Granted, I'm not much a watcher of soaps, but this one I couldn't get enough of. And I exclude "El Cartel de los Sapos" from the "soap" category because it is more like a drama miniseries.
The story is familiar. A rich executive hires a gorgeous young but poor girl to babysit his two kids. The babysitter falls for her boss and he eventually falls for her. But he's also somewhat happily married with his psychologist wife.
The baby sitter, named Fabiana, comes from a humble background. Her dad owns a cab company. Her mom works at a corner store. She has a good-for-nothing brother named Giovanny who's got one hell of a mouth on him. So she's innocent and most of her group are innocent but good people. She also has a couple of pretty female friends who support her in her romantic odyssey.
The story will bring Fabiana and her boss together several times and separate them. So we're kept guessing just how it will turn out. I was somewhat surprised by the ending.
But more important than the story are the characters. And this soap has some of best developed characters I've seen. It also has one of the most attractive cast one could imagine. Starting with the beautiful Paola Rey, who is nicknamed "Pocahontas" by her brother in the series. And indeed Rey does look like a living version of the animated movie. Such is the wit of the writing of this series. It never takes itself too seriously and it's certainly not as malicious as those insufferable Mexican soaps. Speaking of funny, Giovanny is an absolute riot of a character. Always looking for a good time and avoid work, he comes up with the funniest turns of phrases and ways to annoy people, not because he's mean-spirited but because he's the kind of guy who will try to talk himself in and out of situations often getting himself in more trouble than necessary. I am surprised Sebastian Sanchez, who plays Giovanny, hasn't gotten a whole lot more prominent roles. It's a breakthrough performance, just as Fabiana's role turned Paola Rey into a star.
The script is perfect. While the production as a whole doesn't seem to be made on a large budget, the script is extraordinarily realistic. It it like you are in the midst of these average Colombian families. The acting is simply the best I've seen in any soap. It is so effortless it is hard to believe these people are acting. I'm still convinced most the lines are improvised-that's how good these actors are.
This is the first Colombian soap I've seen and it has set the standard very high. Unfortunately they don't play a whole lot of true Colombian soaps in the US, rather the large US/Mexican networks produce their own soaps based on Colombian ones and those copies are always inferior. If you like a show like "El Cartel de los Sapos" you'll love this hilarious series. I just hope someone will put it on DVD someday.
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