Clase 406 (TV Series 2002–2003) Poster


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A Great Mexican Soap Opera
TBelton111 July 2003
I first started watching this show when it premiered on Univision; I still haven't seen all the episodes and I understand it has been on longer in Mexico. But, based on what I have seen, I love it so far. The show is very fast paced and you don't dare miss more than 2-3 days in a row for fear of losing track of whats happening, as it really does move that fast. The best acting came from actors Jorge Poza (Francisco), Aaron Diaz (Kike), and Pablo Magallanes (Hugo). Unfortunately, the show unwisely chose to kill off Pablo Magallanes' character relatively early in the storyline, Hugo was my favorite character; and Imanol vanished relatively quickly after this plot change as well, again another of the better actors gone from the storyline. The only thing to my mind that would keep someone from enjoying this telenovela (soap opera) would be their inability to understand Spanish, as the show is obviously not in English; but even without a good knowledge of Spanish the viewer can figure out what is going on fairly well just from watching.
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Shamelessly exploitative teen series
rrincon104 July 2003
For the last few years, producer Pedro Damian has gone out of his way to promote himself as an individual who is interested in addressing teen issues in his telenovelas. His "Mi Pequena Traviesa," "Preciosa," "Amor Gitano" and "Primer Amor...Mil Por Hora" were all teen oriented sagas. Like his previous productions, Damian's "Clase 406" is supposedly a drama that deals with many of the matters that concern most Mexican teenagers. Unfortunately, like his previous "Primer Amor...," "Clase 406" turns out to be little more than a teen oriented drama that is shamelessly exploitative.

Since it is geared toward teens, you get plenty of shots of mini skirted, scantily clad girls. On this matter alone, the drama is hardly reflective of Mexican teenagers. Except for the attractively plump Carla Cossio, all the teenage female leads are pale-white, anorexia-fin girls. This is not to say that there aren't any lean women in Mexico, but in a country where 95% of the people have some Indian blood in them and where many women have the tendency to be chunky, Damian's teenage nymphs do not represent what the average Mexican teenage girl looks like.

Like "Primer Amor...," this series also tackles serious issues in a rather shameless manner. You get your doses of teenage pregnancies, spousal abuse, teenage prostitution rings, drug indulgence, and rapes. The rape and pregnancy of Gaby (Sherlyn, whose appearance in this series has made her the object of lust on many Mexican message boards) is grossly unrealistic. Gaby gives birth to the daughter of the gym teacher who raped her, yet the audience is not treated to any of the more grueling aspects of unwed teenage motherhood. Despite her mishap, Gaby continues to sing in a high school group, fall in love, and do all the little things that the average high school girl does. Being a teenage mother does not mean that your life is over, but the drama's failure to depict such events in a more appropriate manner only serve to weaken the perspective of the series.

One of the biggest problems of the series is the miscast of Iran Castillo as the antagonist Magdalena. Like Hirosue Ryoko in Japan, Iran Castillo came to prominence playing "good girl/girl's best friend" roles in "Agujetas de Color de Rosa" and "Preciosa." Her ability to play against this typecast was apparent in what is still one of her best performances, the Gothic outsider Ana in Emilio Larrosa's "Sonadoras." In many ways, Magdalena is an extension of Ana, and although Castillo does her best to play the "bad girl" role she has been given, her delivery comes off as being clumsy. Magdalena, as imagined by the writers, is supposed to be a street tough girl whose violence-plagued home life turned her into the nasty student who enjoys giving head butts to her chosen human targets. Unfotunately, Castillo fails to exhibit the toughness that is required for this role. She does her best, but in the end she is unable to convince us that she is this crass, crude antagonist. Her departure from the series after the initial six months is accompanied by the arrival of Anahi as the new villain. While Castillo's Magdalena could be sympathetic at times, Anahi is a total, conniving b***h who falsely accuses a teacher of attempted rape after he rejects her advances.

Sadly, the lack of any strong villains is among the shortcomings of "Clase 406." Fabian Robles as a sleazy pimp and Yessica Salazar as the ex-wife from hell are given a few good moments, but the overall quality of villains in this story is bad.

