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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Telenovela Alborada, #20

This is one in a series of recaps of the Univision telenovela Alborada.
In order to read the whole post, you must now click "read the rest" at the bottom of this summary! If you are new, please visit the recaps in ORDER - see the bottom of this post for information.

This is my last post on Alborada prior to my trip. I have all my guest bloggers now.
Covering for me: Jean: March 1; the new Sylvia, March 2; Ruth March 3; the first Sylvia, March 6; Ruth, March 7; the first Sylvia, March 8; the new Sylvia, March 9; Jean, March 10. If I got this wrong, let me know in the comments section or email me at

Monday: We start with that touching scene of Catalina and Cristóbal touching fingers. Are they ever going to have sex? Is she ever going to call him "tu" ?? Lots of good words tonight...

The sound effects guy was having an off day. Even though we had many moments one would think of as dramatic, there were far fewer cymbal crashes than usual. This caused me almost not to notice the plot was progressing. Or maybe the cymbal guys were striking for higher pay this week?

Juana was napping with Rafael when Hipólita comes to talk. Juana tells the maid to keep the boy quiet. No problem, quiet is all he ever is. We had two previous theories - that he was drugged and that he was actually a stuffed boy. My new theory is: he has been debarked (we have dogs like that in our neighborhood). When Juana tells Hipólita she looks "pallid" I grow 100% certain that she's pregnant. How come she hasn't figured it out? When she lost her memory did she also forget where babies come from?


Hipólita says she can't stay at the palace now that she knows she used to boink Luis, and it's so embarrassing that everybody in the world knows it. Juana brings up Esperanza as perhaps the greatest problem and reminds us how embarrassed SHE should be. Calmly Juana tells Hipólita how Esperanza committed adultery in order to get pregnant and prevent Luis from divorcing her.

La necia se emperro: Necia = stupid one, naughty one. Emperrarse = to be dead set, determined, obsessed.

And now she'll probably die, and then Hipólita can marry Luis! Así es y así sera! I love this phrase almost as much as I like Caray, caray! and wish I'd had it at my command when my kids were young enough to boss around... Hipólita demurs, pointing out that she is not an aristocrat. Juana says, "Oh, it's ok, your people are educated, even if some of them are zopencos."

Zopenco: stupid idiotic blockheads.

Hipólita later marvels to her maid Ada: "Juana is like stone! She talked about her daughter-in-law as if she were a chicken in a barnyard!"

Asuncion snaps at Hipólita that she should just go back to Panama with Antonio and spare them all the embarrassment that she brings with her like that cloud of dust around Pigpen.

Asuncion also says:

Nos tiene con el Jesus en la boca!
Anybody know that phrase?

Yet AGAIN Hipólita asks Ada why nobody tells her anything and Ada says it's cause everybody is terrified of Doña Juana. Hipólita says, "Tell me, Ada: I have the heart of a whore, and everybody accepts it?" Ada: "No, no, you're good, you're better than bread."

Luis finds out his son is back (no cymbal crashes). He barges into his mother's room and catches her doing some serious doting. "GRANNY JUANA" she croons to herself as she cuddles the stuffed boy, who is dressed in a breath-taking lavender bonnet with ruffles and a floor-length gown.

Juana reassures Luis: the boy looks as if he had been treated right and he doesn't even have fleas or scratches. Luis is so suspicious, he asks questions about the kidnapping and gets another cascade of lies in return, as well as the rejoinder used so often in real life: "What, you don't trust me? Your own mother? Don't be so insulting!" Whenever people say this, in telenovelas or in real life: yes, they are lying.

Juana nags everybody including Luis not to tell Hipólita that she's Rafael's mother.

Isabel barges in to Luis's chambers just after he finished his bath (I bet there are a lot of people out there who felt a stab of jealousy at that point) and, after the usual speeches, points to his leg scar (plot point) and tells him he should be putting crushed shell of mother-of-pearl on it every day. He pish-tushes and she says, "Oh I forgot, you tough macho guys are proud of your scars."

Marina may be "protegida" by Isabel, but she also appears to be doing the laundry. She has an armful of sheets. She gives Isabel a note from the regidor's wife, who must not be kept waiting.

