Telenovelas

Every afternoon a deep peace descends in neighborhoods and small towns all over the South American continent. From Bogota to Buenos Aires and from Santiago to Guadalajara blinds are pulled and shutters dropped against the midday sun and peering eyes. The plot unfolds…slowly…very slowly for dramatic affect much like the tedious television news and the hyped up weather.

 TV Critics insist that these dramas are poorly concocted and methodically presented but they are part of life for millions who watch them religiously and contribute to the phenomenon. Some are sexy. Some are just windows in lives passing by. Others are the jumping off point for the celebrities of the future. Some seem more real than we do.

 Here are our favorites: Keep in mind that if you miss a week or so you can quickly catch back up as most of scenarios lap themselves and the intrigue is spent on the trailers. Tune in where overacting, bad organ music and well-worn narratives rule.

Herederos de Una Venganza

Perhaps the best known of all the Argentine daytime dramas, this never-mundane, always surprising favorite cascades down the mountain to the sea where cold beaches and windy plateaus await the brave and fearless. Don’t cry for me Argentina! Land stealing, cattle rustling, vintage wines, Cuban cigars, wife stealing, husband seducing episodes break from tradition. Scantily dressed gauchos parade through the ages whispering warnings about the embrace of lust and the disregard for etiquette.

La Maria Del Barrio

Long-running Mexican production with poor girl rags to riches theme. The heroine finds herself living in the house of the local patron where she falls in love with his handsome son. Sadly so have all of the other girls in town leaving Maria doting over the lost love she never had in the first place. Is Luis Fernando worth her standing in town? Will she be admonished by the extended family when they arrive for her odd brother’s Quinceanera in just a few days?

El Cartel de los Sapos

Ramon “Stoolie” Guzman runs aground when he tries to sell a bag of outdated chicharron to his former bosses in the cartel. This Colombian masterpiece dwells a little too long on the glories of drug smuggling and was kicked off the air in Panama and Ecuador. Collaboration with the police does not always work out well Guzman finds out one night at the bar that he is being watched by the very people he fingered. In keeping with a flowing anatomy they plan to break our hero’s arms and legs.

Mi Gorda Bella

Fat girl in Venezuela overcomes her challenges and becomes the top cosmetic surgeon in the region while the political climate diminishes along with her wealthy clientele. Her poorly plotted escape route is discovered and she is forced into the arms of the rogue police investigator Ricardo Muntante, renowned cyclist and muralist in Caracas. Will Julia stay off the sweets or will she join the millions of destitute dispossessed on miracle diets?

La Usurpadora

Love, money and betrayal…Can they all arrive at once? Bad acting and a horrible soundtrack overshadow this insipid plot. The untimely Mexican melodramatic music creeps its way into each episode like some whiney punctuation mark or a dose of simple syrup for the intrepid caste at bedtime. We have Paulina, Paola, Paul, Paulito, Paulette, Pablo and Pillar. Paulina and Paola were Siamese twins separated at birth. The others are just window dressing. Cameos by Mother Delphin fail to prop up the imbecilic exchanges and tempered threats that fly about the stage.

Las Juanas

This popular Colombia soap focuses on five daughters, fathered by Jorge Lucinn aka “Juan”. Rather than face up to responsibilities of parenting Lucinn goes out and starts another family. Soon the humane society captures Juan and begins the process of elimination. Caribbean scenes and lazy lifestyle are relaxing but go nowhere. Beach umbrellas are never enough to protect civilization from global warming while mindless coffee commercials irritate even the channel surfer.

O Clone

Far-fetched Brazilian presentation based on cloned lovers, Muslims from Rio and a naughty shoe convention. Jade, the Saharan princess is the prize but doesn’t know it until it’s too late. Armani, the sailor severed from the sea looks for credibility in a salty world far from the waves. His clone steals his woman duty-free and the two run off to Mozambique where they introduce daytime dramas to the capital, Maputo, the adopted city of Fred Sanford.

Donde Esta Elisa?

This suspenseful Chilean program focuses on the disappearance of the daughter of a Brahmin family in Santiago. Secrets quickly emerge when all of the family members become suspects despite airtight alibis. Kidnappers troll the wealthy suburbs while the cops dine on black eel and sip from tumblers of Don Melchor.

