|There's always something spicy on Channel 23! Here in the U.S., the various Spanish-language channels (Telemundo, Univision, Telefutura) show many telenovelas throughout the day, so it's unknown whether Ignacio watches one novela in particular or many different ones. Occasionally we see English subtitles, but I think that those are just for our benefit, because of all the Spanish-language networks, Telemundo is currently the only one that offers translated captions, and those are only provided during primetime hours. Besides, I doubt that Ignacio would need to read the captions, even though they would have come in handy for learning English when he first arrived in the U.S. thirty years ago.|
In the first episode of "Ugly Betty," Salma Hayek, whose acting career started in Mexican telenovelas*, played a saucy maid who shared a passionate kiss with a dashing galán. Later in the episode, while she was admiring one of her rich employer's evening gowns, the wicked diva herself entered the room andwith much dramatic flairslapped the startled servant across the face (left, top). The wealthy Latina was played by Venezuelan-born novela star Lupita Ferrer ("Rosalinda"), who is no stranger to playing the villainess.
*Salma Hayek appeared in "Un Nuevo amanecer" in 1988 and starred in "Teresa" in 1989. I hope she recruits some of her novela co-stars (Jacqueline Andere, Gael García Bernal) to make appearances on "Ugly Betty"!
Starting with the second episode of "Ugly Betty," the telenovela that Ignacio watched was "Vidas de Fuego" (Lives of Fire).
Part 1 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 2 of "Ugly Betty"]
The Rivera family's very pregnant maid, Esmeralda (Marlene Favela), visits Padre Pedro (Sebastian Rulli) to tell him that she's naming her baby after his father, who happens to be the padre (father) himself. The two kiss passionately and she tries to convince him to leave the church and run away with her, but he tells her that the church is his life. Then Esmeralda's sister, Sister Eva (also played by Favela), enters and the padre hurriedly rushes away from the twins, so they can talk in private. Sister Eva questions Esmeralda about whether the Riveras know that she's pregnant, but Esmeralda says that the lady of the house only thinks that she's getting fat because she's just lazy. Sister Eva then tries to get Esmeralda to tell her who the father of her baby is, so she could help her and take her away from the town. As the two hug, Sister Eva looks suspiciously over her sisters shoulder in the direction in which Padre Pedro had departed.
Part 2 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 8 of "Ugly Betty"]
Sister Eva enters Padre Pedro's room and snoops to find proof that the priest is the father of her sister Esmeralda's baby, but she ends up finding a news clipping that reveals that he is in fact a thief and murderer named Ramon Castillo. At the church, Galo Rivera (Eduardo Rodriguez) goes into a confessional to atone for the love he has for a women who has devoted herself to the church. Padre Pedro tells him to say fifty Hail Marys and sends him on his way. As he leaves the confessional, Galo sees Sister Eva and longs for her. Sister Eva returns to Padre Pedro's room to confront him with the information that she discovered. He tries to vaguely defend his past actions, but without giving any real explanation or details.
Part 3 [clips from this chapter weren't featured in any episodes of "Ugly Betty"]
Sister Eva threatens to tell everyone about Padre Pedro's true identity, that of thief and murderer Ramon Castillo, but the good father then threatens to have her sent away to a convent far out in the middle of the desert before she'd have a chance to rat him out. Meanwhile, as Galo Rivera is watching a futbol (soccer) game on TV, his stepmother, Sofia (Ninel Conde), scolds him for sitting with his feet on the sofa, but then she tries to seduce him, yet again, even going so far as to tell him to call her "Mama." Galo is embarrassed when he realizes that Esmeralda has witnessed this intimate "family" moment. Just then, Padre Pedro enters to deliver a package to Esmeralda, which he says if from her sister, Sister Eva, but the envelope actually contains money that Pedro says is intended for their baby. Esmeralda says she doesn't want the money because she believes that Padre Pedro must have taken it from the church's offerings. Insulted, the padre slaps her face and then the two kiss passionately. Pedro/Ramon then easily convinces her that he couldn't possibly be a thief.