Isabel has Marina haul out the jewelry box. Marina tries to talk to her about the fact that her birth mother (Victoria the Pirate Queen) has just surfaced, and tries to ask: "Do you think my mother really killed my father?" However, Isabel is not really interested in this subject, even though it's so important to the girl she calls "mi vida" - she is more interested in her jewels, and that's how we know she's a true aristocrat, and así es y así sera." And she lights up a cigarette! That's how she gets that wonderful scratchy voice!

Catalina talks to Hipólita shyly about her excellent luck in marrying Cristóbal. She's even thinking about sex! Somebody must have told her about the birds and the bees. She asks her half-sister, "What's 'it' like, becoming a woman?" Hipólita, of course, doesn't remember.

Back at the lair of the lowlifes' tzarina, La Poderosa: Higinio, Victoria, and Sara are rehashing recent events. Higinio tells Sara (who's agonizing about whether she will get nabbed now that she's emerged from her hideout: "You're a very important woman, and lots of us lowlifes are watching out for you." Victoria says "The authorities prefer to take "the fat view" (la vista gorda) rather than have problems. They don't want you, so stop worrying about imaginary Moors with sticks."

Humble men come into the Guevara palace. Diego emerges from behind one of his favorite masks (the shiny white one) to ask, incredulously: "MINERS? OK, let them in."

They tell him Luis had crafted an agreement with them but hadn't had time to sign it [OK, really, how long does it take to put your John Hancock on something? -- Ed.] and since he hasn't been answering their phonecalls and emails they've brought the document all the way down here to finish things up.

Diego, flinging his pigtail indignantly, tells his mom he won't sign it. "It gives away half the profits!" She points out Luis has committed them to it, they gave their word, but as we already knew this means zilch to Diego. "It shames our family if you renege." "Tough noogies."

Even Mirtha is sick of Esperanza, who seems to have a tremendous amount of energy for a woman on the verge of death. She shouts AGAIN at Luis insisting he take his bastard elsewhere. The usual conversation, with this kicker: "I'm tired of you, Esperanza. You've been telling your lies so long you believe them. And stop calling him my bastard, he's my son, the only one I have." She asks, "Don't I deserve any respect at all?" Luis says no, she doesn't, but nevertheless he's protecting her - after all, he has not denounced her to the Inquisitor, who would send her to the gallows.

I noticed Luis has been snarling, showing his fangs, tossing his hair like a horse with mosquitoes, and Juana has noticed this too. She asks Diego to stop baiting Luis, who is about to lose it. She uses this excellent word:

Estallar: blow out, shatter, blow his top

On an unrelated note, I was just wondering... With a grown son and troubles enough for an army of wrinkled and bent mothers (I am a proud member of this group, myself), why doesn't Juana have even one grey hair? Was there Clairol back then?

Diego and Juana are shouting at the top of their lungs and here is a knock on the door. Luis enters. Are we really supposed to believe these flimsy doors are soundproof? This is harder to swallow than the entire plot of Alborada... Diego wants to bait him some more by saying he won't sign the miners' agreement but Luis is not biting. He just takes Rafael and leaves.

Diego to his mother after Luis's departure: "It's incredible, you imported this little dude Rafael because you think I will never have (male) heirs. Well if you don't find me a spouse, I'm going to marry the first whore I see in the street, and then you'll see how many boys I can father."

Juana heaves and even hyperventilates a bit. All this stress and shouting can't be good for her blood pressure.

Ramon is eating dinner at Perla's house, which he refuses to leave. He tells her she's going to get sick if she eats in such a bilious (or is it choleric? I forget my humors) state. "Don't be mad at me, we could be partners, there are people - La Poderosa for example - who pay good money for information and you've got plenty of dirt on the Guevaras. You could even make stuff up." For some reason, this is a sticking point for Perla who says she's not gonna make stuff up. And she wishes Ramon and Arcadio would leave, cause they're bad for business: "I can't even bring my clients home anymore!"

