Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Brazilian TV comes in three flavours: telenovela, futebol (soccer) and really freaking weird.
The first thing you learn about Brazil is that the whole country stops for novelas and futebol.
If you are at a party, expect your hostess (and most of the other women and some of the men) to suddenly vanish at 8 pm. You'll find them gathered around the TV, watching the latest novela. Novelas are like soap operas except shorter, each novela lasts about 3 months. They tend to feature lots of cheating wives and husbands and other family drama, with some background story and fluff. The current novela is about an inheritance scam in Italy, so everyone speaks in Por-Talian.
There is also always some sort of soccer going on. Brazil has several soccer clubs (Corinthians, Santos, Palmeiras, Fluminense, etc) that compete for various local and continental cups when the national team is not competing. Brazilians are very dedicated to their teams, and bar brawls post-game are not uncommon. However, the whole country gets together to chear for the national team: when the Brazilian team plays, everyone gets the day off from work to watch.
When there's no soccer or novelas to watch, Brazilian TV gets really weird. For example, the main TV station, Globo, held a Pre-Soccer Special to pump things up on Sunday. Two teams of 3 people each were made up from the show cast, to play a special game. Here's how this game worked. One person from the first team got suspended in a harness from the studio ceiling, and both their feet were shoved into a giant, metre-long soccer shoe. They were then swung across the studio by their team-mates, to kick a giant balloon into a net on the other side of the studio. The net was guarded by one of the players from the other team....who was dressed as a pineapple. The pineapple was also suspended from the studio ceiling, and was swung side-to-side by his teammates. The pineapple was spiky, so that if the ball hit him, it would explode. This game was refereed by a very peppy tranvestive in hoop skirts, while a dozen women in sexy underwear danced in the background and blew kisses. The program described above is in no way unusual for Brazilian TV.
I never fail to be astounded at what people will come up with for amusement