Soap Opera 2023 / Any gaps in logic in this show-within-a-show are papered over by its insane, entertaining premise


The less you try to think about the absurd fantasy premise of this satire on Brazilian telenovelas, the better. Based on the first three episodes watched for this review, Soap Opera (or Novela in Portuguese) doesn’t provide an airtight idea of how things work when screenwriter Isabel is sucked into a TV—meaning any sense of urgency or narrative stakes don’t feel terribly high. But still, countless possibilities open up the longer that Isabel remains in her own creation. Here she can take full creative control (literally) of how she wants herself and others to be perceived, but Lauro, the producer who’s placed his own name on the marquee, also gets to scheme on how best to continue exploiting the success Isabel is inadvertently bringing him. The result is something uniquely funny, creatively designed, and compulsively watchable.

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