It’s fair to say there’s a slight difference in tone between U.S. premium television and Latin American telenovelas. Whereas an American actor might suppress an emotion, conjuring up a boiling cauldron of feeling in a single, solitary tear; a Latin American actor would probably just go batshit crazy and start tearing apart the set design. For a case in point one need look no further than Itati Cantoral’s turn as Soraya in the iconic 1995 telenovela María la del barrio — or more specifically, her “maldita lisiada” freak-out that has gone post-viral as it runs lap after lap through news feeds the world over.
In the infamous clip, Soraya fights off numerous waves of grown men with a pair of scissors as she struggles desperately to grip the face of a wheelchair-bound girl who was supposedly kissing on her man. It’s the operatic peak of telenovela villainry, and it’s safe to say that it would be hopelessly out of place on our favorite cool, anti-hero-driven Netflix series… right?
Turns out the answer is emphatically “no.” And we now have proof thanks to a Latin American promo for season 4 of Orange is the New Black that transports Soraya into the bowels of Litchfield State Penitentiary. Using a little movie magic, the clip seamlessly mashes up classic scenes from the show’s first three seasons with newly staged material featuring Cantoral in an orange jumpsuit. Over four minutes of violence, abuse, and creative insults, it’s as if Soraya were just another inmate in the wacky, tragicomic world of OITNB.
Of course, maybe Soraya lacks some of the manipulative subtlety of Vee, or the camouflaged fragility of Gloria, but she doesn’t seem in the least bit out of place amongst the lovable maniacs, murderers, mothers, and vulnerable human beings that populate the fictional women’s prison. Plus, it’s probably where her character would have ended up anyway — that is, if her dress hadn’t caught fire in that horrible arson-murder plot gone terribly wrong.
Yeah, come to think of it there are still some pretty substantial differences.