Among the redeeming factors of this series is the performance of Jorge Alberto Poza as the math teacher Francisco. One of the most underrated actors in Mexico, Poza delivers a fine performance as the teacher who simply wants to make a difference. While the role is somewhat cliched, Poza manages to turn it into something fresh and distinct. Undoubtedly, Poza is among the better actors to appear in recent years; in many ways, he is a more capable actor than the extremely overrated Gael Garcia Bernal. Eventually, like Castillo, Poza also departs after the first six months of "Clase 406." He is replaced by Cuban actor Francisco Gattorno, who gives life to Santiago, the teacher with the dark past. Gattorno isn't so much miscast as he is misplaced in this series. Known for playing leading man roles opposite the likes of Angelica Rivera and Daniela Castro, Gattorno comes off as being awkward and lost in this setting. Again, he does his best to pull off the role, but the overall nature of the role and the circumstances prevent him from succeeding.

As of this date, "Clase 406" has lasted exactly one year. Whether it is near its end is unknown, but at this point in the saga, it is all too apparent that "Clase 406" should have gone on vacation a long time ago.
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las_walteras28 March 2003
I'm not one to watch Spanish Soap Operas, I started watching this one because of my little cousin. It's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. It's a classic show. One of the many things that bother me about this show is that one of the characters Gabriela was raped by the gym teacher. As a result Gabriela becomes pregnant. After her child is born it seems as though everyone thinks that she chose to have sex with her gym teacher. The gym teacher comes back into her life after the child is born and no one seems to find this odd. It's a soap opera I really don't know why I'm expecting much. Bottom Line it is funny. I especially love Douglas and his car! I want a car with my name on the side.
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Good ideas, but not so good outcome
secretk21 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Basically it started as a different show with some modern themes for the youths and later it started to annoy me. I have not seen all episodes, but from what I saw the first season is the best. I don't have problem with the not true villains in the story, I happen to believe that not all in the world is black and white, most of the time the things are gray. The problem that I have is that Magdalena became good too fast. What I liked about villains like Magdalena and Daniela is that there was an attempt to justify their actions with domestic abuse, hard life and so on. It is an interesting aspect, but it was not explored very well. Well after all it is a soap opera, so we can't expect too much.

The other thing that annoyed me was that almost all the teachers were so willing to help the students and they were aware of all their problems. I don't know how it is in Mexico, but in my country the rebels does not take into account the teachers and the teachers have their own problems to solve, so they don't want to be engaged in the problems of the children.

Another thing that annoyed me was Fransisco and how he was so unaware who he likes. I mean, it is normal for Kike to wonder who likes more - Magdalena or Marcela. After all he is a teen. It is not normal for grown up to not be able to decide who he loves - Adriana, Ana Maria or Angela. Fransisco used Ana Maria twice and if I were her, I would not forgive him.

As for Caballo I did not get his motivation to be drug dealer. Just two months before that, Hugo(supposedly his best friend; to me Hugo, Fercho and Caballo were friends long before the Clase 406 band, so I think that their friendship was one of the longest among with the one between Marcela and Gaby) died and so he decided to do the same - to involve himself in drug business and most importantly to become addict. The alcoholism is indeed real problem for teens, but this topic was too fast developed and vanished for like 3-4 episodes. I don't think that when someone drinks non stop one week, he became so much addict. I think that it takes a lot more time.

The early/teen pregnancy problem is also a real one, but it was not good explored. Sometimes I could even forget that Gaby had a daughter. Besides she was raped and I would expect to see some typical problems like inability to trust men, fear for sexual relationship and so on. Jessica was raped in the third season and we saw her cry and so on(to me a bit exaggerated, I am not fan of Jessica. I agree that it was awful, but she kind of started it by deciding to be friends with Leonardo and make plans with him to interfere Fercho and Tatiana relationship) and although it might be too much, at least we saw something, while Gaby's situation was worse - she was raped, she was 15 years old and she was soon to be mom.

