The campaign for a Clarina kiss

 
 

The clock is ticking for the Clarina Fandom, as the fate of their beloved couple, Clara and Marina will be decided on Thursday or Friday of this week. Hundreds upon hundreds of ferocious, passionate (and well-organized) viewers have taken to twitter and tumbler to make their voices heard. After four months of flirtation, longing looks and sensual slow dances, these fans want to see the couple’s first kiss. Anything less would not only be inconsistent with the other, less popular heterosexual couples on the telenovela, it would be blatant prejudice.

slow dance

Are you unfamiliar with Clarina, the ship name of the most popular pairing on Brazil’s Em Familia? Allow me to offer a brief primer:

Clara is the beautiful but bored wife of Cadu. Together they have one son, Ivan. Clara meets Marina, a talented and wealthy photographer at Marina’s gallery opening and it is love at first sight for both of them. For Clara, this is a new and confusing emotion because she had never felt this way about a woman before. As a matter of fact, she thought that she was happy with Cadu until she met Marina who showed her everything she had been missing. For Marina, falling for Clara is also life-changing as she has been forced to be humble and patient which is not something that has ever been asked of her in her beautiful, privileged life. Clarina has been doing the will-they-won’t-they dance for one hundred and eight episodes. The chemistry between the two characters is electric, the sexual tension is almost palpable, but their love has been, so far, unconsummated as Clara doesn’t want to be unfaithful and has been struggling with whether or not she should leave her sick husband for Marina.

At first there was push back against the two women being together because their relationship would disrupt a sacred marriage, not to mention the fact that Cadu had fallen ill and cheating on him or leaving him when he was in such a vulnerable state seemed rather cruel and immoral in some viewers minds. Yet now that Cadu has had a heart transplant and is even having some flirtations of his own with a bold nurse, the way for Clarina to be together is clearing up. Clara has confessed her feelings for Marina to her husband, so it is only a matter of time before she makes passionate declaration of love to Marina that will culminate in the kiss that everyone has been waiting for, right?

Well, only if the viewers approve. According to The Economist:

The telenovela format can be adapted to audience feedback, and plots can be changed on the fly depending on what viewers like. Globo executives obsess over the real-time audience figures streamed to their offices. “If ratings decline a tenth of a percent, you feel this building shake,” one of them says.

In an earlier article by Chloe, my fellow writer reported that in a poll conducted by Globo, Brazilians were split as to whether they approved of the same-sex couple. However, it seems that the Clarina Fandom has grown immensely, and those numbers have drastically changed. Now that Clarina’s approval numbers have gone up with the majority of Brazilians supporting Clara and Marina’s relationship, the two characers will be able to have a real relationship with all the love and affection that a romantic relationship would realistically entail. Right? Right?

Apparently, not.

clarina

According to the most recent poll conducted by Globo, the network on which Em Familia airs, although approval and support of Clara and Marina has greatly increased, the desire for viewers to see them kiss, make-love, or behave in the same way that all couples, and certainly the other couples on Em Familia behave has not.

In Noticas da TV, Daniel Castro writes (what is generally translated as):

In a new poll the Globe came to the conclusion that the majority of the public approves gay couple Clara (Giovanna Antonelli) and Marina (Taina Müller), but do not want to see them as a heterosexual couple, kissing, exchanging caresses and waking embraced in the same bed.

The survey results served as a green light to the author of In the Family, Manoel Carlos. He is “authorized” by the public to come forward with “Clarina” (as twisted by Clara and Marina and draws double on social networks), but still cannot break the taboo of treating a gay couple in the same way as a heterosexual couple. According to the survey, both Clara and Marina are very well evaluated. The public likes them. But you can change your mind if they begin to hold in public.

At Globo, the result was also analyzed as a proof of prejudice in Brazil: You can be gay, but not in front of me.

Clara and Marina are on the verge of coming together not just emotionally but physically. It is unrealistic and downright maddening to watch these two would-be lovers wait any longer to be seal their love with a kiss (at the very least). To solve this problem, the writers and network of Em Familia has come up with a wholly unsatisfying solution. At the end of the week, the show will simply fast forward to three months later, effectively skipping right over Clarina’s first kiss. When we next see our star-crossed lovers, Clara will have been separated from her husband Cadu, and the women will be in a relationship and talking about moving in together. The showrunner, Manuelo Maneco, has promised fans a kiss between the two women, but only a short one in the last week of the telenovela, which ends on July 18.

clara-y-marina-em-familia-2

World of TV’s Fernando Oliviero writes (roughly translated):

As of June 16,…there will be a passage of three months in the plot and then friends will portrayed effectively as girlfriends. All right, if it was not for one detail: the couple can not kiss like Laertes (Gabriel Braga Nunes) and Luiza (Bruna Marquezine) or Ricardo (Herson Capri) and Chica (Natalia Valle) do. In screenplays, Manoel Carlos asks that there be no caress, but rather flirtatious glances. The ploy is not new and has been used in novels like Ti Ti Ti and Foolish Heart, but is far from being fair to the viewers and points to a large inconsistency in the Globe drama.

This news put the Clarina fandom into a panic. How could the writers of the show skip Clarina’s first kiss after all the romance and anticipation the two have shared? A small peck at the end of the show is not good enough for these diehard fans. They want their beloved couple to be treated as any other couple on the soap.

So, the already vocal group began a campaign on social media to change the hearts and minds of Globo executives. The blog All Things Clarina posted this passionate open letter to Globo. Every day, Via Clarina gives the call to action, i.e. the phrase that the fandom should tweet for the day, and the Clarina faithful go to work, causing their hashtags to trend globably. Media outlets, Celesbians-such as real life couple Clara and Vanessa (Clanessa)–and even actors on Em Familia have answered the call.

Em Familia actresses with popular Via Clarina hashtag

So what is Globo waiting for? The strong, influential relationship between the network and its viewers goes both ways. According to The Economist:

It (Globo) controls everything from Brazilians’ access to news to the market rates for journalists’ salaries. Even entertainment shows can be remarkably influential. Salve Jorge, a recent soap set in Turkey, prompted hordes of Brazilians to take holidays there. Its programmes also shape the national culture.

Oliviero, of World of TV, goes on to write:

…the taboo kiss between persons of the same sex was broken in “Love for Life” by Felix (Matthew Solano) and Niko (Thiago Fragoso). At the time, one of the network executives had claimed that she was following the changes of society. It is more than proven that the audience does not clash with an affection between couples. There was no march or picket against displaying the petting between Felix and Niko. Rather, the scene was widely praised and passed. Why, after all that, would one deny and Clara and Marina a right granted to other characters? A kiss of the two is far from being immoral; especially when there is much more spicy and scantily clad scenes involving the protagonists – Laertes and Luiza, who, incidentally, also suffer strong rejection from the public.

It happens that, by denying women the kiss, the Globe does a disservice and denies the achievements of earlier this year and put back into the closet a question that was practically overcome.

Today, news comes from Brazil that the showrunner, Maneco, has fallen ill and has therefore quit the Em Familia writing team. Now that Maneco has departed, executives at Globo are reporting that it was Maneco, and not the network, who was holding back the kiss all along. The Clarina fandom is skeptical, as Maneco has always been so dedicated to telling Clara and Marina’s story with authenticity, but they are hoping that this is a sign that their social media campaign has worked. Only time will tell. If it is indeed true that the network has approved a kiss, or better, a true romantic relationship between Clara and Marina should see some action soon. The hashtag for the fandom will likely be #putyourmoneywhereyourmouthis.

 
 

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