Arcadio drops his spoon when Ramon suggests they rat out Diego for trying to kill Luis. Arcadio mentions (well, being mute, he tries to mention) Gasca as a killer fly in this ointment. Then Ramon says: "But Gasca doesn't have to know." Famous last words!

Luis takes Rafael, now in a cream-colored satin suit with tails, to Cristóbal's house and gives the kid to a maid while he goes to Cristóbal's room to tell him yet again that he can't bear to believe his mother Juana would be so perverse as to hurt him again and again. Out of Cristóbal's weary or perhaps laudanum-enhanced state, he mentions the possibility that Juana is not Luis's mother. (No cymbal crash.)

I wanted to reach into the tv and shave off that annoying little tuft of hair in the middle of Cristóbal's chin.

Perla sees Rafael in the Lara courtyard and starts playing with him. Hipólita sees Rafael, has a flashback, and suddenly her memory has returned. So ends a very annoying subplot.

She rushes over and takes Rafael away from Perla and is her old ragged miserable self again. (No cymbal crashes.)

In her chambers with the girls later: "It's so good Rafael is back from being kidnapped." This confuses Hipólita, who says, "you're mistaken, he was just out on the patio." It turns out that while she has recovered her lifetime of wretched memories, she has forgotten the two weeks which have passed since she left for Panama with her husband Antonio, the baby, and Ada.

Catalina undertakes the job of explaining to Hipólita what's been happening. She says: "it can't be that two people like you and Luis, who have had such unfair lives, and love each other so much, have to live this way."

Meanwhile Luis goes back to Cristóbal's room because he wants to hear him say, yet again, that "the mind is a mysterious thing."

  • Luis is frazzled waiting for Catalina to finish debriefing Hipólita, who upon viewing her son yesterday immediately got her past memories back in one silent swoosh, but LOST all memory of the last two weeks! Yes, "the mind is a mysterious thing."

  • In the square, Diego gets his magnificent boots polished and then kicks the guy who polished them. Antonio comes by, mentioning it's not going well with his cash situation.

    Diego tells him the "little bastard" (el bastardillo) has turned up. He sneers at Antonio's pleasure. He asks what Antonio feels for his wife Hipólita. "I feel affection for her, I want to see her happy." "Are you in love?" "No, it's not that. It's affection." "So, affection, as toward a sister - toward men, you feel passion." "Yes. I suppose that's what you, Diego, feel toward women." Is this a short course in "Effeminacy 101"? It's lame.

    "Were you ever in love, Diego?" "When I was 16, a maid drove me mad. ... what say we go back to my place and have an encounter? The exercise will release tension and make us feel better" Is Diego hitting on Antonio? They ride off chummy together in a little carriage.

    They have a nice little duel and a second discussion about mothers - Antonio uses the word "castrante" - Diego slips and calls Juana his mother, then quickly corrects his slip. He says she's run his life, and there have been "certain advantages" but he's no longer sure they've been worth it.

  • Marcos continues trying to find out if Bonifacio Gutierrez was a real person. I think this is the possibly apocryphal Panamanian businessman Diego had sent Luis to meet as part of an early murder attempt.

  • Asunción convinces Hipólita to go see Luis to say thank you for rescuing Rafael. (What did Luis do, actually? It was Gasca who brought the kid back.)

  • The meeting quickly degenerates into shouting. She still wants to go back to Panama but Luis sneers that she can't - between the revolution, and the closed borders, and her lack of papers, she's stuck for a good long while. "You're waiting for your wife to die, that's your solution?" "Rafael is my son." "You just fathered him in the course of an adventure, I was really his mother all those years." "Perhaps I begot him casually, but now I'm really his father and I can't let him go." "Nobody controls my life, no matter how rich and powerful." "Well, you can go back to Panama if you insist, but Rafael's staying here." Luis is heavy-handed when he's angry. He's peeved as she flounces out - I guess he realizes he didn't handle the situation well.

  • Luis morosely reviews his situation with Cristóbal (in bed looking absurdly rosy and well-fed) and Catalina. The newlyweds are holding hands. In defiance of Cristóbal's platitudes Luis reiterates: "I don't have the soul of a saint or a martyr and I don't intend to give her up." He flounces out.

