Why Do Kenyans Love Mexican Soaps?

For the past few decades, these corny soap operas have been dominating your TV’s and my question is: Why?

Why do you tune in, night in and night out, to watch yet another predictable, badly scripted, unrealistic, low budget program that is a rehashed version of the one you’ve been watching for the past five years?

I have a theory.

Kenyans are a relatively smart bunch, or so I like to think. So when I began investigating this phenomena(yes, I investigated it) I carried out some basic surveys. I would go to people’s houses around the time the shows were on and ask them “Why are you watching this crap?”

While most of the answers were bland and similar, the best had to be from my little cousin who said “It’s something stupid that relaxes me after a long day in school.” I laughed and began patting my strong genes on their back. Then I remembered something. Kids are very often the only people that will tell you the truth. Now granted, she isn’t an infant, but she is pretty frank. So I continued questioning her, culminating in the question: “So why do you think Kenyans love these shows so much?”

I could not believe that I had been so narrow minded as not to notice. Apparently there is nothing else to watch. See unlike most Kenyans, we steal have DSTV and options therein. For the majority though, at that critical time when they sit down to unwind, it’s either the MexSoaps or local productions. Yes, our homemade entertainment, which for the most part are shot with cellphone cameras and had a 2 man production team. And no script whatsoever. No budget either. Just some guys that got together after a party and said “You know what we should do? I know a guy at NTV that can hook us up.” and the rest is history.

I watched this one show the other day and this was the scene from it.

[Open scene. Crying lady picks up her phone. she’s supposedly angry because she’s saying “I’m so mad.” over and over, but she doesn’t look it.]
Lady: Pick up the phone. I’m so mad.
[Guy on the other end sees the phone ringing and picks it up. someone whispers to the cameraman to hang up the phone because he’s messing up the audio quality.]
Guy(sarcastic laugh): Surprise….(pause)… Surprise
Lady: Why did you do this to me? To us?!?
Guy: Sometimes you have to kill…(pause)…two birds with one stone.
Lady: But why me?
Guy: What goes around…. (pause)….. comes around.
Lady: But what did I do to deserve this?
Guy: You bit off more than….(pause)…..you could chew.
Lady: But why me?
Guy: If you can’t take the heat, (elongated pause) stay out of the kitchen.
[Guy hangs up. End scene.]

Eurgh. I died a little bit. I wanted to laugh, but instead I felt a warm tear run down my cheek. I was in pain.

So I changed the channel and saw some hispanic dude in a suit with a cowboy hat and a mustache handcuffing some chick named Catalina or something. The voice overs were horrible, translation was shifty at best and on a normal day the production would look ass, but today, it looked OK. In fact, compared to what I just saw, this was pretty good. Then I realized what was going on.

Children, the Kenyan media giants are fooling us. They know it costs too much to get the rights to dope TV shows that are still running abroad until they are 2-3 seasons old. But they are also aware that Kenyans are a bright group and hence very in-the-know. So they throw you in for a loop; a classic Kansas City Shuffle. They get these local shows that cost coins to pay for and that are fully covered by sponsors and then pay for some cheap MexSoap as the “better” alternative. Then they run re-runs of old seasons of new shows at an hour when nobody is watching so that no one can complain.

And they’re probably going to keep doing it until somebody says something. My bet? Nobody from this group will. We download, bootleg, and don’t care. We change the channel, turn off our tellies and turn on the Internet and let everybody else suffer.

Leaving some poor soul with no options no choice but to fall in love with whatever new MexSoap is being dished out by Citizen TV. Glory!

26 thoughts on “Why Do Kenyans Love Mexican Soaps?

  1. If you shed a tear watching a soap, then you will gnaw your teeth when you meet my neighbour who named her new born son Sebastian.

    Once again, great piece!

  2. that is it right there!! I once went to a house party, there was this very fly chic, she excused herself to one of the inner rooms to watch gues wat; The bold and the beautiful in this day and age!! I cant remember my kid siz missing this el cuerpo stuff.

  3. I am guilty well was. They are crappy but crappy is relaxing the down side is your intelligence drops everytime you watch them hence I stopped watching them

  4. The camera Phone and two folks from a party who supposedly knows a receptionist at Citizen/Ntv is a killer line. I had to catch a deep breathe before going on through the article..

    I have a 13 year old Cousin who is so obsessed with this Philipino/mexican bullshit that she even know what the next line gonna be. she might have missed today’s screening but if you ask her what she think went down..Booom!!!! there she’ll narrate just based on the last line she watched yesterday..I find that kinda extra-ordinary.

    • Hopefully watching all them mexicano soaps will “inspire” her to become an accomplished movie director one day who’ll actually make some worthwhile productions!

  5. Haha! The mexisoap seed was sowed ages ago. Remember ‘No one but you’? back when we didn’t have DSTV and/or the internet and VoK/KBC was the only TV station? As kids, thats shit engrossed us! But then we grew up.
    I bet some grown up people watch that shit out of some subconscious nostalgic feeling. And for those that did not experience it as kids – it catches up with you. The over acting and predictable story lines notwithstanding.

  6. lol,escrava esaura. I think I was 9 when that shit was running. No one but you I was in class 1 in LCVR, siwezi sahau.

    Who remembers Tahamaki with Kachero Sikujui? Used to watch it while sitted behind my dad coz I was scared lol. Memories, Good old days

      • dracula, Lol and some cartoon gagooles or something, who kumbukas Club Kiboko when Jimmi Gathu was trying to be rapper? Treasured memories.

      • Gargoyles. That was my show. Inspired my drawing style a lot.

        I remember Jimmy on CK. with the backwards hat and all that. We used to see him at his watering hole after church and it never struck me as odd that he’d do a kids show and then go to the bar.

      • yep 1992, was the year of course yours trully was 6yrs with an attitude, I met Jimmi at Galitoes last year and I was thinking how he hasnt changed abit, but I have grown taller and gained some kao ass, lol. Time songaz so fast its unbelievable

  7. All these guys who’ve commented negative about soaps r jst full of shit,who said havin dstv means not watchin them,i love soaps& am so proud,no one can change this interest,we own dstv but i still make time2 watch soaps especially if its not outdated& has a good storyline like the ones citizen t.v is bringin us,if people think soaps r full of shit,then y do those who produce& act go through much effort 2 do so if they r total nonsense& will meaning nothing2 viewers?soaps,regardless of what some would say have lessons people can pick from,jst choose wisely& u’ll find urselves loving them.

  8. what a bunch of losers! if u are so intellectually superior to watch better programs then mexican soaps then PRODUCE THEM in your own country, but guess what? you dont even have an idea how to do it! or the money for that matter! even for cheap novelas! Everybody feels like they can trash latin american soaps but they sure watch them allllll the time, so cut the crap! and admit that u enjoy watching the overdrama! its a escape from reality people! nothing more

    • So we agree then?
      I don’t refuse that they are popular, and with good reason(re: overdrama + escape from reality), but at the same time, it doesn’t make sense that a country like Kenya should decide to relate to them so profoundly. We have local productions, none are very good; but not a whole lot of money is pumped in that direction. This is because those that are good get stolen and diluted or never see the light of day; corruption in the local media is rampant, holasoy. That said, I still want to know why people enjoy them so much. And why me not enjoying them makes me a loser.

      No, I DO NOT enjoy them.

      This is why I wrote about them. If your problem is that opinion, then I should also inform you that I don’t like cucumbers, skinny jeans, Korean Pop music, and sea weed. We can argue about those as well, since taste is the problem. But if you feel like adding something to the real discussion, by all means….

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