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Series / Um Anjo Caiu do Céu

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“Even an inexperienced cherub like myself knows that there’s no such thing as family issues! There are just words you mortals came up with. What exists is suffering. Injustice. Always, even in the best families.”

Um Anjo Caiu do Céu (“An Angel Fell From Heaven”) is a Brazilian telenovela created by author Antônio Calmon and broadcast by Rede Globo in its 7PM timeslot from January 22nd, 2001 to August 25th, 2001. The series follows João Medeiros (Tarcísio Meira), a renomed photographer who spends most of his time traveling the world doing his job, paying next to no attention to the Big, Screwed-Up Family he left back home in Rio de Janeiro.

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After taking a picture of a Nazi leader in hiding, João suffers an attack from Nazi agents, but is rescued from certain death by the cherub Raphael (Caio Blat), who gives him six more months of life in order to rekindle his bonds with his family and resolve their issues. João's ex-wife Naná (Renata Sorrah) has married a different man, the shady Tarso (José Wilker), but still seems to harbor feelings for her old flame; their eldest daughter Duda (Patrícia Pillar) is in a constant state of anguish due to the ten-year disappearance of her son Kiko (Jonatas Faro), while her sister Virgínia (Deborah Evelyn) refuses to acknowledge João as her father due to him not being there for her when she had to amputate her leg in an accident many years ago. And then there's Cuca (Débora Falabella), an illegitimate daughter of João's, conceived after a one-night stand with Naná's younger sister Laila (Christiane Torloni). After years of being pressured into a modeling career by her mother, Cuca is kicked out of home when her true parentage comes to light, and runs away to São Paulo. Now aware of all of this, João decides to come back to Rio and set his family straight, joined by Raphael, now acting as his Guardian Entity and assistant. As he heads into the world of the mortals, Raphael discovers all the gamut of emotions humans can experience, in particular love, as he develops a crush on Cuca—on the other hand, he finds out he's gradually losing his powers, and must choose between remaining as a mortal or going back to Heaven as an angel.

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The full series can be found here.


