I Watched All 80 Episodes of the Celia Telenovela and I Still Cannot Speak Spanish

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An 80-episode telenovela loosely based on the life of Celia Cruz was released on Netflix last year. Each episode is about 45 minutes, and I was hooked after I watched the first episode. It began when Celia’s Aunt Ana has a baby girl who dies. At the funeral, a priestess tells Aunt Ana that children never die and the baby will come back as someone else. To know who she is, Aunt Ana breaks the baby’s pinky finger to leave her mark. Her sister gives birth to a baby girl three months later that has the finger. That baby girl is Celia.

There were things in the show that were added for dramatic effect, and didn’t actually occur in Celia’s life, but the show was great nonetheless. It was easy to root for her. I’m going to talk about the characters and scenes from the series, but I also know that it may be different from her actual life.

My favorite characters other than Celia were Aunt Ana and Mirelys. Poor Mirelys! She just couldn’t pick them. All she wanted was somebody to love her and provide her with regular orgasms. After Pedro ditched her, she thought she found it with Mario. Now Mario and Pedro had been close friends, and he was grieving the end of his relationship with Raquel, who had run off to Mexico with her ex-husband. Raquel’s ass didn’t even like Mario until he surprised her by bringing her mom to see her from Cuba. Then he helped her get her career off the ground. Call a thing a thing – she was curving that man left and right. She only fell in love after Mario did all kinds of shit for her. Well this is where Mirelys comes in. Mirelys and he only fell in love because they were both heartbroken and lonely. Both relationships were doomed.

Years later, Raquel and damn near everybody else ended up in the U.S. I stopped liking Mario’s ass when he arrived in New York. Mario ran into her and discovers that she has a son that is his. Well Mario was all googly-eyed and wanted that old thing back. He snuck around with Raquel and was hiding it from Mirelys. Well, Mirelys had a woman’s intuition. Pedro’s ass cheated on her throughout their entire marriage so she knew when the math wasn’t mathing. She showed up to Raquel’s apartment to extend an olive branch to her, but low and behold, Raquel and Mario were in the back room post-coital. I felt her pain when she found Mario in bed with Raquel. I was yelling at the TV. Mario’s coward ass didn’t even want to leave the room to address Mirelys. It was so wrong how he did Mirelys and the girls.

Mario left Mirelys, of course. Then he had the nerve to use his son as the reason for him leaving. No sir, you were just trifling. Sure, you have a son, but you also have an entire family established with Mirelys and the girls that you committed to! There was a right way to handle that type of situation and he decided to handle it in the worst possible way. How are you just going to up and leave like you don’t have responsibilities? This isn’t the 1800s when you could say you were going to the store and just leave!

Then how did he decide to just up and move in with Raquel without even consulting her? Then he wanted to bring up the fact that he saw Mirelys getting it in with somebody one night as if it matters. Sir, y’all weren’t even together then. Pedro had left her for Celia a long time ago, so she could bang whoever she wanted. He was trying to make himself feel better about leaving by assassinating her character as if she was the one sleeping with someone else. However, let’s not act like Mirelys wasn’t petty and childish toward Celia and Pedro. At some points, she had every right to throw shade at them. I mean, Pedro was a married man

Oscarito was a snack!

I liked Lola and Noris sometimes. The family really treated Noris wrong even if she was a brat. We all knew Celia was the favorite, but damn. They didn’t have to rub it in so deeply. Ollita was on her sick bed getting cared for by Noris and every other word out of her mouth was regarding Celia. Show some respect to the child who’s by your side everyday, bathing you and ensuring that you take all of your medications. You don’t think she wants to go out and enjoy her life?!

I didn’t like Pedro’s ass at all. It’s really not that hard to be honest, damnit. And it was always something, and Pedro was never the one to bring it up. Celia always had to find out through somebody else. I’ve experienced the lying by omission and I consider it one of the most selfish and disrespectful acts of a human being. He was entertaining until he met Celia. I also didn’t like how he was with his children. He never saw those kids and just handed over money.

