What You Should Be Watching: Las Aparicio

Las Aparicio poster

I have to preface this review with a muchas gracias to one of my international readers who turned me on to the Mexican telenovela, Las Aparicio.  The sexy soap opera chronicles the lives and loves of three generations of extremely strong, successful, and at times flawed, women who share a family tradition of all giving birth to girls and all being widowed in extraordinary circumstances.  Be it a curse or simply happenstance, the dark history is a central theme to the melodrama.  These women are survivors, mujeres guerreros, who stand with solidarity against today’s sociopolitical issues affecting the least among us.

Rafaela (María del Carmen Farías) is the maternal and moral mainstay of the familia.  This “tent-pole” character, along with nanny, Aurelia (Lourdes Villarreal), provide the voice-over narration of wisdom and experience, offering guidance to the foreshadowed emotional turmoil told of the beautiful Aparicio daughters.  I have to stop here and mention the gorgeous scenery of this production.  No, I am not talking about the lovely grounds of the Mexican countryside, I am referring to the Aparicio sisters.  Distractingly resplendent, I find myself rewinding entire time frames as I am lost in the allure.

Central to the storyline, and most of what you will find translated on the web, is the love triangle between the smoldering Julia Aparicio (Liz Gallardo), her sex addicted football-star boyfriend, Armando (Mario Perez de Alba), and her best and childhood friend, Mariana (Erendira Ibarra).  The drama ensues as Julia must decide which intersection is the right one for her.   Mariana, a lesbian with a homophobic and hurtful past, has been quietly in love with Julia most of her life.  Armando enjoys a national celebrity for his sports prowess, but it is his affinity for ball work off the field that gives Julia pause.  It becomes quite evident to the viewer that although Julia’s body belongs to Armando, her heart belongs to Mariana.  Much to this viewer’s delight, Julia’s complete anatomy soon paces up to her full heart when faced with a move with Armando and a life without her best friend.   Two hearts emotionally intertwined are lovely, yes, but the emotional impact of consummated love makes a much more profound and honest statement.  It is true, a soap opera with a same sex relationship that dares to move beyond a little hand-holding and amorous forehead bumping in its telling…a new concept for American audiences.

Hold on Cinderella, as this is an episodic drama and not a fairy tale.  There is no happy ending promised.  A triangle is a load bearing architectural device capable of enduring much weight, and this novella is only half constructed.  Armando follows Julia home and becomes the antagonist to win back her body and her heart.  I say bring it on!  Test this same sex pairing as a soap format would test any relationship.  Pile it high and see what holds.  Julia says she is now a lesbian, but dear god, she can’t even decide what to eat most of the time.  Confusion is her middle name.  As thoughts of Mariana ravage her mind, dreams of Armando ravage her body.  How will she decide?  Who knows, but as I have said time and time again about soap-like dramas and potential partnering, it doesn’t have to be gay, but it damn well better be good.  And this is good.  Muy bien!

As I grew up in the southern United States, my second language is English, so I have to thank all those Las Aparicio fans who have translated most of the episodes, or at least the Julia and Mariana parts.  I appreciate your dedication to get this wonderful series to the masses.  There are rumors that Las Aparicio will be moving to Telemundo.  I can only begin to speculate what controversy that could bring airing on an American television network that broadcasts in Spanish, with sponsors such as WalMart.

I can’t wait for the revolution…

Edited to add links to YouTube sites with English subtitles:  love2angel12nixawme, and scootgirl100