This week’s happy ending project takes us to Argentina once more to visit the telenovela “El Elegido” (“The Chosen One”), which aired in 2011. Unlike the most popular lesbian TV couples, Greta Sáenz Valiente (Mónica Antonópulos), a lawyer, and Paloma Riccardi (Leonora Balcarce), a fashion designer, don’t have a portmanteau (Gretaloma? Palometa?). They don’t even really have much build-up as a couple. They’re kind of friends, then five seconds later they’re life partners. But you know what? They’re a solid couple and they got a happy ending, so there. And also, Greta is a really interesting character over the course of the telenovela, which is very, very soap opera-y.
“El Elegido,” broadly, follows the life of Andrés Bilbao, an ambitious lawyer who wants to become a partner in the law firm where he works, which is run by the villainous Oscar Nevares Sosa. When the firm’s other partner, Marcos Mariani, dies, Oscar announces that he will make Marcos’ replacement a competition among all the lawyers in the firm, which includes Andrés and Greta. At the start of the telenovela, Greta is closeted, and spends most of her time trying to hide her sexuality from Oscar and her colleagues. This double life involves a secret girlfriend, Gigí (Giovanna “Gigí” Gilardoni, played by Paula Kohan), who is sexually electrical but also frustrated by being sequestered away and acts out, hectors Greta to come out, and eventually gets pregnant by Oscar’s son David. In short, Greta’s life is a hot mess.
Gigí’s pregnancy puts the nail in the coffin of Greta’s relationship with her (Greta later tells Paloma she doesn’t think she ever really was in love with Gigí anyway), and into the void steps Paloma, who starts a client but quickly becomes Greta’s friend and then partner. Paloma is everything Gigí wasn’t: stable, understanding, and sweet. Most of all, she’s an island of calm in Greta’s life as everything around her goes increasingly crazy. When Gigí goes missing, Paloma even helps try to find her. The storyline ends with Greta taking over the law firm (now renamed as “Greta Sáenz Valiente y Asociados”) and Greta and Paloma getting married and adopting Gigí’s baby, making it the happiest ending probably any TV lesbian has ever gotten.
Overall grade: B. I liked this couple, and Antonópulos and Balcarce did a great job with the material that they were provided. Greta and Paloma are a great exemplar for a loving “partnership” in a couple. That said, it’s hard to get over how quickly Greta and Paloma became a couple given the circumstances under which they met. The show would have benefitted from drawing it out just a little longer.