I think Lola really was an unnecessary character. She was based on La Lupe, who in reality was not on drugs and was very supportive of Celia’s career. They just let her be a druggie with no other character development for 40 episodes. It was as if they didn’t know what else to do with her so that gave her horribly-fitted wardrobes, wigs, and eyeglasses and let her do whatever. I didn’t like how she died. I’d prefer that she died a more violent death at the hands of a drug dealer or something. But to poison herself? Nah.

Somewhere around episode 55, things changed. New actors played aging versions of the people in previous episodes. Some of the actors stayed the whole way. Mirelys was the same actress for the entire season. So was Billy. They just threw some fake facial hair on him. I don’t understand why they couldn’t just throw some aging makeup on Jeimy Osiris and let her play Celia the entire series. It took some time to adjust to the new Celia because she wasn’t as warm-hearted and tender as the first actress, and those same mannerisms weren’t there. The new Celia eventually grew on me and I liked her voice better than Jeimy’s. The different Lola Calvos went smoothly to me. I really spent half the episode trying to figure out if they had just put aging makeup on the old Lola. The hair and makeup was the key. They both were similar in mannerisms, but the new Lola was team too much. Her ass wipes her mouth entirely too much. The new Mario was tragic, and that facial hair left me confused. Also, you could tell that those were the actors’ real eyeglasses that he had been wearing for some years and they needed adjusting badly.

I took me almost a year to finish this series, but I’m glad I did. It’s unfortunate that I don’t know anyone else who watched it, so that we could discuss it in length. The last episode, which discussed Celia’s death, was hard to watch. She was really a gem.

AZUCAR!

Did you enjoy reading this post? Consider reading about my time in Havana, Cuba by clicking on the links below.

The Havana Diaries: The Arrival
The Havana Diaries: Getting Adjusted
The Havana Diaries: Wandering

26 Replies to “I Watched All 80 Episodes of the Celia Telenovela and I Still Cannot Speak Spanish”

    1. I binged watched too. I feel that the whole thing was interesting but totally inaccurate. The only thing was true Is Celia was famous and talented. Also and died from a brain tumor

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    2. The lady that wrote the post said it took her almost a year to watch the whole thing, maybe because she mentioned she still doesn’t speak Spanish, lol, but it took me about 2 1/2 weeks, well the fact that I am Hispanic and I also skipped past the parts or episodes that weren’t factual they bored me and I was offended so I just skipped thru, for instance her father was not the asshole the show depicted, so alot of things on the show, was not accurate, I grew up listening to her music, and knowing her history, if you ever went to school in laitn America, they teach you the truth, so as you can imagine i’m a history buff, but I enjoyed the show, it seems that towards the end with certain characters they just said wing it!

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    3. I’m binge watching now on episode 56 I hated the cast change also but the 2nd Celia looks more like the real one and sounds more like her too I really enjoyed the first ones portrayal of her though she did a great job

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  1. Making my way through the series, just because Celia Cruz is my favorite Latin singer. By the time I realized it was a full-on novela, it was too late; I was hooked.
    But now I feel like someone owes me a more accurate biopic.
    Thoughts: I basically started fast forwarding through all the Lola scenes; the girl was just too hell-bent on self-destruction & it got old. Since her character didn’t really exist anyway, I don’t feel like she added to the story. Mirelys comes off as a shrew, but with her husband dogging around like Pedro, I can’t blame her for being pissed. Celia herself seemed like a weepy mess at 1st, but I’m sure a lot of that was for typical novela drama. Some of the episodes seemed extremely rushed, while others seemed to drag the action out over several episodes. And then there are the cast changes…
    But it has been fun nonetheless ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2.

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  2. Ok, my sister stumbled upon this series via Netflix March 2018. I had seen it advertised, but because it was in Spanish I didn’t want to read the subtitle (too busy!). Well, after the third episode I was hooked! I finished the entire series by April. I had a problem with the changing of the characters, but then adjusted to them. I tried to learn some Spanish, but I only left with AZUCAR! My most favorite parts was the singing and her wardrobe.
    Although it was fiction…I’m truly glad that Netflix added it to their collection. Anyways, I was so excited about the show that we decided to go to Cuba on a cruise (not expensive at all – from Miami) and we went to the, ‘Tropicana,’ however, the tour guide would not entertain us with any questions about Celia Cruz – Really!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed! From my visit to Cuba back in 2016, I learned that her music was banned by the government since she was considered an enemy of the revolution. There’s generations of Cubans that don’t really know of her greatness.