Part 4 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 3 and 4 of "Ugly Betty"]
As Esmeralda is sitting on the sofa and polishing a silver candlestick, Galo and his mother, Patricia (Helena Rojo), enter the room. The former Señora Rivera is enraged by seeing her maid sitting down on the job and watching television. Esmeralda claims that she has been given permission to sit and watch TV as long as she works while she's doing it. Sofia, the current Señora Rivera, enters the room and tells Esmeralda that she doesn't have to justify her actions to the ex dueña de la casa. Patricia tells Sofia that Galo is accompanying her to church, where people confess their sins, and she suggests that Sofia should try it sometime, but Sofia replies that there isn't anything for her to repent. Patricia is angry to see her son drooling at the spectacle of seeing Sofia in her bikini, so she drags him out of the room by his ear. As soon as they're out of earshot, Sofia shows her true feelings for Esmeralda by telling her to leave, saying that she's too fat to be of any use around the ranch. Sofia then takes Esmeralda's place on the sofa, lounging and watching TV. Next, we see Sister Eva praying. Esmeralda enters and asks her sister why she summoned her. Eva asks if there's anything Esmeralda wants to tell her about the father of her baby. The nun asks, "Are we supposed to pretend that this is some sort of Immaculate Conception?" She tells her sister that she knows that Padre Pedro is the padre of the baby, and she also reveals that he is actually Ramon Castillo, a thief and a no-good killer. Esmeralda says that Pedro is not a thief, murderer, nor is he the father of her baby. She also says that Eva is accusing him only because she is jealous. Sister Eva tells Esmeralda that someday she'll be sorry for her words and actions and God will forgive her, but Eva will not. Meanwhile, Patricia and Galo visit with Padre Pedro. After Pedro and Patricia walk off together, Sister Eva gets Galo's attention, pulls him aside, and tells him that it's time for him to confess, then she makes out with him in front of the confessional. Galo then says, "I confess... I want you!" Sister Eva takes her wimple off her head, kisses him passionately, and the two begin tugging each other's clothing.
Part 5 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 6 of "Ugly Betty"]
Galo enters Sister Eva's room stealthily and awakens the sleeping Bride of Christ. She tries to convince him to leave before anyone finds him there, but he wants her to admit that what happened between them in the confessional meant something to her. She tells him that they can never repeat that kiss ever again and he starts to storm off in anger, but before he leaves she asks him if she can borrow his soccer ball, which he seems to carry around wherever he goes. Galo acts as if she's asked him to give her one of his testicles, but then he reluctantly gives in to her request. She then puts the soccer ball under her dress and pretends to be her pregnant sister, Esmeralda, and goes to see Padre Pedro to try to trick him into admitting that he is the father of Esmeralda's baby, which he does almost immediately. When Padre Pedro/Ramon Castillo goes to put his hand on Esmeralda/Eva's belly, the soccer ball falls out from under her dress and he realizes that he's been tricked.
Part 6 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 7 of "Ugly Betty"]
Sofia sees Galo and asks him why he's been crying on such a special day. He says that he has just come to the realization that someone he cares about is not really the person that he thought she was. Sofia tells Galo that, unlike other people, she'll never abandon him. She starts making out with her stepson right when his real mother, Patricia, enters the room. Patricia lunges towards Sofia, but Galo restrains her. Sofia then opens the double doors that lead into the next room and reveals that there's a roomful of people there to give Galo a surprise birthday party. Patricia realizes that she can't make a scene in front of the party guests, so she joins the festivities. Galo then imagines that he and Sofia share some cake in a more private setting without any other party guests present. After Sofia makes a toast to Galo, Patricia collapses. Has someone poisoned her champagne?
"Muchas Muchachas" (literally, Many Girls, but aka Dancing Queens) is the story of klutzy waitress Lourdes (Sherlyn) who has just started a new job at Diamantina (aka Club Sparkle), a sexy burlesque club.
