I think all children should learn their manners from the moral failings of Mexican soap opera divas.
The other day I spent a wonderfully unproductive hour transfixed in front of a soap called "Sonadoras," which appears to be Mexico's answer to the Spice Girls. Most of the episode consisted of seven or eight girls lounging in a luxuriously furnished room, gossiping and exchanging dark, significant glances. One of them either had really bad acne, or the measles, or the plague. When a man phoned (possibly the sick girl’s father) she tried hard to convince him not to come see her. I believe she used the Spanish word for contagious repeatedly. He obviously didn't know that all her friends were there with her plotting sedition, or a pajama party, or the formation of a drug cartel. Eventually another girl showed up who bore a striking resemblance to Scary Spice. This was the occasion for many more dark glances and much organ music. One of the girls stood behind Scary Spice and gesticulated wildly in a broad pantomime indicating silence. Of course, the other girls ignored her and there followed recriminations, and pillow-throwing, and tears. All the girls eventually clasped Scary Spice in a wet embrace and whatever infraction she had committed——whether her stand against narcotics trafficking, or her rainbow hair extensions and star-appliqué bindi dot——seemed for the moment forgotten.
Meanwhile, just in time to hold my interest, two very attractive young men were drinking champagne and contemplating snorting cocaine off a billiard table. The darker of the two—-a muy-macho Jason Patrick-type-- was trying to get his smaller, lighter-complexioned friend to give in and try it. The sexual tension throbbed like a teenager's erection.
After this episode I missed Sonadoras two nights in a row. I taped both episodes, of course, because otherwise I would have fallen very far behind. Unlike American soap operas where a woman can carry the same child for two-and-a-half years, Mexican novelas fly by at the speed of light.
Remember the two guys from the first episode who were about to do cocaine off the pool table? Well, they did it! Off-camera, which is too bad, because it would have been a real turn-on to watch them bend close to each other's crotches and snort lines. But the important thing is that it happened, and it was a testament to their obvious attraction for each other. (Spanish machismo is so insular, with its implication that men necessarily need nothing more than each other, that it inevitably seems homoerotic...)
The coke got them so hot that they ordered up a couple of party girls to come play (you could tell the girls were professionals by the automatic way they lit up when more coke appeared, as if this was a pleasant surprise they'd been counting on all along.) I would have been happier if they had hired just one whore because that would have meant they were planning a threesome, which everyone knows is just an excuse for straight guys to touch each other in bed. But it was a foursome, which meant they were having an old-fashioned orgy——a much less interesting dramatic choice but one, given Sonadoras' early time slot and teen following, that was perhaps inevitable.
Soon they were all making out in the parlor--when suddenly the dark, Jason-Patrick-looking guy began banging aggressively on a piano, and his buddy started singing loudly and flashing looks that suggested that he wouldn't mind getting banged next. This confused the whores who parked themselves on the couch like sad, forgotten dolls. Unfortunately, in their naiveté the guys had chosen the parlor of the younger one's house to stage their orgy/musical and the noise soon attracted his mother who, when she saw what her son was up to, petitioned Christ and all his Saints and immediately called the boy's father (who, try to keep up, I believe is a drug lord posing as a banker who saw immediately the dangers his son was subjecting himself to in snorting cocaine off the asses of whores-from-who-knows-where.)
The father left his bank and his slutty blond secretary and came running with all his capos to see for himself what was going on. Meanwhile, his son had dragged the party out to the backyard where he inexplicably played a very beautiful Schubert sonata on his violin, while standing in the deep end of an empty pool. I think this was meant to demonstrate the actor's versatility, although it also showed how sensitive and artistic (read gay) his character really is. When the father arrived he angrily dismissed his son's friend and the whores and had his capos drag his son off to a clinic...where the entire entourage was met by a barrage of news cameras! Obviously, the father has a leak in his organization bigger than the one in his pool.