Muneca Brava

Hopeless love, the cruel orphan culture, heirs to fabulous fortune and love-hate flings thrive amid stimulating pampas muscle spasms. Inside the garden we see the restful pace of Olivia Chui, a disbarred attorney who joins the convent only to find she does like men, as long as they know their place. After much soul searching Olivia, played by Kid Malbec, and her newfound mate’ gourd and bombilla, leave the bright lights of the LaPlata for the Gran Chaco to open a Chicharia. Although a relative newcomer, this Argentine novela has claimed its place in television history.

-Ezmerelda de Rocha


(Five Points) The most recent episode of the popular Curtis Park Zombies series will include cameos and some surreal scenes sure to give baseball fans the creeps. You guessed it — It’s your Colorado Rockies up to their necks in late inning horrors.

Panning the outfield as the bullpen projects lions and Christians on a giant third base screen the film takes us inside the training room after another loss. Guillotines and Sartre fight broken bats and sunflower seeds for locker space. Coaches stare. Players wander. Coolers are ripped from their mounts by super-human mutants, half alive and half dead.

Curtis Park in the 60s. “A sullen spot perfectly adaptive to black and white film.”

From there it’s a dreamy trip through expectations and disappointments from ankle injuries to head cases.

“You can’t even find a seat in the dugout with these bastards all around,” one player is heard to say during a rain delay that lasts until dawn. “There’s tobacco plug all over the steps. Can’t they spit it out onto the field like normal people?”

As tensions mount Zombies are joined by local vampires in extra innings followed by a gala fireworks show. Then everyone goes home, avoiding lonely places, dark shadows and the walking deceased in Rockies’ memorabilia.

A particularly distressing commotion ensues when the Bud Black character attempts to light a fire under his players only to burn down Coors Field. Wait! Is that another version of God Bless America playing ever so softly in the background? But this is only the third inning and…

The last Zombie team to reside in Colorado was the Denver Bears of 1920.

The premier black and white movie, Curtis Park Zombies, was shot in 1965 when the neighborhood was still home to winos and warehouses. It was meant as a nostalgic and even endearing look at zombies in the Rockies before the inevitable gentrification was still bulldozers away.

One moment worth recounting occurs immediately after the credits, that showcases the Rockies stacking their bats in surrender mode. The sad display, akin to the Waltz of the Lemmings in Rigoletto, precedes the return of crates of nearly new Louisville Sluggers to Louisville for retooling.

– Tommy Middlefinger

BLM relocates to manage land

(Bland Valley) The Bureau of Land Management has moved to Grand Junction so as to be closer to the millions of sagebrush acres that it now manages. The transfer will bring some 30 quality jobs with it plus it is expected to create several more.

“The impact will be soft and subtle but in time it will have a major affect,” said Otto Ptarmigan, executive director of executive directors for the executive director. “One of the bigger benefits will occur when the satellite jobs and support networks begin to emerge.”

The move has caught many residents unprepared. Some say they welcome the BLM as a good neighbor while others see the bureau as just another top-heavy ball of red tape sucking tax dollars as it goes its merry way.

“The idea of situating a rural/free range institution in the city when its main focus is elsewhere is ridiculous,” agreed Smiley Frouwn, of Palisades. “We can accommodate the BLM and the employees can enjoy a more relaxed, natural lifestyle.”

Some 65% of local residents polled welcomed the move while a startling 28% admitted that they had no idea how men and women driving around in pickups could manage so much as a clump of sagebrush.

“The government knows best and always has,” said an official press release. “The BLM is accountable for trees and bushes too.”

– Susie Compost

For an updated version of this story see “Woman Bites Marmot – Fined by DOW”

Man Shot From Cannon Lands in Hospital

(Wimpton-on-Uncompahgre) A 27-year-old man, shot from a cannon Thursday during the Annual Chicken Hawk Gun Show and Fireworks, is resting comfortably at St Roscoe’s Hospital here. He is expected to be cheated and released after the weekend.

The barely unidentifiable fodder of flesh and bones had volunteered to be propelled in this curious black powder manner. He was allegedly attempting to elude his girlfriend’s six brothers who had only recently pledged to beat him senseless due to non-committal romantic interludes and “promises to keep”.

Although the artillery exercise went smoothly the human cannonball landed hard in the reserved seats at the rodeo arena. He was rescued by EMTs and taken to St Roscoe’s. He is now quite a celebrity over on the Psychiatric Wing.