Part 1 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 14 and 15 of "Ugly Betty"]
Lourdes enters Maria Lorenzo's (Paty Manterola) dressing room and introduces herself. Maria is offended that a mere waitress would dare to enter her dressing room, but Lourdes (aka Lulu) explains that she was just looking for her uniform. Maria goes over to a rack of her own costumes and picks out a skimpy two piece and tells Lourdes that it's her uniform. While serving drinks to the club's owner, Alejandro (Arturo Carmona), and his friend Rey (Marco Mendez), clumsy Lourdes trips. She is embarrassed to learn that waitresses are supposed to wear black dresses. Alejandro points out that Maria plays dirty tricks on all the new waitresses. Rey comes onto Lulu, but instead of being flattered she throws a drink in his face instead. As she walks away she trips again and Rey laughs at her.
Catalina (Africa Zavala) stands in front of the mirror in her dressing room, stuffing her bra with tissues, when Alejandro walks in. Even though he tells her that she looks spectacular, she is not pleased to see him. Maria enters and wants to know what is going on. Alejandro tells Maria that he was just looking for her. Catalina approaches the bartender, Miguel (Rodrigo Nehme), and says that she'll have what Maria's drinking. Maria asks Catalina when she's going to stop copying her. Maria insults Catalina's dancing, so Catalina says responds by saying that she is a better dancer than Maria, and she promptly gets up to prove it. Maria accepts the challenge and gets up to show some of her own dance moves, then she tells Catalina that she'll never be a great dancer and she slaps her. Catalina tells Maria that her moves are ridiculous, and so is she, then slaps her in return. Just as Catalina pulls off Maria's wig, Miguel tries to intervene and Alejandro enters and wants to know what's going on. Alejandro wants to know why Miguel is defending Catalina and not Maria, Alejandro's girlfriend.
Alejandro takes Maria to her dressing room, and Miguel tries to comfort
Catalina by tending to her wounds and kissing her. Maria insists that Alejandro fires Catalina, but he says that he can't do that because Catalina is very popular with the customers. Maria suspects Alejandro of wanting to sleep with her nemesis, but he denies it. Maria is not convinced by his denial and she gets hysterical, fishing for compliments and reassurance. Then Maria tries to seduce Alejandro.
Maria drowns her sorrows with wine in her dressing room. She's not particularly gracious when Lourdes enters with a tray of food and then offers to help her apply her lipstick. Meanwhile, Catalina is jealous when she sees Miguel flirting with a customer. She snips the strap of her top with a pair of scissors and then asks Miguel to help her. After he fixes her strap she tells him that it's too bad that he's not rich, because if he were she might marry him. Maria, very drunk, staggers onto the stage and then falls off.
Part 5 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 13 of "Ugly Betty"]
Catalina demonstrates for Lourdes the proper way to do some pole-dancing moves, but the young girl is awkward and clumsy. Rey walks in, observes this private tutoring session, and thinks that his fantasies have come true. Maria, who is now in a wheelchair and a neck brace, comes in and shrieks that no one will take her place. Rey jumps up on the stage and carries Lourdes out of Maria's range. He takes her to the dressing room and offers to be her protecter, but Lourdes says that she'll be all right. Rey insinuates to Lourdes that the last performer at the club who crossed Maria ended up dead. He tells Lourdes that he loves her, but she doesn't believe him and she tells him to go.
Miguel, Rey, and Alejandro play poker in the club, with Catalina, Lourdes, and Maria sitting next to them. Lourdes apologizes to Rey for the way that she behaved the night before, then she squeezes his thigh. Alejandro and Maria cheat: she slips him cards under the table. Rey folds, but Miguel goes all in. Alejandro puts the keys to the bar in the pot and says that if he wins Miguel will hve to tend bar for free for the rest of his life. Alejandro has a full house, kings and aces, but Miguel wins with a royal flush. Alejandro pulls a knife on Miguel and says, "This bar will never be yours!" The women watch in horror as the men fight, but Miguel and Rey are victorious and they expel Alejandro and Maria from the bar. Miguel, Rey, Lourdes, and Catalina celebrate their liberation from Alejandro and Maria's tyranny. The guys both propose to their lady loves, and both women accept the proposals.