Meanwhile, back at the home of the Spice Girls, a maid appeared and served a tray of sushi to the gang. This was a clue as to what the girls were up to because I don't care how modern teenagers are, they don't throw a pajama party only to eat Japanese food served by a domestic. So it wasn't that. Also, this ruled out the possibility that they were plotting a military coup, because no self-respecting leftists would ever eat anything as bourgeois as salmon roll with mango. That meant that the Spice Girls actually were a drug cartel... and quite possibly lesbo.
I no sooner figured this all out than they flashed to the dark-guy (whose name I finally figured out is Manuel) back at his apartment. In a display of bisexuality that only made him appear more attractive he had taken both whores home with him. They were climbing all over him but he couldn't see their tits-and-ass through his tears because——in a display of grief for his hospitalized lover that only made him more attractive still-- he was crying his eyes out. When the whores pressed their luck Manuel grabbed them both by their hair and, in a display of machismo that was impossibly attractive, threw them out the front door. (Of course, I don’t approve at all of violence against women, but anyone could see how the poor guy was suffering and the whores really should have been more sensitive.)
No sooner had he slammed the door shut, and began swearing on the twenty-four balls of the twelve apostles of Christ that he would never do anything so stupid again than the doorbell rang and, guess who was there? The Spice Girls! I was glad then that I had guessed that they were dealing drugs because how else would they have known what had gone down if they hadn't been tipped off by an informant in the father's rival drug gang? Each of the girls wore a look of shock, no doubt because they had figured out long before that Manuel was gay and in love with his best friend and the appearance of the fleeing-whores-in-the-hallway was a real surprise. They were good enough actresses though to allow a gleam of desire into their expressions-- hinting that theirs was a bisexual, or ambisexual, rather than a purely lesbian drug cartel. This was a stroke of brilliance on the part of the director because it left open the possibility for many more sexual couplings, and the possibility of sexual coupling is the very fabric of melodrama.
The head Spice Girl, however, was pissed. (I could tell she was the leader because she was less frivolous than the others, with just a simple nose ring for jewelry, and she had stripes of Susan Sontag-like premature grey on either side of her head, doubtless from the strain of assembling and commanding an international drug cartel before the age of twenty.) She dismissed the other girls and entered Manuel's apartment alone where she really let him have it. Obviously, he's just a piece of mid-level muscle in her organization and he almost blew everything by acting so rashly. Doesn't he know, she demanded, that she's an upstart in the Mexico City drug world, and her plan to take over the cocaine traffic depends entirely on the element of surprise? She screamed all this at Manuel, oblivious to his pain, adding that he nearly ruined everything by shoving coke up the nose of the son of her rival (of course, not understanding even the rudiments of Spanish, I gathered most of this by deduction...)
Manuel couldn't have cared less because he realized then that he really was in love with his best friend. The camera cut then to the hospital where his lover was coming down fast, and facing his father, a priest, and an interview with his Narcoholics Anonymous counselor. His face registered real contrition. Personally, I think this whole story line was inserted as a morality tale for teenagers on the dangers of "los drogas". But really, moralists should take care when inserting lessons into popular culture. Because, when you think about it, an intelligent young person could just as easily come to the conclusion that, if you want to feed drugs to your best friend in order to get into his pants, don't choose cocaine, as it will only make him paranoid. Downers are better, and will leave him relaxed and muy receptivo. You'll save money to boot, because not only are barbituates cheaper then cocaine, you won't have to hire whores to keep up appearances.
Wheh! I thought I could get through at least two whole episodes, but you see what a complex and vivacious world we've stumbled upon, and I feel it best to proceed slowly until I'm sure of precisely what is going on. In the meantime, I've already learned so much. I’m collecting new Spanish words all the time— today I picked up los drogas, peligrosa, and que?!? (this last was the first word everyone said in response to everything anyone else said, accompanied by a grimace of shock and surprise. What an unpredictable world our Mexican friends inhabit!)