Literally: "María from the Ghetto/Neighborhood" (1995-1996). A popular Mexican telenovela
starring singer Thalia, which skyrocketed her to international fame, as well as Fernando Colunga and Itatí Cantoral to a lesser extent. It is a remake of the popular 1979 telenovela Los ricos también lloran
("The Rich Also Cry").
María is a 15-year-old orphan girl
who loses her godmother, but before she passes, she asks the local priest not to leave María to fend for herself. The priest begs his wealthy benefactor, Don Fernando, to let María live in his home as a servant, but the man instead brings María in as his ward, drawing the ire of his wife Victoria and her niece, Soraya. María falls in love with the Don's Troubled, but Cute
son, Luis Fernando, but also has to fight for his affections with the treacherous Soraya and her accomplices.
If you want to think about a Trope Codifier
of the modern audience's view of a Spanish telenovela, look no further. The show contained several catfights, staged pregnancies, faked deaths, and heaps of drama. María la del Barrio
also had a recent resurgence in popularity among Spanish speakers because of ridiculous antics of the main villain Soraya, as well as a remake for Filipino audiences in 2011.
The novela contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless - After Nandito gets stabbed and Esperanza is badly beaten up, there's a group of 5-6 adults simply standing around wondering if there's anything they could do.
- The Atoner - Penelope after María's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Beautiful All Along - María isn't by any stretch ugly, but she is given lessons in etiquette and language to turn her from a simple country girl into a Proper Lady.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension - Between María and Luis Fernando, although this mostly faded as they both grew up. Luis's bouts of anger are definitely not played for laughs later, though.
- Betty and Veronica - María (Betty) and Soraya (Veronica) for Luis Fernando and Vladimir (Betty) and Luis Fernando (Veronica) for María.
- Break the Cutie - Most of the show consisted of bad things happening to either María, Alicia, or Nandito.
- The Cast Showoff - Thalia sang the novela's opening song, and also sang during the show.
- Contrived Coincidence - María kept continously running into Nandito, who was the son that she had abandoned shortly after she gave birth.
- Dawson Casting / Playing Gertrude - María, Soraya, and Luis Fernando were played by the same actors even after 20 years had gone by on the show. Thalia first appears as María as a 15-year old when she was 24 at the time and Itatí Cantoral first plays an 18-year old Soraya at 20 years old. They don't even bother changing other characters' appearances.
- Disabled Love Interest - Alicia, for Nandito.
- The Dulcinea Effect - A kindly doctor decides to take in María during her bout of amnesia.
- Easy Amnesia - María has two such instances of amnesia, the first of which after her pregnancy when she gives up her child, and the second after her time in prison.
- Easily Forgiven - The maid just tried to stab her employer? It's okay, she was just having an off day.
- '80s Hair - On the main cast, only Luis Fernando, but his ex-girlfriend Brenda had huge poofy 80s hair. This series was from the mid-90s.
- Girls Behind Bars - Not sexualized at all and is simply played for drama. María becomes ruthless in order to survive in prison.
- Heel-Face Turn - Penelope, after believing that María died in the prison fire.
- Heroic BSOD - Maria goes through one during her pregnancy. The first time, at least.
- Heroic Sacrifice - María during the prison fire, although she doesn't die.
- Idiot Ball - A lot of the drama would have been resolved in the 2nd part of the show if María just told her husband that Nandito was their son.
- Ill Girl - Alicia, the infamous MALDITA LISIADA!
- Kissing Cousins - Nobody bats an eye to Luis Fernando and Soraya getting married, this is because Soraya isn't actually Victoria's niece.
- Makeover Montage - María's "transformation" into a true lady.
- Mama Bear - You do not want to get in between María and her children.
- May-December Romance - Nandito and Soraya. Luis Fernando also assumed Nandito was María's lover before he knew better.
- Police Are Useless - The police only ever turn up at the right moment twice.
- Put on a Bus - Vladimir mysteriously disappears forever after María turns him down. According to the actor, there was going to be a further plotline where he became involved with Soraya, but it never happened.
- Luis Fernando's sister Vanessa disappears in the second half of the show as well.
- Title Drop - María is often called "María, la del barrio" as an insult.
- Unwanted Harem - María attracts just about every eligible bachelor on the show.