"Los Pecados del corazon" (Sins of the Heart) is the story of Selena Delgado (Galilea Montijo), who prepares to marry a man that she doesn't love.
Selena tries on the veil that she'll wear when she marries Esteban Rojas. Her sister Rosa (Jackie Garcia) enters Selena's room with an armful of flowers and Selena breaks down, saying that she "can't take it anymore," and she confesses that she doesn't want to marry Esteban, even though he's the heir to a vast sugar empire. Rosa says that she'd be thrilled to be marrying someone as rich and powerful as Esteban, because, after all, love isn't everything. After Rosa leaves the room, Selena's secret lover, a tennis coach named Lorenzo (Rafael Amaya), climbs through her bedroom window. Esteban (Jose Luis Resendez) arrives and knocks on Selena's door, causing Lorenzo to scramble to the bathroom to hide. Selena letsEsteban in and reminds him that it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding, but he tells her that he couldn't resist being near her. Esteban then says that he can smell Paco Rabanne cologne... and tennis balls... and he starts sniffing around her room. He looks under the bed and checks in the armoire, and then, with his gun drawn, he heads for the bathroom. Selena is certain that her secret affair is about to be exposed.
Part 2 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 32 of "Ugly Betty"]
All Esteban finds in Selena's bathroom is a bathtub filled with water and bubbles, not knowing that Lorenzo is hidden beneath the surface. Selena distracts Esteban, so Lorenzo can sneak out. She then stops Esteban's lovemaking by telling him that they have to wait for their wedding night. Downstairs, Rosa is told by her father that she shouldn't dress so provocatively the next night when they have a big party to celebrate the wedding, because Selena should be the center of attention. Selena's father has a talk with her, to remind her of how important the wedding is to their cocoa business, and he also tells her that she will learn to love Esteban, in time. Señor Delgado then gets a visit from a man called Lobo, to whom he owes a lot of money. It turns out that the family patriarch isn't dealing in cocoa at all, but in cocaine. Lobo says that if he doesn't get his money that very night he's going to come back to kill the entire Delgado family.
Part 3 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 26 of "Ugly Betty"]
Lobo assaults Señor Delgado, who promises that he'll get the money after the wedding. Lorenzo returns to find out whether Selena has told her father about their love, but she says that she couldn't. Lorenzo then asks Selena to elope with him, telling her that he's stolen the keys to her father's yacht, and she agrees to meet him there at dawn. Lorenzo can't climb out the window because Selena's father is sitting in the garden, so he sneaks through the house. On his way out, Lorenzo bumps into Rosa at the bottom of the stairs. She tells him that everything is going according to their plan and she proposes a toast. She purrs that the next day she will be the one to marry General Esteban Rojas, not her sister Selena.
Rosa gives Lorenzo the money she promised him for seducing her sister, but he tells her that he can't accept it. She grabs him and kisses him, just as Selena enters and sees the two of them. Lorenzo tells Rosa that when he agreed to her scheme he'd never imagined that he'd actually fall in love with Selena, but he did. Selena throws a temper tantrum in her room, but is interrupted by Esteban's knock. Selena tears her clothes and musses her hair, pretending that she's been beaten up... by Lorenzo. She leads her frenzied fiance to believe that Lorenzo tried to rape her. Selena then sends Esteban offwith his gunto find Lorenzo at the yacht.
As Selena prepares for her wedding, she waits for news of her cheating lover Lorenzo's death. She is surprised when he returns and professes his love for her, but then Esteban catches them in an embrace, sparking a climactic fight. Esteban aims a gun at Lorenzo, but they struggle and Lorenzo ends up with the weapon. Then Señor Delgado comes in with his own gun, followed by Lobo, who says that since the wedding won't be taking place he won't be getting his money, so he's going to kill them all.