The novela contains examples of:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Raphael falls hard and fast for Cuca upon first laying eyes on her, but she doesn't seem to return his affections most of the time and eventually falls in love with ace pilot Breno, much to Raphael's dismay.
  • Angelic Beauty: Raphael, who is a full-on Pretty Boy. Just look at him.
  • Animated Credits Opening: As seen here (with the opening theme being provided by Pato Fu, no less!). In fact, the animated version of Raphael features pretty prominently in the marketing for the series, appearing in the first few teaser trailers as well as the CD cover for the series' Portuguese-language soundtrack compilation, both via means of the Roger Rabbit Effect.
  • Angelic Transformation: Seems to be a common occurrence. Towards the latter half of the series, Raphael spends a few episodes Brought Down to Normal before becoming an angel again for good, and João also becomes an angel officially.
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  • Artifact Title: Contrary to what the title and opening credits may indicate, Raphael doesn't actually fall from Heaven, but is just sent there in order to watch over João.
  • Babies Ever After: A Brazilian telenovela staple, which has naturally found its way here. Several characters (even Raphael!) end up having babies, so much so that Telmo's new collection is targeted specifically towards pregnant women.
  • Bastard Angst: What leads Cuca to run away to São Paulo at the start of the story.
  • Betty and Veronica: A genderflipped variant. Dutiful, innocent angel Raphael is the Betty to Cuca's Archie, while charming daredevil ace pilot Breno is the Veronica.
  • Call-Back:
    • Raphael is first introduced playing the harmonica before passing by the bar where João and Emanoel are and watching João hit on a local woman. Raphael's harmonica-playing skills are later commented on by Kiko, with Raphael stating that "if [he were] a Medeiros, [he]'d be the best of the best".
  • Camp Gay: Budding stylist Ávila. This also appears to be the case with both the real Selmo de Windsor and Paulinho masquerading as him, but it's established early on that Paulinho likes women, as he starts out in a relationship with Lulu and eventually falls in love with Virgínia, therefore subverting the trope. Selmo/Telmo also subverts it when he comes back into the story and ultimately ends up with Lulu.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Raphael has his moments.
    João: Do you think you could make me invisible again, just to spy on Tarso?
    Raphael: Oh, sure! You'll just have to get into another coma.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: During one episode, Raphael walks in on Cuca dancing around her bedroom in nothing but her underwear, and finds himself having to avert his gaze from her in order to get back his "angel game". However, it doesn't take long for her to unwittingly wander into his line of sight, and poor Raphael is so mesmerized by the sight that he passes out.
  • Dutch Angle: Many scenes are filmed from strangely stilted angles, a directorial approach inspired by the movies Prêt-à-Porter and Mission: Impossible.
  • Evil Redhead: Nazi spy Lenya. Subverted after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: When João first meets Raphael in Heaven, Raphael has shapeshifted to take on João's appearance, and after Raphael introduces himself as an angel, João, unsettled by the image of such a youthful-sounding voice coming out of his own image, asks Raphael to change back into his real form. Raphael does as such... And João promptly bursts into laughter at the sight of the teeny, skinny, baby-faced young man standing before him.
    Raphael: [visibly irritated] What are you laughing at, dude?!
    João: I'm sorry, it's just that I've always imagined angels as being these tall, imponent figures...
    Raphael: I told you I'm just a cherub!
    João: Yeah, but as far as cherubs go... [chuckles] Back on Earth, you'd be called a pipsqueak.
  • A Family Affair: Prior to the story’s beginning, João cheated on his wife with his sister-in-law Laila, conceiving Cuca in the process.
  • Fish out of Water: Being an angel roaming around the mortal realm, Raphael is naturally prone to being this.
    Expedita: [to Naná in hushed tones, about Raphael] This kid is kind of a loon, he mistook flowers for food, he's sitting on top of the table—he's a mad man, Naná!
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The series' portrayal of Heaven is fairly standard, but also includes a few rock formations and is heavy on the magitek: the angels can see the action down on Earth via flat screens, and they all carry their own portable devices called "angel games", used to watch over humans while on Earth.
    João: [referring to Angelina] Get this weird lady out of here! And get me out of here as well, I'm sick of this place! Everything's white here, the food is white, the clouds are white, everything's white! I AM THROUGH WITH THIS!
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: During the Carnaval costume party episodes, Raphael manages to sneak in by getting himself a fancy new costume, with Giant Poofy Sleeves and plenty of Feather Motifs. It suits him so well that he adopts it as his official in-duty angel uniform for the remainder of the series, replacing his more casual-looking ensemble from the earlier episodes.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Being a Brazilian telenovela, it's not much of a surprise that there are several B-plots going on alongside the main one, the most notable being that of Paulinho and Lulu, who start out working for pompous fashion designer Selmo de Windsor before he seemingly passes away of a heart attack. This results in Lulu coming up with the idea of having Paulinho take on Selmo's identity and head back to Brazil with her in order to get a healthy buck from Laila's offer of having him teach at her fashion academy.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Tarso starts out as a rather shady character, but is able to turn over a new leaf thanks to some divine intervention, mainly from João.
    • The Nazi spy Lenya changes sides after she falls in love with the anti-Nazi Josué, to the point of actively fight her former neo-Nazi fellows.
