The dramatic genre of melodrama arose from the combination of theatre and music. It dates to the 18th century and has evolved over time. History shows that melodrama is an immensely popular genre. To ensure that everyone could understand it, in the early days of musical theater the characters were defined in clear, simple, and Manichean terms: the good and the evil ones. The emotions portrayed were strong, determined and without any nuances. A funny character was joined by the tragic undertone of the protagonist. Good always triumphed over evil and a happy ending followed.
Since its beginnings, melodrama as a genre has been threaded through various forms of media, such as the serial novel, the radionovela, cinema, etc. The telenovela melodrama is a dramatic work that focuses on emotion and plot, told in a serial format. Generally, it depicts the development of a hero or heroine moving towards a promising future. There are conflicts of interest, rivalries between antagonistic goals, clashes between social classes, and a struggle against prejudices and resentments. The hero or heroine overcomes obstacles, conflicts and, finally, defeats his or her enemies. There is usually a secret to be uncovered. All this is accompanied by a preponderance of romance and sensuality, portrayed by good-looking actors and actresses in attractive settings and costumes. However, many Latin American telenovelas have changed and continue to change the melodramatic genre. By them being realistic, they provide a narrative that could happen in real life. Latin American telenovelas have included and changed social notions about age, class, territorial areas, and gender. Telenovelas sometimes refer to historical moments, regions, and cultures, as well as national and even transnational issues.
Read more about Melodrama:
- Martín-Barbero, Jesús, Muñoz, Sonia (Coordinadores) (1992): Televisión y melodrama. Géneros y lecturas de la telenovela en Colombia. 1. ed. Bogotá: Tercer Mundo Ed. (Comunicación social).
- Martín-Barbero, J.; Rey, Germán (1999): Los ejercicios del ver. Hegemonía audiovisual y ficción televisiva. 1. ed. Barcelona: Ed. Gedisa (Estudios de televisión, 2).
- Carabrujas, José Ignacio (2002): Y Latinoamérica inventó la telenovela. 1. ed. Caracas: Alfadil Ed (Ludens, 15), Pp. 115 – 144.