Part 6 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 28 and 63 of "Ugly Betty"]
There's a standoff in the Delgado home as the guns are pointed from person to person. Señor Delgado drops his gun and begs Lobo not to hurt his family, but Lobo says that he's going to kill him last, so he has to watch his family die before him. Lorenzo drops his gun and says that since he's not a part of the family the Delgado's debt is not his problem. Then Esteban says that since he hasn't married Selena he's not a member of the family, so there's no reason to kill him either. Lobo tells the two ungallant galans that their cowardice makes him sick, but then he suspects that they might just be trying to trick him by pretending to be afraid. Lobo aims his gun at Esteban and is about to shoot. A gunshot is heard, Lobo falls, and Rosa stands in the doorway with a shotgun aimed at the spot where Lobo had stood. Instead of embracing her little sister, Selena walks over to her and slaps her face for having plotted to get Lorenzo to seduce her. Rosa then tells Selena that Lorenzo never accepted any of the money that she was going to pay him because her co-conspirator really did fall in love in the midst of all their scheming. Lorenzo tells Selena that it's all true, he did fall in love with her. A surprised Esteban then asks Rosa if she truly loves him, and she tells him that she does. So the orignal nuptial plans are changed to accommodate a double wedding ceremony, but during the reception everyone is shocked when a man who looks exactly like Esteban (but wearing a striped prison uniform) bursts into the room just as the couples are about to cut the wedding cake. He then claims to be the real Esteban Rojas!
"Asesinato por Muerte" (aka Murder by Death) revolves around the investigation, conducted by Detective Baptista, of a powerful businessman named Mateo Martinez. There are many motives and many suspects.
Mateo Martinez (Victor Noriega) makes love to Carmen (Altair Jarabo), his secretary, even though the two of them have a lot of work to do in order to prepare for a big office celebration that will take place that night. Just as he tells Carmen that he'll never leave his wife, Luisa (Luz Elena González), someone enters the office and turns on the lights. It turns out to be Luisa herself, so even though he is entwined with her on his desk and they are both in their underwear, Mateo and Carmen pretend that they are working. After Carmen leaves the husband and wife alone together, Luisa tells Mateo that she doesn't care about what he does, she only cares about her share of the company. Cruz (Valentino Lanús), the company's vice president, enters and tells Mateo that everyone is waiting for him to make his speech at the party, so he finishes dressing.
Part 2 [a clip from this chapter was featured in episode 38 of "Ugly Betty"]
Cruz tries to keep Luisa and Carmen from fighting, at least until they can work out their frustrations on each other in a vat of flan. Mateo takes the stage and thanks everyone for helping him to take the company to the top. Luisa is infuriated when he makes a point of thanking Carmen, his "very loyal assistant." Carmen is just as annoyed when Mateo then thanks Luisa. Just as Mateo is about to make a toast, Luisa hands him a glass of champagne. As Mateo drinks, the lights go out and a gunshot is heard. When the lights come on, Mateo is revealed lying on the dais, unconscious.
The detective reveals to the assembled crowd that according to the trajectory of the bullet, the gun must have been fired from the reception desk, which focuses suspicion on Carmen. She denies shooting Mateo, but the detective finds a pistol in her blouse. Carmen then confesses that she shot Mateo because he wouldn't leave Luisa for her, but the detective says that the bullet is not what killed Mateo, because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest. It turns out that there was poison in Mateo's champagne.
Part 4 [clips from this chapter were featured in episode 39 of "Ugly Betty"]
The rare poison in Mateo's champagne came from a snake, which turns out to be in Luisa's handbag. She confesses to poisoning her husband with her snake Pepito's venom because she was tired of his unfaithfulness. Detective Baptista then reveals that the poison is not what killed Mateo either. He then accuses Cruz of electricuting Mateo Martinez. Cruz then grabs the gun and tries to hold Carmen hostage.
Carmen tries to trick Cruz by flirting with him, but he tells her that now that he knows her he'd rather make love to the snake. He confesses that Mateo had caught him plotting to steal money from the company. That is why he rigged the microphone so that it would electricute his boss. Just as Cruz finishes confessing that he'd been skimming company funds to attend Spring Break in the U.S. and to buy expensive Russian vodka, made by Siberian monks, one of whom is at the party, Mateo steps forward, very much alive.
