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Research question # 1

How did participants express affective interaction to the cultural thematic and characters that symbolized or portrayed the Muslim culture in the telenovela “El Clon”?

The posts are analyzed and categorized as an expression of affective interaction when they reflect a reaction, positive or negative, to either the characters of the telenovela or the cultural thematic associated with them. In the 310 messages analyzed, 11% (35) are categorized as predominantly presenting affective interaction. As previously posited by different studies, (Sood 2002; Sood & Rogers, 2000) these categories are multilayered constructs with overlapping dimensions.

Posters are vocal in expressing their feelings about the characters, many times offering their point of view regarding the character’s behavior. In the following post we can see how the message writer feels positive affective interaction towards Mohamed, and displays criticism regarding Jade’s behavior:

Poor Mohamed

“Still trying to clear things up with Noehmia. I love his character now. He's good comedy relief. I loved how he had to explain to Latifah why Noehmia was so upset about being called a gallina...."Tio Abdul" would have thought this about her. haha I also adore how he and Latifah are still very much in love and making love whenever they can. I think that is just so adorable, especially for a non-Muslim to see this kind of affection in a Muslim marriage.
I can't wait to see Mayisa's response to Mel's boyfriend/bodyguard. And when the heck is Jade going to be smart and stop doing all these sneaky things in front of Said. and is she just not thinking about her daughter at all?! Apparently not because she thinks that she'd be able to have custody of Khadija. Hello, the little girls knows only one man as her father and Jade is going to take that away from her. Gosh, how selfish!!!!!!!”

In this post the writer comments about a scene of the novela where a miscommunication happened between Mohamed and Noemia due to cultural and linguistic differences. Mohamed tries to pay a compliment to Noemia and ended up calling her a “gallina”, which supposedly is a compliment for him, while in Brazil calling a woman a chicken is a grave insult. Gloria Perez with this scene tried to convey in a humorous way the difficulties of multicultural communication. For this poster, the character Mohamed inspired positive feelings. However, the message writer uses a qualifier to describe that the love for the character is not granted since the beginning of the novela. The phrase ‘I love his character now’ explains it. While this novela is a melodramatic series, and is many times criticized for that, Gloria Perez is cautious not to present the characters as a black and white composition. The totally bad, or totally good character so common in the melodrama, only happens with the character Alicinha.This character is added later in the script, maybe to accomplish just that, to be the novela’s villain. Even in this post, the writer disagrees with the protagonist’s behavior that in her opinion did not think much about her daughter, before attempting to sneak out of the house to see Lucas.

While “O Clone” is not an entertainment-education soap opera per se, it brings the theme of Muslim culture to the screen and sheds some light towards the beliefs and customs associated with Islam. One of the premises of entertainment-education is the concept of observational learning championed by social learning/cognitive theory. The poster talks about how rewarding it is for a non-Muslim to see displays of affection in a Muslim marriage: “I also adore how he and Latifah are still very much in love and making love whenever they can. I think that is just so adorable, especially for a non-Muslim to see this kind of affection in a Muslim marriage.” One of the components of observational learning is motivational process Bandura (1977), which posits that people are more likely to adopt a behavior if it is projected in a rewarding outcome. It is not intended to comment here if the poster is going to adopt a more affectionate behavior, however, it can be understood that the message writer appreciates seeing affection displayed by Mohamed and Latiffa, and that this may be counteracting stereotypical notions of man-woman relationships and pre-arranged marriage. The modeled behavior, an affectionate Muslim couple, might be adopted by the message writer as a concept to bring down barriers of pre-existing notions of Muslim marriage.

In the same message the writer also displays critical interaction towards Jade’s behavior. The poster expresses disagreement with Jade’s attempts to see Lucas behind Saids’ back, risking the custody of her daughter, which the poster perceives as a selfish behavior. Under Freire’s notion of critical pedagogy, the writer, based on the concepts she knows and the values that she has of paternity/filial rights to try to formalize her concerns, not taking the scene for what it is being portrayed, a woman fighting for her love, but further analyzing the consequences of Jade’s behavior. The affective interaction is strongly noted with the poster talking about Jade as if she was actually a person, able to configure her situation and decide upon it.




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