Series: Maria La Del Barrio
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 Alcoholic - Luis Fernando, at least in the first half of the show is often seen drowning his sorrows, at first because of his breakup with Brenda.
- 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.
- Drowning My Sorrows - Fernando after Brenda breaks up with him.
- 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.
- Expository Theme Tune - Sung by Thalia herself.
- 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.
- Hollywood Healing - Soraya is supposedly dead after falling out of a two-story building, but is later shown undergoing intense physical rehab in Texas and she later recovers miraculously.
- 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.
- Knife Nut - Penelope's weapon of choice, at least in prison, is a switchblade.
- Luke, I Am Your Father - Calixta's revelation that she is actually Soraya's mother.
- Love Makes You Evil - Most of Soraya's actions were driven by her love / obsession for Luis Fernando, but by the second half of the show, she just didn't care anymore.
- 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.
- Mr. Fanservice - Luis Fernando, who had no less than three romantic interests in the series and was often shown in either shirtless or swimsuit scenes, at least in the first half of the show. The actor, Fernando Colunga, is often seen in Spanish gossip magazines and is still playing lead roles in novelas nearly 20 years later.
- Murder the Hypotenuse - Soraya's usual MO for dealing with people, particularly Maria. Weirdly enough, later on the series when she returns, she doesn't even care about Luis Fernando anymore and is mostly out for revenge on Maria for ruining her life.
- Not Quite Dead - Soraya falls out of a three-story building and is believed to be dead, but we later see her in intensive recovery in Texas later on.
- Parental Incest - Luis Fernando thought that Nandito, their son, was actually Maria's lover.
- 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.
- Rags to Riches - Maria starts off in the series as a destitute orphan girl and eventually becomes a wealthy lady.
- Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome - At least they used a time skip to explain the kids getting older.
- Special Effects Failure - Soraya's fall from a three-story building is very fake-looking, from the obvious green screen effects and even the stunt double in the fall looks nothing like the actress, besides wearing the same clothing as her.
- Talking Your Way Out - María tries this when Soraya has kidnapped her and she regains her memory, but by then Soraya has completely lost her shit.
- They Do - Luis Fernando and Maria get married about halfway into the series.
- Title Drop - María is often called "María, la del barrio" as an insult.
- Troubled, but Cute - Luis Fernando is introduced in the show as a bitter and angry alcoholic, mostly because of his breakup with Brenda. He takes out most of his anger on either Maria or Soraya.
- Unwanted Harem - María attracts just about every eligible bachelor on the show. Luis Fernando does the same with most of the women.
- Wicked Stepmother - Soraya eventually. She marries the doctor that helped her recover after her fall and later had him killed, leaving the doctor's daughter Alicia with Soraya.