It turns out that the bullet-proof vest protected Mateo from Carmen's gunshot, but Luisa's poison did indeed kill him. However, Cruz's electrical shock then inadvertently served to revive him. Baptista then arrests the murderous trio and takes them away. After their departure, Mateo resumes his speech, but now he tells the assembled crowd to let this experience be a lesson to them all, that he is the king and they are all peasants, and he will never die. After he completes his rant, he tosses a peanut into his mouth and it gets lodged in his throat, but nobody in the crowd comes to his aid, so he chokes to death.
- No scenes from "Vidas de Fuego" were featured in the fifth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth episodes of "Ugly Betty." The only thing we saw on TV in the tenth episode was a burning yule log, which has been a Christmas tradition on New York's Channel 11 (WPIX) since 1966 (except for 1989 to 2001). The yule log broadcast went national in 2004 when it debuted on Christmas Eve on Superstation WGN. The Suarezes set their TV within the hearth to make the experience more realistic. "Vidas de Fuego" made its last appearance in "Four Thanksgivings and a Funeral."
- According to "Ugly Betty": The Book, the pilot's telenovela was the same one that would be known in later episodes as "Vidas de Fuego". So Salma Hayek's character was the same maid, Esmeralda, who would later be played by Marlene Favela, and Lupita Ferrer's character was Patricia Rivera, would later be played by Helena Rojo.
- All of the "Vidas de Fuego" clips were filmed in one day at Mexico City's Televisa studios and were produced by Rosy Ocampo. Televisa is where Mexico's version of the Betty story, "La Fea más bella," was filmed, and Ocampo was also that show's producer.
- The "Vidas de Fuego" telenovelita scenes were written by "Ugly Betty" staff writers Veronica Becker and Sarah Kucserka, who also wrote "Fake Plastic Snow."
- Sebastian Rulli and Marlene Favela actually co-starred in a real telenovela in 2005, "Contra viento y marea" (literally, Against Wind and Tide, or figuratively, Against All Odds), playing star-crossed lovers.
- Sebastian Rulli was one of producer Rosy Ocampo's first choices to play Aldo Domenzain in "La Fea más bella," but the role ultimately went to Juan Soler when Rulli joined the cast of "Mundo de Fieras."
- In November of 2006, ABC put clips of the telenovelita, "Vidas de Fuego," on their "Ugly Betty" website (with new "webisodes" being added every Thursday). These clips were soon joined by clips of Ignacio's next telenovela, "Muchas Muchachas" and "Los Pecados del Corazon." ABC also made these telenovelita chapters available for download on cell phones for those who have V Cast capability.
- "Muchas Muchachas" (aka Dancing Queens) first appeared onscreen in "In or Out." Paty Manterola, who plays Maria Lorenzo, made a guest appearance as herself on "La Fea más bella" in 2006.
- "Asesinato por Muerte" (aka Murder by Death) features music from "La Fea más bella."
- "Asesinato por Muerte" co-stars Valentino Lanús and Altair Jarabo would later appear together in "Llena de Amor", a Mexican remake of "Mi Gorda Bella".
"Grdznobata Tqveobashi" (Captive Feelings)
"Grdznobata Tqveobashi" is the soap opera that Tamuna Chelidze's father Rezo and their neighbor Venera Soselia watch on "Gogona Gareubnidan", the Georgian adaptation of "Ugly Betty" that began in May 2010, just weeks after its American progenitor ended. "Grdznobata Tqveobashi" airs on the fictional channel TV 11, where Tamuna works as the assistant to the new station director. The show-within-a-show features Nino Javakhishvili (as the maid), Zviadi Uridia (the man of the house), Nikusha Taniashvili (male servant), and Sanata Dzadzamia (the lady of the house), who are listed along with the rest of the cast during the opening credits of "Gogona Gareubnidan".