“At first we figured him as a goner,” said one medical technician on the scene. “Then we thought he’d have to be flown over to the Mao Clinic but he is sitting up eating breakfast this morning, shaken but alive.”

He is currently experiencing a slight hearing loss but doctors assure us that condition will either improve or could get worse as treatment continues.

The episode marks the first time since the battle of Glorieta Pass that a human being has been launched by field gun or mortar. Back them it was often a necessity, in lieu of tanks or air power, to advance hesitant troops in an orderly fashion.

“When the assembled troops saw what happened to one malingerer they all went over the top and charged the enemy position without further delay,” said a local history source from the gun show. “Armies shot scouts and forward observation soldiers out of cannons until the perfection of the polyester parachute and invention of the hot air balloon and later the helicopter.

Authorities have still not released the name of the victim until family members can be identified while the persons responsible for lighting the fuse have been apprehended, although lawyers insist the evidence is smoky at best.

“No one forced this lunatic into the cannon,” they said “Let them try to prove intent or criminal action. Lots of stranger things have occurred during the heat of the battle.”

Hospital officials confirmed that wearing a helmet probably saved the man’s life. A book deal is already in the works.

-Fred Zeppelin

Border Squabble on Pot Provokes Dry Response

A legal row over what may or may not constitute pot smuggling continues to plague border relations with four neighboring states says the Colorado State Accounting Office.

In a joint response to old antagonisms, bad knees and new jealousies state fiscal sources chided Kansas and Nebraska regarding claims that small amounts of Colorado marijuana has been seized within state borders. Pot is illegal in these and many other states that are clearly engulfed in a meth epidemic.

“We puff legally and it doesn’t appear to be hurting anyone,” said a spokesman for the well-healed revenue department in Denver. “Here in the Treasurer’s Office we tend to see things through a more monetary framework but there’s more going on here than tax collection.”

The spokesperson acknowledged that Colorado too has problems with hard drug use but that the situation has been tempered by taking marijuana off the illicit drug list.

“Our legal system seems to be working with minimal issues. Maybe these folks should get on board,” said the source.

“Squabble over our pot industry and we’ll cut off your water,” smiled Colorado State Treasurer pro tem, Pamela Puff. “Further legal action on the part of neighboring states may provoke a sanctions against Utah and Wyoming, she threatened.”

Experts agree that levying sanctions on an inter-state basis has no precedence in the Rockies and that it is probably not a binding or even legitimate approach to the current feuds.

“Tariffs and dry ditches will get the attention of these blue noses, long before these petty lawsuits grace the courtroom.” added Puff.

– Atila Diggins

Russian Robots Laying Mag Chloride

Teams of Russian robots, dressed like county highway workers are coating local roads with magnesium chloride in a vain attempt to thwart US elections in November of 2020.

Will He Hack Elections in November? Photos secretly shot through a telex-burger lens show aliens like the one above dressed as highway workers along remote desert highways and shady lanes on the wrong side of the Tar Baby. Unsuspecting motorists are often swallowed up by the goo, sucked into the landscape and never heard from again.

Ballot box officials confirmed that the Bots are in country and busily building networks and cells aimed at derailing the shadows of democracy still left in the country.

“These are not your run-of-the-mill Russian robots,” said Clarabelle Ptarmigan, a grizzled uranium cork-and- grinder who lives along Highway 90 near the divide Road on the Uncompahgre Plateau.

“These are zombies. They have been lobotomized in Russian and sent here to disrupt our national infrastructure. They stare at passing motorists with a blank look, deprived of any real human contact,” she stressed. “They stare at trees. They stare at rocks for hours on end.”

Also called Make America Great Chloride, the chemical is used to keep dust levels down to the detriment of roadside trees and automotive vehicles that suffer almost immediate rust-like damage when caked with the it.

“The mag-chloride is only a diversion to keep us distracted while the vile business of computer hacking and social division goes on,” said Ptarmigan.

Will He Hack Elections in November?

Photos secretly shot through a telex-burger lens show aliens like the one above dressed as highway workers along remote desert highways and shady lanes on the wrong side of the Tar Baby. Unsuspecting motorists are often swallowed up by the goo, sucked into the landscape and never heard from again.