Tuesday, August 09, 2005

El Principe Azul

Never have the cultural differences between Anglos and Latinos been more clear to me than in watching Telemundo's new reality show, El Principe Azul.

Modeled on the U.S. "Bachelor"-type shows, it's ostensibly the search for the perfect mate for Leonardo García, son of the actor Andrés García. But it's also a cultural window into, if not the differences between U.S. and Latino cultures, at least the differences between U.S. and Latino television.

Last night's premier episode introduced Andrés García, his son Leonardo, Leonardo's mother Sandra ("la norteamericana"), and Andrés' sister and mother. There was an extensive interview with Andrés García during which we learned about his numerous infidelities while he was married to Sandra (they're now divorced), his bout with prostate cancer which left him impotent ("me quemaron los aguacates"), the "bombita" which he now employs, which has cured the problem, and various and sundry other personal and intimate details of his life. He delights in his machismo, even while his sister admits that perhaps that attitude is becoming a little pasado de moda.

Interestingly enough, we didn't learn a whole lot about Leonardo, his son! Clearly the star of the show is Andrés...

But anyway, here was the interesting part, and the part that really set it aside from the U.S. shows (which I have to say I have only watched a few minutes of, so perhaps I'm exaggerating the differences).

When the 20 girls of varying Latin nationalities were introduced, they each walked up a red carpet and spoke with Andrés García for a moment, before entering the house that is the set for the show. He flirted with each one, then as she walked away, he made a comment to the camera, with Leonardo watching inside. These comments would NEVER have gotten by U.S. censors! "Esa tiene voz de cama." "Esa está rica, por esa tú y yo vamos a pelear." "Las dominicanas son encantadoras y peligrosísimas." And my favorite, "La fruta guayaba ... después te digo cómo es y dónde se encuentra."

In the scenes from upcoming episodes, we see the girls being interviewed by Andrés and by Leonardo's mother, grandmother and aunt. They ask questions about what the girls are like in bed, whether they've had plastic surgery ... and then at one point, Sandra, Leonardo's mother, says to one of the Dominican contestants, "Perdona, pero yo no quiero nietos negros."

This comment is seen being discussed by the girls -- the Dominican says the mom is a racist -- and then she confronts Sandra about it. Sandra responds with this incredible phrase: "Yo no soy racista, yo soy tejana!" I will be interested to see how the rest of that conversation plays out.

Whatever you think about ANY of the above, and yes, it is all horrendously politically incorrect -- it is really interesting to me that these comments are on the air. Because even though they are politically incorrect, they are honest reflections of what the people are really thinking. And perhaps a lot more honest than any of our supposed "reality" shows.

1 comment:

Nayeli said...

Oh my god! That is nuts! Was it the women also asking how the young women were in bed? I guess this is the kind of thing I miss when I don't watch TV.