This chapter provides a discussion of the findings in the study,
the implications for theory, methodology, practice, and future research.
Conclusions, Implications, and Recommendations
This study is conducted in an attempt to investigate the use of
Brazilian telenovelas in disseminating knowledge about different
cultures by qualitatively analyzing messages posted in the “El
Clon” online forum about this issue. The telenovela “El
Clon” aired in the US from January 2002 to December 2002 and
has three themes associated with the storyline: Muslim culture,
alcoholism, and human cloning. Of great importance is the time and
context that the telenovela is broadcast in the post-September 11
This research studies messages posted in the United States forum
for the telenovela “El Clon” in the Telenovela-World
web site. The messages are posted mostly in English and many of
the participants disclose that their knowledge of Spanish was limited.
Most of them utilize closed-captioned in order to understand the
novela. Most participants are from different parts of the United
States, but there are posters from different parts of the world
such as Israel, Russia, Brazil, and Venezuela. Therefore, the participants
for this study are mainly international fans of telenovela.
Throughout the literature researchers have studied Brazilian soap
operas and their audiences in the context of a national broadcast.
McAnany & La Pastina (1999) in a critique of Latin American
telenovela audience research point that there is a need to undertake
a Global study of the genre to see how various audiences react and
incorporate the stories. Therefore, this study takes their admonition
to start exploring the US audience reaction to the story narrated
by the Brazilian telenovela“El Clon”.
In this study, it is possible to identify different reactions of
the posters to specific themes of the novela depending on their
context. In some cases, the messages express boredom when the novela
geared toward the Brazilian characters, showing Dona Jura’s
bar and all the famous people that paid her visits. While in Brazil
this was one of the hits of the novela. This is understandable because
the International audience, maybe with the exception of Pelé,
did not recognize many of the visitors. Globo and other television
networks that plan to export and import telenovelas should pay attention
to these differences in order to meet the audience’s demands.
The messages show that the participants from the United States had
a deeper understanding about drug addiction and found that the writer’s
approach unconvincing for the American audience. As the examples
“simply the story's Lack of Credibility/educational value
to native-born Americans.”
But, yes, you're right about our American attitudes towards how
lengthy were the scenes devoted to Mel, drugs, etc. I found them
incredibly boring after a while even though they were well done--especially
Lobato's scenes. Because there has been so much drug education in
our schools and in our media, this was all "old hat" to
us and boring.
On the other hand, a Canadian poster disagrees with this view and
thinks that the drug issue was one of the very best highlights of
This demonstrates the importance of taking the context into consideration
when planning the message to be delivered. The American audience
cannot believe that the parents of a drug addict would not know
about rehabilitation clinics and the importance of continuous treatment,
while in Brazil and other countries, unfortunately, this knowledge
is not widespread. The messages, however, do not question the value
of discussing the theme, but how it is presented. Television executives
should pay close attention to the audience’s needs when planning
and delivering educational messages. As many of the forum participants
suggested, it is possible to edit the novela in a way that it can
be pertinent to the local audience.
This research does not explore the production side of telenovelas.
The attempts made to contact Globo, Telemundo, the writer, and director
of “O Clone” were not fruitful. However, future researchers
should not be discouraged and studies should be conducted to investigate
the challenges to write and produce a telenovela and its educational
components. Since the telenovela is exported to different countries,
an interesting consideration would be to understand how the decision
process is made to include or not a scene when the telenovela is
shown in a different country. Investigating the market challenges
of this cultural production is also a possibility for future research.