I love watching TV with my family because we have very similar tastes in series and our discussions afterwards are interesting. However, there is one show that I never watched with my family and rarely with any other person : Rebelde.
Rebelde is a Mexican TV series that aired from 2004 to 2006. The TV series has the style of a Mexican soap opera because of all the drama involved in it. However, this one was different because it touched several topics that were of interest for teenagers.
When the series first aired, I was thirteen years old. I remeber I would get off of school at 2:30, my mom would pick me up and take me home to eat. Usually my mom didn’t let me watch TV until I was done with my homework but Rebelde started at 4:00 p.m., which meant I was not nearly done with the homework and it would be impossible to watch it.
For the first two weeks, I had to beg her to let me watch it and promised her I would finish my homework as soon as the show was over. Of course, she said no at first, but I could not resist. I simply could not stand the fact that my friends would have to tell me what I missed and that I could not contribute my “wise” opinion and my predictions for the next episode. Therefore, I had to think of something creative.
I had the perfect plan. I finished eating around 3:30. I helped my mom clean the table and started doing homework. My mom was in grad school at the time so she always used to go and study in her studio after eating. I waited for my mom to leave and I ran to the TV. I turned it on with the volume button pressed down already so that I could lower it all the way and she couldn’t hear it. Perfection.
Little did I know that my mom would forget her briefcase by the door where she got the perfect view of her daughter sitting about 20 inches away from the TV set watching a silent TV series. I was of course too into the show to notice her, it took me a few seconds until I realized she was staring at me. I felt that my body suddenly shrunk to the size of an ant and that I was about to expirience an elephant stampede. However, she simply said “Turn up the volume, unless you are trying to excersise your right side of the brain by making up your own dialogue.” The emotion that followed next was not imediate relief but confusion, until I realized I was wasting precious seconds of the actual dialogue.
Rebelde was more than just a TV series, it was part of my generation’s pop culture. We all wanted to dress like the characters and act like them. If you ask me why that show was so successful I would say that it was solely because it was about breaking the rules and trying new things as its name indicates (Rebelde means “rebel” in Spanish). Plus, in a very subtle way, it answered questions that teenegers often had about sex, drugs, school, and love. It was definetely not because of the acting performances, which were for the most part very exaggerated. It was because of the characters, who were very likeable and appelaed to several styles of teenagers. I dare to say that at my school, we all identified with at least one.
In a way, the show is very similar to Glee. The story is about a group of teenagers that go to an elite school in Mexico. For the most part they all come from very rich families but there are some students that are there because they have financial aid thanks to their high GPA or sports.
The six main characters in Rebelde are: Mia, Roberta, Lupita,
Miguel, Diego, and Giovanni. Mia is the rich, queen bee girl who is a little stupid but means well.
Roberta is the daughter of a famous singer; she is very rebelious and is tired of living under the shadow of her mother. Lupita is
one of the girls with financial aid; she is extremely smart and doesn’t realize how pretty she is. Diego is the son of a corrupt politician who wants him to follow in his footsteps, but Diego is only interested in being a musician. Miguel is the heartrob of the show.
He is in love with Mia but comes from a very poor family, causing
drama later in the story. Finally, Giovanni is the eccentric, funny guy who always gets in trouble.
I must also mention that another factor that catapulted the show to new heights was the formation of the band RBD. It was composed by the six major characters and their music was also very successful. The band started during the first season to promote the TV series but it gained more popularity than expected, selling about 15 million records in five years.
With their success, the characters were literally everywhere – commercials, billboards, radio, magazines, etc. All the girls wanted to dress like them (including me). I suppose that is way my mom was having a hard time letting me watch the show. The girls in Rebelde wore very short uniform skirts, high heels, and tied dress shirts that showed their belly buttons. Imagine what a hard time school officials were having when they had to send notes to parents asking them to be alert on how their student was arriving to school and that “any student spotted with a Rebelde look would be returned home with an unexcused absence.”
The negative criticism the show received by our parents and school officials made the show even cooler. Now that I have some knowledge about acting and screen writing, I know the story is ridiulous, fictional, and cliché, but I still love it. I have all of RBD’s CDs and I am seriously thinking on buying the full seres in DVD or Blu Ray if available.
It is a show that is very dear to me because I grew up with it, learned from it, and even found my own voice through its music and its stories. It was the first show I watched completely by myself without being influenced by anyone.