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    August 16, 2008

    Obama at Saddleback Church vs. . . .

    Posted by: Chris

    . . . Cauã Raymond on the novela (nighttime soap) "A Favorita" (see below)

    Three guesses who won the staring contest between me and the b.f. over what to watch tonight.  But I am at least catching John McCain's Q&A and will find Barack Obama's turn somewhere online.

    I will say this, I absolutely count myself among those who object to such an important joint forum being held at a church and moderated by a minister, any minister, much less an evangelical like Rick Warren.

    A couple of interesting side notes about "A Favorita (The Favorite)" and the role played by Raymond, who is a hugely popular beefcake actor here (for obvious reasons). The queeny character opposite him in the video snippet above is Iran Malfitano, although he's hardly recognizable in the role. Before this soap, he was hands down the Brazilian actor who most pushed my buttons.

    Here's a very different sample of his work in "Donas de Casa Desperadas," reprising the "Desperate Housewives" role of the hunky gardener played by Jesse Metcalfe who seduces Gabrielle:

    It's a little disappointing that the soap's producers felt Malfitano had to so queen it up to play a gay role, but since that's an exception to how previous gay roles have been handled on popular novelas, I'll chalk it up as about the character, not his sexual orientation.

    Much more disappointing is the way that O Globo, the omnipotent media near-monopoly that broadcasts "A Favorita" has inserted itself into the storyline. Early on in the novela's run, Raymond's character was using Malfitano for a place to stay and a ritzier life. In the original storyline, however, Raymond realized he had real feelings for Malfitano and ended up having a real relationship and coming out.

    But the network said that wouldn't do, and now Raymond's character has dumped Malfitano (who still pines) and goes on to bed a succession of beautiful women. What a unique story -- not.

    But what can we expect from a network that not once but twice has demanded that gay male characters in novelas who were scripted to kiss in greatly anticipated finales share a big hug instead. It would be too much for the kids watching, O Globo reasoned, unlike the nightly portrayal of very steamy hetero sex scenes and graphic talk.



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