Saturday, February 12, 2011

Teen fantasies & guilty pleasures

music: Bright Eyes - Jejune Stars

Confession: I used to watch telenovelas. At first, because they were a novelty, and later I guess they had become a guilty pleasure I couldn't shake off. But in my defense, I'd have to say that after some time I wasn't really watching them anymore. I was listening to them. I liked the sound of the language and I would just leave the tv on acasă for hours. (I couldn't do my homework without a soundtrack - be it music or tv - which, I won't lie, was a distraction and fueled my oh so awful procrastination habit.) I don't exactly have the nerve to say that I know Spanish because I feel that would be insulting to the ppl who have actually studied it, but I understand it pretty well (if I watch a movie in Spanish I won't necessarily need subtitles), and that's all thanks to these telenovelas. So, I like to think that watching them wasn't a complete waste of time. However, re:watching Locura de amor on YouTube at 5 a.m... now that's a huuuge waste of time.

And since I seem to be taking a special pleasure in publicly embarrassing myself I'll confess that I still watch a lot of teen movies and tv series. Moreover, I've been reading YA novels. As much as I hate to admit it, I need teen fiction because my own high school years were so dull and uneventful. Through fiction I can time travel and fantasize about a more exciting teen life. And when I say "exciting" I'm not talking about drinking, smoking, doing drugs, having sex and all that rock'n'roll. No. That has never interested me. I prefer my emptiness to that type of emptiness. I just wish that I would have grown emotionally and intellectually during those years, that I would have at least been able to articulate my "teenage angst", and find a creative outlet, and just do sth. Anything. I sometimes watch movies with these quirky high school kids (Ghost World, for e.g.), and I'm so jealous (imagine that: jealous of fictional teenagers!) and I get so angry at myself. Fine: I didn't like school, I had lost my trust in ppl and couldn't/wouldn't even try to make new friends, but for pete's sake! I should have found sth to do because anything would have been better than school-home-school, and just sitting in my room doing nothing during vacations, and all that numbness. At 14-15 I gave up on life and I don't know if I'm ever able to revive myself...

Ay, la irreversibilidad del tiempo! *sigh*

Getting back to my telenovelas: I can't watch them anymore simply because they're too boring. (Besides, I like to think that my taste in pop culture has considerably improved.) But these teen telenovelas seem to be the exception. In my first year of college I was still watching the Mexican Rebelde even though I had seen the Argentinian version. Since then I haven't seen any other telenovelas, though. So imagine my surprise when a few days ago I noticed there's a rerun of Locura de amor on acasă and realized that I'm not completely over my telenovelas phase. At first, I watched like 5 min. of it, and then kept on zapping. The next morning at about 5 a.m. I was zapping again, Locura... was on, and this time I watched the episode till the end, and found myself wanting to see more. Well, I told myself that since I was gonna waste my time with this, I'd better watch it on YouTube so that I can skip the scenes that don't interest me and so that I don't have to sit through the commercial breaks.

The hardest thing to admit to myself is the reason for which I'm watching again this particular telenovela. As you can imagine, the story is one of impossible love and all that tra la la - Natalia is a student at a boarding school and Enrique is the new psychology teacher, they fall in love with each other and everything is muy, muy cursi. Now, I have conflicting feelings when it comes to this type of fictional teenager-adult relationships. I had my fair share of fantasies about teachers, but actually acting on them was never an option - and not just because I would have embarrassed myself; I was very much aware of the fact that they were exactly that: just fantasies (not to mention that I hated being that type of girl). But to be honest, when I hear about real teenager-adult relationships I get pretty angry. During the recent Polanski episode sm said sth like "well, we all know how precocious teenagers are these days", the implication being that you can't blame a man for letting himself seduced by an underage girl. Are you freaking kidding me?! That's the biggest bs I've heard. (Not to mention the fact that Polanski's is clearly a rape case. The girl was 13, for pete's sake!) There are plenty of teenagers who will fantasize about being initiated by sm older because it would be an interesting element in their biography, but that shouldn't be used as an excuse by adults. Anything beyond a platonic relationship between a teenager and an adult is inexcusable. Period. As much as I like Nabokov's Lolita, I'm afraid this book and the similar works of fiction that followed have given way to a too relaxed attitude about this issue. There's a dialogue in the first season of In Treatment when Sophie talks about her relationship with her coach, and I love what Paul tells her: (I don't remember the exact quote, or what episode that was, so I'll just paraphrase it) he was the adult, he had the responsibility in that situation and what happened between them was not her fault.

If I were to speak from a media critic's pov, I'd say that Locura de amor (as well as other teen movies/ tv series/ books) offers an interesting perspective on the whole kids-adults dynamics. The adults here are corrupt, absent or clueless, and these kids have to figure things out for themselves. Yeah... that would be an interesting analysis. I doubt I'll have the patience to write one, though (maybe I'll write one about Skins - that would actually make sense as opposed to writing about an old telenovela no one cares about).

[Considering the extremely uneventful last few months, I guess this was bound to happen, i.e. me blogging about telenovelas. f(^_^)]


thefeministturtle said...

Yes! I know exactly how you feel. I was an antisocial (perhaps sociophobic would be a more accurate term) little cockroach in high school, and while my social anxiety is still roaring gloriously, I'm not that bothered by it anymore. But I do feel like I missed out on something during high school, although I'm not quite sure that the Romanian education system could have offered me what I wanted. So now I plunge with relish into films/books/comics/anything really about high school kids, boarding schools and the like. Most of them are outrageously bad, but what the hell, that's why the concept of guilty pleasure was invented...

plectrude said...

Well then... let's feel guilty together! :D I wanna watch a j-drama, preferably one that is not too long. Any recommendations?

And you know, there are a few teen dramas that are actually good, like My So-Called Life, Freaks & Geeks, Veronica Mars. VMars is sooo good that I'm not ashamed to say that I've watched it 3 (!) times. so far. :D