Rio: Life Imitates the Globo Soap Some More

“… In truth, the soap opera depicts the international fashion for pole-dancing … Such themes [current fashions, inserted into works of fiction] are inevitable if one is to depict contemporary society, with the proviso, of course, that they be treated ethically and seriously, exactly as TV GLOBO is doing in its soap opera DUAS CARAS.”

I am for obscenity and against pornography. Obscenity is a cleansing process, whereas pornography only adds to the murk. –Henry Miller, in George Plimpton, Writers at Work (1963)

Women: Down with sexism! Down with sexism!
Man 1: Look at all those feminists.
Man 2: Are you thinking what I’m thinking? [they both reach for bottles of beer, shake them up, and spray the foam on the protesters. This magically turns them into bikini-clad party animals.]
Both Men: Yeah! Yes! All right!
–Duff beer commercial, The Simpsons, February 1993 (Episode 9F14)

From the Extra daily (Globo) of Rio de Janeiro today, more “life imitates cheesy soap operas” — also known as the Larry Rohter meme — cross-promotion for the soap opera Duas Caras (“two faces, two guys”).

The soap has recovered some its audience, leveraging the controversy over the “pole dance” episode, averaging some 40 points — still well short of the 66 points (the dreadful) América commanded at its peak just a handful of years ago.

Extra invites us to check out the real-life Déboras who sell snacks and drinks on the Rio beaches!

Débora, if you have not kept up with the plot, helped Bernardo sell beer on the beach by promising all of Bernardo’s customers she would show them her tits if business was good.

Business was good.

Débora kept her word and showed Bernardo’s customers her tits. Whereupon Bernardo’s jealous wife Amara followed suit.


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Since these (lovely) beach vendors are not showing us their tits, I think maybe calling them “real-life Déboras” is a case of false advertising.

Look, as I have said, my wife and I are big fans of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, where the issue of topless parade participants has gradually, after much negotiation, settled into (1) an acceptance of limits on the practice on the part of participants, and (2) acceptance of the event as an annual state of carnivalesque exception on the part of the community.

We have been to the clothing-optional parts of Fire Island, too.

I enjoy Brazilian bubble-butts, aesthetically speaking, just as much as the next guy, and my wife does not, in theory, mind this.

(In practice, she threatens to slap me silly if she thinks I am staring at one with lecherous intent. Of which, of course, I am completely innocent. I swear.)

These things do not bother us (though I avoid wearing a thong bathing suit myself, for which you would probably thank if you had ever seen me in one. Think Homer Simpson in the “Simpsons go to Rio” episode.)

But celebrating the fact that you, one of the greatest TV networks in the world — by your own account — have to resort to peddling ass in order to keep your viewer’s, ahem, interest from, as it were, flagging?

It’s just pathetic, especially given the network’s absurd defense of the moral seriousness of its corporate mission.

Globo’s Big Brother Brasil, meanwhile, continues to register fall-off in its IBOPE ratings, continuing a trend noted last year and the year before as well.

Globo’s programming philosophy seems to be, “Whatever is not working, let’s do more of it.”

We just signed up for the movie channels on our cable plan, so we will likely never watch another Globo entertainment channel as long as we both shall live.

Globeleza will apparently still monopolize Carnaval coverage again this year (in part through a contract with the racketeering-influenced league of independent carnival societies), but really, that coverage is almost totally unwatchable.

What’s wrong with this picture? FX overkill at Anhembi: Globo tends to utterly swamp its otherwise competent Carnaval camera work with 21-gun salvos of cheesy post-production effects that recall the cheap psychedelia of the Haight-Ashbury heyday. Source: The NMM personal Gradiente-brand boob tube, São Paulo, Brazil, 2007.

Instead, we have tickets for the arquibancada at the sambódromo, are planning to attend an ensaio of our local G.R.E.S. Pérola Negra (saravá!) soon, in order to contribute to the community funding of that noble institution, and are looking to hook up with some jolly and roistering cordão.

We strongly support a return to a more participatory Carnaval.

Turn off the boob tube and grab a tamborim or zabumba. Or a trombone, if you have one (I have one, but I had to leave it in New York.) Life is not a spectator sport. Yada yada yada.


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