  • Heroic Bastard: Laila conceived Cuca from an affair with her brother-in-law João. Discovering that her legal father isn’t her biological father kicks off her journey.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Alice, one of the students from the fashion academy. She is usually seen in thick-rimmed glasses and braided pigtails, and receives a glamorous makeover for a photoshoot at one point, but it doesn't stick.
  • Guardian Entity: Raphael, and later Angelina, towards João.
  • I Have No Son!: Upon finding out that he's been lied to for years and Cuca was never really his daughter, Laila's husband Alceu is so furious, he launches into an angry tirade at Cuca telling her to leave the house, which, in turn, drives her to tears. And Laila, being as stuck-up as she is, only makes things worse for the poor girl. And while Cuca's relationship with her mother does get better throughout the series, the same can't exactly be said for her father.
  • Important Haircut: Cuca after she runs away from home, chopping off her long locks and adopting Boyish Short Hair in order to free herself from her mother's control.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Plenty to go around, with the most notable being the partnership between João and Raphael.
  • Man in a Kilt: Not quite a kilt, but Raphael's fancier in-duty angel uniform (see For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself) includes a skirt that is short enough to expose his lean legs. When he and Cuca are alone in the LZ-129 nightclub after the Carnaval costume party, we see Raphael's feet dangling in front of the camera before it pans all the way up his body towards his face, passing by his bare legs and thighs as it does so.
  • Missing Child: Kiko, who was kidnapped on a family trip to the beach ten years prior to the events of the series, and starts out living a life of abuse at the hands of his foster family, his only friend being his foster sister Dorinha, whom he eventually falls in love with.
    • I Will Find You: Duda's primary motivation throughout the story is to find her son again, so much so that she joins a non-governmental organization focused on finding missing children like him.
  • Modesty Towel: Raphael appears draped in one during one episode, when Cuca visits him to ask him why he's always so willing to help her out as well as to wonder why he wasn't credited for Alice's post-makeover photoshoot pictures. Curiously, Raphael seems to wrap his towel in a way that hides most of his torso but keeps his chest exposed, somewhere inbetween the male and female variants. After Cuca kisses him on the cheek and leaves, he becomes so giddy he throws his hands in the air and ends up pulling his towel off in the process, quickly covering himself for precaution once he realizes what he just did.
  • Near-Death Experience: João goes through this at the start of the story, which is what sets it in motion.
  • Not Quite Dead: Selmo de Windsor turns out to have gotten better from his heart attack, making his way to Rio and going by his real name of Telmo.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Courtesy of the song "Divano", which is one of the recurring musical themes of the series.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Raphael appears to slot more into the early Christian definition of a cherub, if his Guardian Entity role towards João is anything to go by. While he, much like the other angels seen on the show, doesn't seem to possess real wings (unlike his animated depiction), he does shed a few feathers from time to time and often wears a metallic headband, hidden by his curly hair, which seems to act as a modern equivalent for a Holy Halo.
    • It's also implied that angels choose their own names. When introducing himself to João, he comments that he is not, in fact, the Archangel Raphael, but just a cherub who looks up to him to the point of naming himself after him.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • João, who has two daughters with his ex-wife, one daughter with his former sister-in-law, and eventually turns out to have another child, a son named Rodrigo, with a woman who is the spitting image of his ex-wife. It's said that João's infidelity was one of the factors that led to him and Naná splitting up.
    • In a twist of irony, this ends up happening to Raphael himself; during his days as a mortal, he winds up conceiving kids with three of the female students from the fashion academy, which gets him in hot water with the higher-ups at Heaven. Needless to say, he's very embarrassed to find out that he got all three of the girls pregnant.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Raphael comments at one point that he is thousands of years old, “at the peak of his youth,” implying that by angel standards, he's still as young a man as his appearance would suggest, despite being ancient by human standards.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Special Guest: Two later on, in the form of rockstar Supla as heartthrob model Alex de Leon and TV presenter Angélica as cherub Angelina.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening titles already show Cuca with her Boyish Short Hair before her Important Haircut.
  • They Do: Cuca and Breno, who eventually wed in a lavish ceremony by the sea, with nearly the entire cast in attendance.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The very reason as to why João nearly dies to begin with was due to him having taken pictures of a Nazi leader who has secretly decided to go to Praga to attend his wife's funeral, and after João's miraculous recovery, Nazi agent Lenya (who just so happens to be Ávila's sister) is sent to Rio in order to dispatch of both João and the negatives of the pictures he took.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Cuca enjoys surfing, doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps as a model, and even pulls a Sweet Polly Oliver at one point, but that doesn't stop her from having the same affinity for the arts as her father (at least, that's how Raphael describes it) and from wearing pretty feminine clothing every so often.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Raphael quickly grows enamored with popcorn after arriving in Rio, so much so that he is even shown eating it for breakfast on more than one occasion. If a comment made by Angelina later on is any indication, it seems popcorn is also God's favorite food.
  • Verbal Tic: Not in a traditional sense, but João appears to refer to everyone as "Julião".
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