“Shocking finale of ‘Gabriel y Gabriela’ telenovela leaves Mexico in uproar”

Frame from the presentation of the telenovela “Gabriel y Gabriela” via YouTube.

Controversial Ending of Gabriel y Gabriela

On February 21, 1983, Jacobo Zabludovsky opened his newscast with anguish on Mexican television. He pointed directly to ‘Gabriela’, a participant in one of the most controversial telenovela endings on Mexican television, Gabriel y Gabriela. The telenovela was based on a comic strip by Yolanda Vargas Dulché that she published in the magazine Lágrimas, risas y amor between 1968 and 1969.

The Plot of Gabriel y Gabriela

The plot of the graphic novel like the one on the television did not change much. A young and far from feminine fisherwoman Gabriela (played by Ana Martín) falls in love with an attractive aristocratic Carlos Iturbide (Jorge Rivero) and decides to change for him. They get married, but a misfortune in his family separates them. Heartbroken, she decides to start another life as a sailor and disguise herself as a man. She was born Gabriel and under this version she falls in love again, this time with Fernando del Valle (Juan Ferrara).

The Confusion of the Ending

After several confusions –among them an attempted murder. She confesses her true identity and yes, she also proposes marriage. But Gabriela has not forgotten Carlos, who has reappeared to recover her. And Fernando has realized the love that still exists between them. And she begins to doubt who she truly loves. So far, Vargas Dulché, who was also the scriptwriter of the telenovela, left everything the same as its original. The camera focuses on the protagonist entering the church to get married, but you never see who the groom is, if she has decided to give “Carlos” another chance or if she will try to find happiness with “Fernando’. She just says “I do”. The end. Who was chosen?

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Paradigm Break

Yolanda Vargas Dulché was a storyteller and playwright who managed to get her protagonists to break the paradigm of submissive women and fight to achieve their ideals. But with Gabriel y Gabriela and its open ending, the writer also imposed another way of telling soap operas. Vargas Dulché was very jealous of her work and supervised every detail, even in some telenovelas that she adapted she participated as an extra and Gabriel y Gabriela was no exception.

The Author’s Decision

What made the queen of comics change the ending? The ego. Vargas Dulché made a controversial decision when they told him that the telenovela was not having a good reception. Martín told the podcast La Cueva de Álvaro that “Doña Yolanda invited me to eat and told me ‘we are not well, no one is watching us, tell Carlos Téllez (the director) that I am going to change the ending of the soap opera so they can see what my rating is’.

The Mystery Continues

Years have passed and the mystery remains, thanks to the pen of Yolanda Vargas Dulché who claimed, “They cannot change a sentence, a movement” in the script of the final episode. Regardless, Gabriel y Gabriela remains one of the most memorable telenovelas in Mexican history.

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