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CHAPTER IV
THE STUDY

Overview



This chapter presents the Brazilian telenovela “O Clone”, “El Clon” in the Spanish form broadcast in the United States.The telenovela’s contextual importance in Brazil and the US is presented. A summary of the telenovela is outlined. This section is also dedicated to the description of the study methodology and design. The model of parasocial interaction sub-dimension is detailed, along with the context of the study. An overview of the Internet as a research site is given, and The Telenovela-World Forum website and the forum participants are presented.

“O Clone” - “El Clon” (The Clone)

“O Clone”/ “El Clon” (The Clone) is an important telenovela for TV Globo for many reasons. “O Clone” obtained one of the highest telenovela audience ratings in Brazil in the last few years. In its final episodes reached 60 points of audience in the IBOPE (Instituto Brasileiro de Pesquisa e Estatística), which meant that about three million households were watching the final episode in the city of São Paulo (Padiglione, 2002). Each point corresponds to 47, 000 households in the Great São Paulo area. In its final week it was watched by 75% of households that had the TV turned on.

In the USA on Telemundo network, “El Clon” reached an average prime-time share of 37.2%, which was higher than average for this specific time slot at Telemundo. In June of 2002, “El Clon” reached first place in audience share in the U.S. Hispanic market (Globopar, June 2002). The Clone had 221 chapters; it was broadcast in Brazil Monday through Saturday at 9 pm, from October 2001 to June 2002. In the US Telemundo aired the Spanish-dubbed version Monday through Friday at 10 pm., from January 2002 to December 2002. In the United States closed captioned in English was also offered. Many participants in the Telenovela World forum did not speak Spanish, so this was well utilized by the participants. Currently, Telemundo is also showing reruns of the novela Monday through Friday at 10 am.

“O Clone” has been exported to 62 countries, including Israel, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, and of course Latin American neighbors such as Peru, Argentina, Venezuela. It won various awards and recognition such as “Cidadania Brasil de Exportação” (Brazilian Citizenship Export Award) in the category of “Prêmio Destaque” (Prominent Award), sponsored by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, The Brazilian Institute for the Development of Citizenship (Insitituto Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento da Cidadania), the Export Promotion Agency (Apex, Agência de Promoção de Exportações), and the Foreign Relations Ministry (Ministério das Relações Exteriores). The reason for the award was the “brilliant novela’s contribution in bringing together cultures and peoples and valuing Brazilian products in the international market” (Folha Online, 2002). In the United States, “El Clon” received the 2003 Inte Award for best novela, best actress: Giovanna Antoneli (Jade), and best writer for Glória Perez (Castro, 2003). This annual award is in recognition of Ibero-American television excellence.

The Rio de Janeiro Anti-Drugs Council and the Brazilian Alcohol and Drugs Association officially recognized Gloria Perez’ work in “O Clone” dealing with problems related to alcohol and drugs. As a whole, this theme did not stir the same controversy as the Muslim theme did. Perez toned down the poetic license when dealing with drug addiction, preferring to use a more realistic approach, with scenes where real people, addicts in recovery talked about their experiences in close-ups that made the scenes more verisimilar. During the telenovela broadcast, the National Antidrugs Council (Secretaria Nacional Antidrogas) registered a 570% increase in calls, from 900 in January 2002, to 6,000 in May 2002. And there are reports of a 120% increase in calls asking for help to the organizations specialized in helping drug addicts (Andaló, 2003).
A debate sparked among forum participants when a post called attention to an award that the telenovela received in the United States for its anti-drug message. While the drug theme is not explored in this study, the messages posted show the richness of the exchange, with divergent opinions, and different contextual situations. Some posts from the United States were very critical of the way the writer explored the subject. It was a consensus among the participants from the United States that the theme was boring and somewhat disconnected from the reality. While in different countries and contexts, the posts reflected that the author’s approach to the alcohol and drug focus seemed pertinent.

Gloria Perez, the author of “O Clone”, is not new to social merchandising. She also wrote “Explode Coração” (Explosion of the heart), a telenovela that brings to the small screen the problem of missing children and child labor, along with Gypsy culture. For the story of “O Clone”, Perez assembles three issues in the telenovela’s plot: human cloning, Muslim culture, and drug addiction. The cultural thematic and cloning, according to the author and the press have already been established before the attacks of September 11, 2001. These issues are the result of surveys and focus groups conducted by Globo that reveal a curiosity among the population about these subjects. After the attacks, some actors refuse to participate in the novela, fearing retaliation (Mattos & Castro, 2002).


 



 



Table of Contents

Acknowledgements / Dedication - Abstract

CHAPETER 1- INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER II - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

CHAPTER III - THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

CHAPTER IV - THE STUDY
47-48-49-50-51-52-53-54-55-56-57-58-59-60-61-62-63-64





Acknowledgements / Dedication -

Abstract


CHAPETER 1- INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER II - REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

CHAPTER III - THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

CHAPTER IV - THE STUDY

CHAPTER V - THE RESULTS

CHAPTER VI - CONCLUSION

APPENDIX - MESSAGES STUDIED

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