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  3. Okay now you know someone else that watched. I started watching it a year ago. Lost interest and moved on then regained interest when my friend’s sister started talking about it. This time around I was hooked. So let’s get into it. I detested Noris attitude. I get she was dealt a tough hand but she could have acted better. Oddly enough my favorite was Aunt Ana. She’s definitely the kind of aunt you want in your corner. I agree with you about Lola. Though I enjoyed her strong voice I hated that every song ended with the eyeee yaaaa yaaaaayy. I mean every song has to end like she’s going to get it in with Billy on stage. I didn’t care for Billy but I HATED her stepdad. I refuse to even utter his name. He was an old disgusting molester slithering around behind her. I hate that instead of fighting for her life she chose to go out with him. Pedro was the biggest liar of them all but he loved Celia and made her happy so I guess that’s all that matters. The way their love was portrayed most of us could only wish. Oh and Celia’s dad was such a hypocrite. I truly hope that part of the story was embellished. I’d definitely heard of Celia before. I remember Wyclef remaking Guantanamera and including her. This story taught me a lot about her, her struggle and sacrifice, and sparked an interest in learning more. I plan to visit Cuba next December. It was a pleasure discussing.

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  4. I am in the middle of this Latin soap. I think Lola’s character is loosely based on La Lupe. I am really tired of her wiping her mouth and eyebrows with her hands. I do not care for Noris. Simon Cruz was just as horrible as Noris.

    Oh, the cousin is absolutely annoying. I could have done without his storyline.

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  5. I recently discovered this gem of a show. I heavily concentrated on the use of the translation in subtitles and how it doesn’t always match what they are saying. This show is fantastic. I usually do not watch any telemundo but stick to main stream english shows, not any more. The music, the background, the history, the characters all attracted me. This is the first TV show in a LONG TIME to actually make me cry tears! When her mom died I thought I was gonna give up and not watch another show! I cant even think about that episode without truly hurting. The character Ollita looks like my grandma so theres some background to those feelers. LOL. I didnt like the character changes at first either, and Noris got on my nerves. Lola is a mess, a true mess. But this show inspired me to find out more about her, and download her original music with La Sonora, I didnt care for the newer stuff.

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  6. Just started watching it on Netflix . Completely hooked. Great acting/film making. I worked as an extra in one episode, don’t know which episode, but I will recognize it when I see it. A new York Street scene. I don’t speak Spanish but the subtitles fine.

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  7. I was hooked on the first episode! I completed the novella in 5 days ( don’t judge) Lol. Mario, is a coward and retard . His wig was horrible and Raquel through me off , they should’ve given the new character red hair as well. Her mother was scandalous!! I get it she wanted to see her grandson and daughter happy , but at Mirelys expense? Although Mirelys was being mean to Celia but how can you be mad at her? She just wanted her husband. I believe Pedro loves Celia , but he did seem like an opportunist. Where did Oscalito parents disappear to that he was now living with Celia? Lola, was a hot mess and faced so much misfortune but if she really wasn’t on drugs she sure had drugie mannerisms or was it the Santeria Billy introduced her to? Because in real life her first husband was a Schizophrenic and HIV-Positive. Lola, was weird and so was La Lupe . The step father was the most HATED character in the series, that damn twitch was pissing me off. I loves Celia’s mom and aunt Anna. Simon , must’ve been a stubborn Taurus or Petty Cancer ( Just Joking) but he died and was tossed in a ditch . I feel it was a pride situation, he couldn’t really take good care of his family and couldn’t bare for his daughter to be the bread winner. Noris , Noris Lol 😂 She’s such a drama queen just setting Celia up left and right , but I get it she felt less than especially finding out Simone wasn’t really her father . Poor Alberto his downfall was loving Celia . Camelito, obviously died at sea but Rene didn’t have to hang himself. I read Celia was into Santeria but the story did insinuate that Lola felt Celia had a lot to do with her demise. There was so much emphasis on Lola hating Celia . I loved Celia in the movie and her talents are amazing . I couldn’t help wonder if what Lola believed was right, was this why everyone in Celia’s life was dying and she couldn’t have children of her own ? In any event Pedro Knight to me seemed obsessed, possessive and territorial but couldn’t figure out if the love for Celia was genuine or Mr. Trumpeta needed to secure his bag lol . Overall, I loved the series !!! Azurca