    "He's so impulsive and visceral." "Just like Hipólita." C & C act like an old married couple, while in fact they have yet to do more than touch digits. She says: were she in Hipólita's position, she'd take the kid and go off with the man she loves. "That's impetuous of you." "Do you think me indecent?" "No, human."

    She's invited Hipólita to come back and stay at the Palacio Lara. C & C decide that's better than her staying at Juana's or going with her husband, who was not simply "inadequate" but shameful. "What perverse people."

  • Francisco tells Asunción he wants Hipólita to stick with Luis (for the dough, no doubt). "I haven't had a chance to get to know Antonio - what's he like?" A nice guy. "But no guts, else why let another guy stick it to his wife?" "He's an efeminado." "You don't say!"

  • Modesta disembarks from a carriage; Vicente happily tells her that Rafael has been returned. I actually had to rerun that part of the tape just to enjoy the ridiculous insincerity of Modesta's reaction. She inhales, hand over mouth, says "you don't say!" and gestures to heaven unconvincingly saying "What a miracle, thank you Señor." She covers her smirk as she toddles towards the palace.

    Juana is overcome with joy to see Modesta again, embraces her and strokes her face. "I was so alone, I missed you so much, so many things have happened."

  • At Felipe's house, Luis signs the agreement with the miners and apologizes for Diego's behavior. "I'll make sure we comply, I give you my word."

  • Hipólita has been packing and Ada's trying to find out from her where it is they're going! There's a knock on the door. "You can't take a step around here without everybody knowing." It's Antonio, happy to hear Hipólita has recovered her memory. She's just as mad at him as she is with everybody.

    He has to go to Mexico City to get the papers straightened out. "When are we leaving for the hostel?" "I don't want to go there with you." "We should leave this nest of vipers." "Are you going to force me?" He says he'll never force her to do anything.

  • Diego tells Antonio he's going to marry again. "I want an heir so the bastardillo will never be Count of Guevara."

  • "Ada, we need money." "Oh no, again? When I see that face I get scared." "I've had enough. They manipulate and decive me as if I were a marionette."

  • Gasca tells Juana about the intimate conversation in the square between Isabel and Sara. Gasca asks if Isabel had known Sara before, Juana lies and says she has no idea. Gasca leavs and Modesta is reassuring: "You banished Sara from the estate so she wouldn't notice you switched the babies, but that was a long time ago, it doesn't matter any more."

  • Malaquias admits he let Diego make the vanilla plantation deal (60%/40% split, Antonio with majority position) though he knew it was invalid without Luis's signature. "I've worked for them for years and in the end, I must obey them."

  • Luis tells Felipe he'll probably approve the vanilla deal as long as Hipólita lets him see Rafael whenever he likes. Felipe again suggests ratting Esperanza out to the Inquisition. "No, they won't forgive her, and I don't want to see her head paraded around the plaza."

  • Ada doesn't want Hipólita to work, it's below her, but Hipo points: "I'm illegitimate, I have an illegitimate son, I have no money, so how is it beneath me?"

  • Yet another knock at the door. Wait - wait - was that the little stuffed boy squeaking "Adelante!" ? [They probably got him a stand-in to read his lines. Rafael may be cute but I don't think his elevator goes all the way to the top floor. -- Ed.]

    It's Juana, whom Hipólita accuses of having engineered the whole business in order to keep Rafael in town. Juana insinuates that Luis has the legal right to take Rafael away from Hipólita, who then threatens to go to the Archbishop and the regidor to make sure Rafael's papers list her as his mother. Juana, menacingly: "I had hoped we'd be friends, but if you don't want that ..." She trails off with an ugly look and leaves, telling Modesta they'll simply have to get to the archbiship first to forestall Hipólita's efforts.

    Hipo (as they are calling her in the forums) is furious - if she'd never gotten her memory back, she might have lost Rafael forever. "Everybody deceived me - even you, Ada!" "Well, Luis said he was going to tell you everything." "Too bad he didn't do it."

  • Gasca ambushes Marina to find out who her mystery visitor is. She says "Margarita," he says she's lying, it's Victoria. He follows her demanding to know what they've been talking about and even hurts her arm when he grabs her.

