Of Montreal & Telenovelas: a combo with untapped potential

I recently became aware of the fact that I had been dealing with someone whose every action was inspired by song lyrics from an Of Montreal record. Seriously. Now, I enjoy this band, and in particular I am fond of said album. But as a dictate or mandate for dealing with people? Danger, Will Robinson. Danger. On realizing that said individual had predicated each action from a previously recorded mellifluous styling, in fact pulling some choice conversational bits directly from the liner notes, I didn’t feel any better, but at least the lyrical pirate was exposed. And to be honest, I think if applied correctly, putting these words into action has the making of a great story. Or at the very least, a second-rate telenovela.

When I was living in Guadalajara as a 17 year old exchange party girl student I became a big fan of the telenovela. It was really not a matter of choice because la senora de mi casa was fanatical about them and so most family time had to do with the watching, or animated discussion, of said paragons of small screen celluloid stupendousness. According to Patricio Wills, the president of Telemundo, “a telenovela is all about a couple who wants to kiss and a scriptwriter who stands in their way for 150 episodes.” Well, shit. That sounds like pretty solid method to get people to hang around. I mean, in “real” life, if you feel confident enough that you are gonna get the gold ring at the end you are probably going to put up with a heap of shit to get you there. Unfortunately, no one seems to be letting the “real” life scriptwriters in on a couple of key elements: 1) Limited run and 2) Get out of the way. Drama gets really tedious when there is no end in sight [likely why I have never come around to the Western soap operas that have been running since like 1960, with little resolution – that is like a 50 year itch you cannot scratch. No thanks.] Back in 1988 I was watching gems like Amor en Silencio, Pasion y Poder, Dulce Desafio, and Dos Vidas. I mean, with names like that, come on… it’s going to be good. Love, silence, passion, power, (sweet) challenges, duplicity – Aiyah!

If you are operating under telenovela guidelines, rather than being rooted in the limited understanding of your real existence, you will understand that when someone says:

I wanna hurt your pride
I wanna slap your face
I wanna paint your nails
I wanna make you scream
I wanna braid your hair
I wanna kiss your friends
I wanna make you laugh
I wanna dress the same
I wanna defend you
I wanna squeeze your thighs
I wanna kiss your eyelids
And corrupt your dreams

… the bipolar and schizo nature of these prescribed desires is formulaic, and each one of them are required for the serial drama: lure them in, kick them in the head, bring them back, kiss their friend. Nice. Maybe sucks for you, but makes great t.v. It is the perfect ebb and flow of passive-aggressive melodrama. Really, if you used each song from this album for a chapter you would have some kind of Harlequin Romance-meets-David Lynch-meets-Run Lola Run-meets-Murakami epic. It may be too much for Telemundo, frankly, but I think it is brimming with potential. Forget about saving the drama for your mama… I’ve got the solution right here. Maybe I won’t have to work that much longer after all…

(lyrics are here for your interest)


About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in Music, Perception, Relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Of Montreal & Telenovelas: a combo with untapped potential

  1. driss says:

    This reads like that film “Dark City” to me; where the more the hero learns about the “reality” he’d been dealing with, the more he comes to see how plastic and one-dimensional it all is- and from that knowledge, how to gain a step on those who have been playing him and ultimately to move out of the “teevee world” and into reality. Télénovela or sci-fi book; either way, once the surface is scratched the “core” is revealed to be predictably flat and empty.

    New information isn’t always the tastiest item on the dinner menu, no matter how nourishing it might be.

    • Amanda says:

      Plasticity sucks to be sure, mistaking it for authenticity – even worse. However, I find the poetry of this particular album, Skeletal Lamping, to be freakishly authentic in it’s take on the tendencies of humans. It’s the pattern, you know? The addiction to the drama? Drama sells, and telenovelas know this.

      I enjoy being introduced to new combinations of shit regardless of the mechanisms for achieving the mix.

      I think this combo would make a great book. I wish Philip K. Dick would write it.

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