A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Telenovela is a comedy about a woman who appears on a Latin American soap opera, or telenovela. Story lines are cheerful and brisk with little to concern parents, but the show could be a lot funnier considering its talented cast. Adults frequently drink cocktails at gatherings; no one acts drunk. There are some references to adultery and sex (for example, one person "slept with" or "cheated with" another) and mild jokes about sex that will pass over the heads of younger viewers. Expect cartoonish violence: A woman slaps a man when he tries to kiss her, and characters shout and throw things. Actors compete with each other and fling insults, but there's no cursing.
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What's the story?
In the TELENOVELA world, Ana Sofia (Eva Longoria) is a huge star, the center of a popular and long-running soap opera. But her world is rocked when her real-life ex Xavier (Jencarlos Canela) is added to the cast of her show, only a few short years after their marriage imploded. It's enough to send a high-strung star straight into the arms of her wardrobe woman/best friend Mimi (Diana Maria Riva) and hunky co-star/gay buddy Gael (Jose Moreno Brooks) for comfort. But Xavier has more up his sleeve than disrupting Ana's show, and there's a crowd of her rivals just waiting for a chance to bring the soap star down and climb to the top of the mountain.
Is it any good?
A comedy that strains for fizzy yet comes off as frantic, as with so many other network comedies this show wastes great actors -- in particular, the divine Eva Longoria -- on bad writing. It's such a pity, because on paper the show could work. Longoria is effortlessly good, and it's great to see her back on television. Shows with diverse casts are a burgeoning and long-overdue network trend, too. But Telenovela squanders its initial goodwill with blah writing that fails to breathe any life into a clichéd premise we've seen before. Ana and Xavier have absolutely no chemistry, so the love scenes fail to spark. And since you can predict what'll happen next at any given moment -- oh, is that a banana peel? Any chance someone will slip on it? -- the predictable jokes just aren't funny.