    Enter Andrés, evidently coming for his interview with Juana. You may remember he used to have a jones for Marina (before he found out she was no longer a virgin because Diego raped her). He hasn't seen her as often since he has been wearing that cute apron sweeping the cobblestones outside the hostel, where Cristóbal got him a job.

    Andrés defends her from Gasca, who draws his sword, ready to run the young man through.

    Suddenly Victoria the Pirate Queen rises up in front of Gasca to protect Marina and says: "If you touch her you'll have to deal with me -- and you don't know how bad that can be."

    Marina thanks Andrés as he leaves.

    She walks with Victoria. Marina is not comfortable with Victoria, whom she calls "usted" - she says she's had too many surprises, and though she doesn't really believe her mom Victoria murdered her dad, she's been an orphan so long it's hard to have a mother, especially one fleeing from the law. Victoria: "When we have time I'll tell you exactly what happened. For now, tell me something I can do for you." "Like any woman, I want a good husband who loves me, kids, a pretty house."

    Victoria mentions Andrés, since she must have seen Marina giving him goo-goo eyes. Marina begs her mom not to intercede with Andrés for her - but then she does carefully give her the address of his place of employment!

  • Andrés has his appointment with Juana, who wants to know if he was the one who told that Diego was father of Esperanza's criatura. He denies it vehemently. Juana reminds him: "If there's more of this scurrilous libel I'll get even with the perpetrators."

  • In the square, the town crier is calling out job listings as Juana (in a fake-looking tiara) comes to prejudice the authorities against Hipo. The old bureaucrat, a bit confused by the story she's spinning, says: "But if this woman [Hipólita] is crazy and hysterical, she should be locked up." I think she tells him she has been given the job of taking care of Rafael, Luis's bastard son. "Your son has committed a grave error unless he fathered this child before he married." "With all due respect, if we punished all the varones who had illitimate children, the jails wouldn't be big enough."

    Getting back to her point, Juana continues: "While I don't want to speak ill of her, there are witnesses who will attest to her mental weakness." "And despite this, your son would entrust the care of his child to her?" "Well, it's not her fault, she got a blow to the head... the problem is, she thinks this child is hers." Aha! Juana, you malvada, you!!!

  • Antonio, Diego and Luis indulge in some horn-butting in the hallway. Antonio is planning to rent a house for his little family, but Luis taunts him: without papers, there is no proof they were ever married.

    Diego says Luis had no right to sign the miners' agreement. Luis says there was a verbal agreement, and if the word of the Count of the Guevara is not good, then perhaps he should not be the Count. This strikes a nerve, as one might expect. Diego tries to hit Luis but slips around on the smooth parquet floor (I've seen dogs do this, it's pretty funny) and Luis chokes him. Antonio suggests this is not the way civilized people behave. Luis's parting shot is to remind Diego of his cash-poor position.

  • Hipólita's off with Ada and Rafael looking for an apartment in a lousy neighborhood, saying: "We don't have the luxury of being picky." There are sheep, and a guy is lying in the dirt. The landlady shows them the room. They will use the common outhouse in the yard. Hipo says they can freshen the place up with some flowers. Ada cries at the prospect of Hipólita actually trying to work.

I post the new update every Wednesday and Saturday morning. All Alborada recaps are now listed in the sidebar to the right - below the small picture of Modesta and Doña Juana, just above the elephant. Click on the numbers (ONE TWO THREE ... ETC) to find them!

Amor Real
Entre el Amor y el Odio
Telenovela villains meet lurid, dreadful deaths

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At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings! Nos tiene con el jesus en la boca...I thought I posted a comment but I don't see it now, whch is good because I got it a bit wrong! My work pal, the lovely Maria, says this phrase is used in different circumstances, but when someone "puts Jesus in your mouth" then they are making you worried or afraid about something. Specifically, the ones with Jesus in their mouths are anticipating that something bad might happen, but hoping that it doesn't. Maybe praying, hence Jesus in the mouth? Yep, that's pretty much how Juana affects everyone. Unfortunately Maria doesn't know where this phrase comes from. Does anyone know the background? And hey, what about Victoria getting into it with Gasca? I'm dying for them to get into a swordfight and I'm placing my bet on the pirate queen!

