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*Latin guitar riff*

"Because telenovelas... are hell."
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Telenovelas Are Hell is a web series produced by Funny or Die, in which an unseen narrator recaps various Latin American telenovelas of the 90s and 00s in a humorous manner, often pointing some of the poor stylistic or writing choices of the show, as well as their melodramatic nature.

Playlist on YouTube.

See also its sister series, Zack Morris Is Trash and A Very Special Episode.


This series provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: The narrator actually gives her compliments to a scene from María Mercedes for being entertaining, even if it seems to have been meant as scary.
    Narrator: The moment his mom hears of the pregnancy, she devises a plan to make María look like she's insane: She dresses up as this terrigying ghoul and scares the shit out of her, which I personally think is kind of hilarious.
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  • Adapted Out: Given that this is a series about recapping telenovelas that are about 200-odd episodes long into around 5-minutes long videos, some things are bound to be left out. This was most notorious in the Pasión de gavilanes video, where several prominent supporting characters are left out, most egregiously Rosario Montes, who as one YouTube commenter described, had musical acts that filled about 70% of the story, and Dínora Rosales, an antagonist who was actually one half of the series' Big Bad Duumvirate alongside Fernando (the "toothpick guy"), who as a result was made out to look in the video like the series' sole Big Bad. They both get relegated to Freeze-Frame Bonus shots at the beginning of the video.
  • Carpet of Virility: In the Rubí video, Alejandro is described as "a medical studen with a chest so hairy, it looks like he has a chinchilla hanging from his neck."
  • Catchphrase:
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    • "Because telenovelas... are hell."
    • She also sometimes refers to "the telenovela gods," crediting them with all the dramatic things that happen.
  • Celebrity Resemblance:
    • In the La usurpadora video, he compares the protagonist's first boyfriend, who's quite stocky, to someone who "looks like Johnny Depp, if he'd eaten too many bagels."
    • In María Mercedes, the narrator refers to Santiago del Olmo as "if Javier Bardem had a kid with my tío Felipe and then it became a vampire."
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: The narrator notes that when in María Mercedes someone tried to murder the title character, they didn't do a good job at being subtle about it.
    Narrator: Maria's mother-in-law sends a man who's wearing a tuxedo to shoot María with an AK-47 that, like most AK-47's, has a bright pink strap on it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The spirit and tone of the narrator.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The narrator alludes to this in the Rubí video when she notes that Rubi ultimately ended up falling from a flight of stairs and into a glass table. Given that it's later revealed that the fall caused her face to be disfigured and her leg to be amputated, the narrator may have had a point.
    Narrator: The fall doesn't kill her. That would be too happy.
  • Funny Background Event: In the La usurpadora video, when the protagonists marry at the end, the narrator notes "this old guy [who] gets too excited and almost falls over and breaks his hip," while showing an elderly man appearing as an extra in the background at the wedding tripping and almost falling.
  • In-Series Nickname: In the Pasión de gavilanes video, the three Reyes brothers (Óscar, Juan, and Franco) get nicknamed Angry, Horny, and Stupidy, respectively, and get called that way through the rest of the video.
  • Latin Land: The series certainly seems to operate on "anything Latin is free game." Being a series about telenovelas obviously leads to a lot of references to Mexico, and most of the telenovelas recapped are indeed Mexican ones. However, the theme played at the beginning of the videos sounds like an odd blend between a Spanish flamenco guitar riff and a Mexican Mariachi riff, one telenovela recapped is the Colombian Pasión de gavilanes, which actually comes off as more grounded in comparison to the Mexican ones (a feature associated with Colombian telenovelas in general), and the narrator actually seems to have an Argentine accent, of all things.note 
  • Lean and Mean: In the Pasión de gavilanes video, the narrator says that the antagonist (Fernando) "looks like a toothpick with arms."
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator tells the stories in a really eccentric and bizarre style.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Some of the videos begin with the narrator asking the viewer, "Would you rather [embarrasing or humiliating, or just awkward situation], or [another embarrasing or humiliating, or just awkward situation]?"
  • Motive Decay: In the Pasión de gavilanes video, the narrator points out how Reyes brothers' quest for revenge against the Elizondo family gets gradually abandoned as each brother falls for one of the Elizondo sisters.
    Narrator: Now the brothers are like, "Okay, so maybe we forgot about the whole 'get revenge for our sister and her unborn baby' thing, but hey, we're rich, and our women are fine."
  • Running Gag:
    • In the middle of the video, at a point where it seems that the plot has resolved itself rather easily, the narrator would say something along the lines that the story could have easily ended there, but that it doesn't, because "telenovelas are hell."
    • As part of her Lemony Narrator tendencies, the narrator always going out of her way to find ridiculous or squicky ways to describe people or situations meant to be taken as serious: invoked
      • The very first line (after the opening) of the very first video (about María la del barrio):
        Narrator: María's life is straight-up diarrhea.
      • Also from María la del barrio, after a Time Skip:
        Narrator: Fourteen years pass, and we know this because Luis Fernando has grown a stunning 'stache that looks like it's made out of flat ironed pubic hairs.
      • In La usurpadora, the protagonist's work as a maid in a club is described as her having to clean "towels with ball sweat" and "pubic hairs."
      • Also in La usurpadora, one of the Evil Twin's lovers (an elder man) is described as "this rich guy who looks like a leather boot."
    • In vein of the above point, the series tend to put slurping sounds whenever two people are having open-mouth kisses. Especially if they have really sloppy, wet open-mouth kisses.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The male lead in La usurpadora note  is described as looking "like the Hulk, but orange."
    • Also in La usurpadora, Abuela Piedad's red hair and hairstyle makes the narrator say that she looks like "a glamorous Ronald McDonald."
    • In the Rubí video, the narrator refers to the man who marries Rubí and Héctor as "a Latin Uncle Fester."
    • To its sister series: Also in the Rubí video, the narrator at one point randomly says, "Oh, and Alejandro gets poisoned. But let's go back to the real drama.", similar to how in both Zack Morris Is Trash and A Very Special Episode the B-plots of the episodes (if they have them) get briefly mentioned before saying, "But who cares?"
  • Title Drop: The narrator always finds a way of saying that "telenovelas are hell."
  • What Does She See in Him?: Some videos can make you really start to wonder why the female leads are interested in the male ones, since they make them appear very unappealing. The inverse (the female leads being unappealing) can also happen.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Alluded to in the La usurpadora video, when describing how the Evil Twin dies repenting in her deathbed to her good sister, who is saddened by her death... only to marry her sister's husband the very next day.
    Narrator: The nice sister is extremely saddened by the death of her twin. But not sad enough to prevent her from marrying her husband the very next day.

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