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  8. I really liked this review. I have the same feelings towards some characters but i wish you would’ve mentioned Gamita and Renee. Also, Pedro did see the other kids when they were little. The only reason why he doesn’t see them anymore is because they are all adults and have their own life.

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  9. Just finish watching the whole series. Yes I cried 😭 at the end. It was a on the edge series for me but very enjoyable. I had to go look things up to find some truth.

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  10. Hi. This post had me really laughing so hard! I also loved this show. Binge watching it. I’m on episode 56 right now. But yes lol I agree with u on so many things! Lola is a Coke snorting hot mess and her wig game needed major help. Thank God Billy’s hair got help lol. But I wished they would of just aged the first Celia tho. But maybe I will get used to the new one. Now me, I did like Pedro tho. They did Mario way wrong with the new character. The first Mario was very handsome. Anyway, I have been picking up on some Spanish tho and I want to go to Cuba so bad now!! I want to here all about your trip!

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  11. Ok so one more reply? Does Noris ever get a man cause she needs to stop being a little biotch lol and yes what is with Lolas mouth wiping? And what happened to gamito , did they ever find him? Rene didn’t have to hang himself. And Alberto, if they tortured u already why did u go back, SMH. And does any one else go around saying the three words you learned thinking your an honorary Cuban lmaoo

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    1. It was assumed Gamita died at sea. The writer said “it’s the story that many Cubans live waiting for your family or friends and have no news and live everyday asking for them… It’s the story of the family that were lost at sea and nobody knew them. A real tribute to the missing and those who wait.”

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  12. I’m binge watching too!! Started last Wednesday, now I’m on episode 68. You hit the nail right I the head. The change of actors took time to adjust but Mario was a mess. I just want to know did Gamita die? Did he go to Florida? And Maria was wrong for taking advantage of Noris like a servant.

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  13. I’ve been binge watching a week now. Can’t stop and boy do I try. First off, lemme start with how much crying Celia does omg she’s driving me insane with it! (I’m only on ep 47) I mean I get it, she has all these insane things happening but geez! I love Mr. Pedro Knight! He frikin loves her so much and has the utmost respect for her. Waiting for just a lil kiss took a frikin lifetime. Imagine such a ladies man NOT getting ass after alwsys getting it from any woman he wanted! Had him going NUTS! Noris hay I can’t with her mouth, but since the mom favored her sis more u cant blame her, the dad…I read he wasn’t like the way they portrayed him so I no longer look at him w the same eyes as before. But damn, they did him wrong the way he died and was bruied. That wss pretty sad! The mom…such a loving woman but she favored Celia too much. You can’t do that when u have other children mind you she also sent her away bc of her husband. Rene too cute but that relationship with the Celia cousin he got on my nerves he was a snitch for real lol! La Revolucion made me sick! So sad them people had to endure that for so long. Who else omg let us not forget Lola. Listen she was too extra for me since the beginning. I knew from the jump her life was gonna go downwards in drugs when she left to NY. Her sicko step dad shoulda had his privates chopped for putting that girl through all of that all her life. Alberto I dont even wanna mention him ugh! Mario another dummy I don’t wanna mention wanting to die for that Raquel woman. I can’t remember anyone else at this point. Too many characters too many different stories going on. Reminds me of my brother in law’s mother/brother who were refugees from Cuba. Growing up, I would hear then saying how bad they had in Cuba. The stories always always started with “aya en Cuba” they also lived through Fidel Castro (idk history too much but I believe La Revolucion started with him) I wished I can comment each and every character with more detail but for obvious reasons I won’t but so far I love this mini novela! And I’m a Puerto Rican woman who HATES novelas….hahahah go figure!

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