For a foreigner with access to a TV over here, the world of Brazilian TV can seem like a minefield of the bizarre. So what I’m going to do with this post is give a tongue-in-cheek rundown of the five presenters I consider to be the most, erm, interesting.
Ana Maria Braga
I absolutely LOVE Ana Maria Braga! She presents a breakfast show during the week called Mais Vocé alongside her companion, a puppet called Louro José. She often chats with this green bird during the course of the show, as if it’s an entirely normal thing to be doing.
“Oh yes, she’s always had this bird!” my Brazilian friends have told me when I’ve asked them about it. They’ve clearly become desensitised to seeing it; because watching a woman in her 60s presenting a show for adults alongside a mechanically operated puppet…well, it’s just bizarre, isn’t it? Get this…once Ana Maria Braga was too sick to present the show so it was hosted by the puppet instead.
I was lucky enough to catch the show when Nigella Lawson was a guest.
One of the reasons I’m a huge fan of hers is because she comes across as being a women with a great sense of humour. Unfortunately though, I don’t think she was briefed on what to expect from Mais Voce prior to going on. She just didn’t look like she got it AT ALL. Whenever Ana Maria and this bird began talking, the camera picked up on Nigella looking completely bemused by the whole experience (As I’m sure most foreigners are when they watch the show for the first time!).
Credit where credit is due, Eliana is a TV presenter who works her ass off. One Sunday morning I was flicking through the channels and I saw that her show was just starting. Then I went out for lunch, took a walk around the park and met some friends for coffee. Do you know what? When I got home a few hours after she was STILL going strong!
Eliana is forever smiling, she is undoubtedly the smiiest person on Brazilian TV…which is quite an achievement when you stop to think about how long she smiles for! As a foreigner studying Portuguese, the Eliana show is a real challenge for me to understand because it’s pretty difficult to read her facial expressions. She is always so God damn happy all of the time!
On the other side of the Eliana (the professional enthusiast) scale is Lúciana. Why do I say this? Well Lúciana doesn’t make a big point of smiling. Actually, she usually looks more like an angry soccer mom who has just been told her son hasn’t made the team. I often watch the show fearing for her guests, as Lúcaiana looks like she’s just one negative comment away from giving them all a bitch-slap!
She is a woman as well-known for being a TV presenter over here as she is for her personal life. But I guess this happens when you’re the mother of one of Mick Jagger’s children! Unfortunately, Mick was already married at the time Lúciana became pregnant with his child. When Mick’s then-wife Jerry Hall heard what had gone on, well…she was understandably mad. So mad that she had her marriage to Mick annulled.
A few years after giving birth to Mick’s baby, Lúciana became the presenter of Superpop on Rede TV. Superpop is a show in which celebrities are invited to debate the controversial issues of the day. It’s also a show in which Lúciana likes to share her moral and ethical opinions with her guests.
As soon as the opening credits have finished rolling and the stage doors open, Lúciana steps out to rapturous applause.This former model will runway walk towards the studio audience, screaming “Oi! Boa notie!” (Hey! Good night!) in a commanding voice, like a soccer mom screaming at her kid. Then her lips tighten, she looks sultry into the camera and waits for the audience to finish clapping. At this point she will tell them the controversial topic to be debated on the show. For those who forget that this is a show for discussing controversial topics, they don’t need to worry. Lúciana likes to remind us of this at least once every five minutes. “Oh! Polèmicol!”
Lúciana is a presenter who scares me and intrigues me in equal measures!
Before writing this post I didn’t know a whole lot about Xuxa, just three things really:
1) She was a former children’s TV presenter who had released some music.
2) She probably has the same hairstylist as Ana Maria Braga.
3) You pronounce her name a little bit like “Shoe-Shya.”
Well little did I know that she is actually Brazil’s second biggest selling female recording artist of all time (Behind Rita Lee).
I’m still letting that one sink in. Does this really mean that she has sold more music than Elis Regina? I ask this because listening to Xuxa speak is preferable to hearing her sing. But you can’t really argue with 40 million record sales, so let’s move on!
It’s interesting to note that she has also dated two of Brazil’s biggest sporting legends; Pele and Ayrton Senna.
Xuxa’s chat show might not be as bizarre to watch as the other presenter’s shows, but she is known as a bit of an icon here in Brazil and well worth looking out for. She actually comes across as cheeky, fun and very endearing. In fact, she’d totally be my favourite presenter if she had a puppet!
When talking about icons in Brazil though, they don’t come much bigger than this next TV presenter.
Silvio Santos isn’t just the presenter of the creatively titled ‘Programa Silvio Santos’ (The Silvio Santos show), he is also the owner of his own TV channel, SBT. That’s right, he owns a whole TV channel. Like, it’s all his! His back-story is pretty inspiring too, he’s gone from being a humble street vendor in Rio de Janeiro to one of the richest men in Brazil.
Well I suspect most foreigners looking at him for the first time might be more curious to know what the hell is going on with his face! You see, he looks a little bit like the winner of a ‘best costume’ award at a Halloween party….but let’s not even go there!
Instead, allow me to talk a little about about his show. The audience to Programa Silvio Santos is made up exclusively of women who also participate in the recording. I once watched an episode where he invited members of the audience to guess the identity of a distorted picture of a Brazilian celebrity. A cash prize was awarded to the woman who was able to do it correctly, so he had no shortage of volunteers! I can’t think why, but after selecting a woman from the audience, the lady he chose seemed quite nervous about standing next to this frightening looking man.
“What’s your name?” Silvio asked reassuringly, before looking directly into the camera and giving a teasing smile.
He didn’t give her the chance to answer.
Instead, he craned his neck down towards the name badge on her blouse. It would be no exaggeration to say that he almost buried his face into her low-cut top and ample cleavage.
“Oh” he laughed moments later, obviously amused by what he’d just done. “It’s Patricia!”
As I was watching this with friends, I was quick to point at the screen to check that everyone else had seen this too. They had of course, and they all laughed at my reaction. “Andrew, he is getting old” they reasoned. “This is his style! Plus this is his channel so he can do whatever the hell he likes!”
As if having an 80-something-year-old presenter leering over guests wasn’t disturbing enough, he also uses a troop of scantily clad dancers called Bailarinas. These women stand around in attention-grabbing outfits like ornaments decorating the stage. They sometimes dance too, but most importantly they always have huge smiles plastered across their faces. I’m not sure if this is the intention, but this has the effect of making them look overexcited about being there. It’s as if they’re having difficulty harnessing their enthusiasm for being on the show…which is odd, given how shit Programa Silvio Santos usually is!
Which presenter is your favourite from this list?
Have you ever seen any of these shows?