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

melinama, Will the guest bloggers be posting here directly or will you be compiling their efforts and posting after March 10th?

Jean, Sylvia 1, Sylvia 2, or Ruth may also be able to answer this question.

thanks in advance for your fine efforts.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi girls!! About the phrase "con el Jesus en la boca", all I could find was that it comes "de la antigua costumbre coloquial (conversational; of the words and idioms characteristic of informal speech-Webster's New World Dictionary) de invocar a Jesucristo en momentos de tension, expectacion o afliccion, pronunciando su nombre (Jesus), invocandolo para asi prevenir desgracias o peligros". In Puerto Rico we also say "me tienes con el alma en un hilo". Thank you all for your summaries. Bye, Giselle

At 4:57 PM, Blogger melinama said...

My plan is that they will email their summaries to me (Jean B. emailed the first one to me this morning). I will compile them from the road and post them on the usual schedule. I.e., expect the next post - for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday - to appear Saturday morning, or as soon on Saturday as the Friday summarizer mails me her summary.

I'm off!

At 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Giselle, good research! I also asked my Spanish teacher about the phrase and he thought I was pulling his leg; he'd never heard of it. Like you he is from Puerto Rico, so would probably be familiar with your phrase "el alma en un hilo."
Sylvia 1

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you have a good and safe trip!

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two things going here that do not make sense. One Hipolita is so independent and modern, why on earth does she not ask for the price of grandmother's finca back and the money of her dowry. Antonio did not perform his part of the contract. Marriage was and is an economic contract, and he certainly broke the contract. She deserves her money back. This is her capital.
The other thing is she is so darn decent, but she is not paying Adalgisa. She is taking advantage of Adalgisa and she can not receive wealthy Cristobal's help?

What kind of economic sense is that. She should ask for her dowry and the price of granny's farm back and pay Adalgisa and rent a better place.

Last night (Thursday) It seems that dear aunt Isabel signed Luis death decree. I am sure that Gasca will shoot Luis tonight. Crazy Diego is not going to accept to loose Palacio Guavara. Any relation to the Che?


At 5:39 AM, Blogger A Dot said...

re:...con el Jesús en la boca...

When warding off evil or maliciousness, it is customary to invoke, "Jesús, María y José guardame/ayudame/protéjeme! Jesus, Mary and Joseph protect/guard me. Therefore, when one comes up against a particularly worrisome individual or situation, said person has you with bated breath, if you will.

Enjoying the English summaries as a catch-up for when my vcr fails!

I just adore the period costumes and jewelry. However, if any historians can help with this... would a lady be using a spinning wheel? Embroidery, cross-stitching yes, but knitting was something left more for commerce, que no?

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a couple of theories about the spinning wheel, but I have no way of knowing if any are correct. Maybe the writers thought that high class Mexican ladies actually did a little spinning on the side for extra pocket money (which, judging from the state of things, Juana might soon need!). Perhaps, though, the writers have done some serious research into the period. In late XVIII Europe (late 1700’s), it was considered rather chic among high society women to feign enthusiasm for rural pastimes, stemming from the great popularity of Rousseau’s philosophical theories about the advisability of man’s return to a “state of nature.” Marie Antoinette (before she lost her head obviously) was quite fond of dressing up as a shepherdess and leading her little flock of sheep around Versailles. Ladies of the time would play picturesquely at being shepherdesses or milkmaids or lace makers or spinners, without doing any real work, or course. This novela takes place some 25 years later, though. So maybe Juana is just following a fad that was popular in Europe some time before. However, given her driven personality, I think she just has a need to keep busy all the time. She’s not in charge of the business anymore, and she has to have something to do. Who knows? It’s only a TV show albeit an absorbing and entertaining one.

At 3:48 AM, Blogger A Dot said...

De acuerdo, Catalina, it's only a minor knit-pick on my part ;) All I had to draw upon was word-of-mouth and not documentable sources so yea, went with my gut on that one.


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