The mention of Jessica leads to the third season which was a bit disappointing, but the forth was even worse. These teens started as rebels and ended up as some crying naive kids. Fercho and Caballo used to be in gang for God's sake and yet Fercho is some crying boy who fears almost everyone(Leonardo, Samsara and so on.) He was so willing to do whatever he needs for Tatiana and because of that he was invalid. Too bad we did not see a moment when he accuses her, that would be awesome. I mean I like them as a couple, but she had some guilt, after all she was the one(with the help of her "best" friend Jessica) that decided to be with Leonardo, to take drugs and sell drugs and yet Fercho paid the price. And he was the one who like true best friend did not stop to try to help her.

And finally Samsara - she was just plain ridiculous villain. They are supposed to be best friends and yet they fight over her, I have to say wtf? She kidnaps El Gato and they don't call the police, they just start revenge? It was too unrealistic. And what for was needed Fercho? How can a cripple man can help against someone with gun?(I am not trying to say something against the people with inabilities, I am just saying that the forces will be uneven).

To summarize - there was good points. It was different from the most teen operas, where we see only spoiled kids with love problems. It was not about the rich ones(at least in the first season), it was not about the ones with good families and financial situations. It might be not always funny, but in reality not all live happily. All of the shown problems does exist in our world, they just were not explored that well. I still prefer to watch it above others, because even the outcome is not that good, at least it can get someone to think about the problems.
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Weak and disappointing but for different reasons
sunilshuktar10 July 2006
Hi: I received a copy and I have started with the first 40 chapters of this novella, and I have to say that the casting of the school's director as a person of authority with any credibility, even as a goofy school teacher is at the heart of what is wrong with this novella. For those not familiar with Rafael Inclan's antics, he was the star of several nu-die semi porn exploitation films in the 70s and 80s. Like most Hispanics I enjoy the slapstick raw city slicker sense of humor offered by all the actors mixed in with some elements of Latin machismo mixed in. One of the major faults I see so far is whoever put this novella together can not seem to make up their mind whether they want the themes to be centered around the traditional love triangle drama or the shenanigans of disoriented rebellious teens.

In context, you should expect to have attractive characters in the novella. Do you expect to see a lot of dull chunky kids with Indian blood and Indian features?? BORING!! If you left with impression that certain themes are tackled in a shameless manner then in that regard the novella has accomplished a portion of it's goal. Namely to express the shameless manner in which many of these themes are treated in current society and in a sad and twisted way this IS reality as it is lived by many Mexican teens.

The biggest problem I have with this novella is how they try to make the mathematician into a good guy who wants to make a difference. Some of his scenes are carried out with a shameful level of hypocrisy he has zero credibility in my view so far as someone who wishes to help anyone but himself or as a lady's man. Mainly because in some scenes he portrays himself as someone who doesn't want to take advantage of a woman in her moment of weakness and wants to give her a fair chance to move on, but then all in the same breath, he acts like a complete baby when another love interest introduces himself in her life. This guy is annoying, clumsy, indecisive, awkward, and hardly has any good looks whatsoever or personality to offer in that regard. Further the guy is a dork. He shows up at a disco with books in his hands, as if saying to his audience. Attention all you numb skulls, remember I am a school teacher, this is why I am toting a handful of books into this Anthro Disco. Also anytime there is a point of drama in the novella, you always get some obvious signal that our beloved mathematician is one step ahead of it all, (e.g. the attempted suicide, the prostitution case, the drug scandal, etc….) Poza as the school teacher is one of the worst acting jobs I have seen in a long time even for a Mexican Telenovela, and that is saying a mouthful. His acting just plain sucks so far, the novella spends countless scenes focusing on his feelings and his little world. In Mexican society such a character would never be the ladies man, especially his indecisiveness. Every decision he makes is treated as something that is right with regard to love matters and in reality it is all wrong. I am not at all impressed. Any ounce of pity I might have had for him was nullified shortly after he got is guts stomped in the first couple of chapters. Mainly because his acting is so weak there is just no credibility.

I also have a huge problem with the Miscast of Iran Castillo. You are right, she can't seem to make up her mind whether she wants to be the bully or the tender heart, and that makes her a very weak villain. Yes yes I totally agree there is a lack of villains and I was hoping at some point "Caballo" was going to pull it off when he started selling drugs in the school. He had me going up until the point where he went from sad pathetic drug addict to the scene where he was doing a Waltz with his grandmas. I also really enjoyed watching the slimy drug pushers. I was hoping they would hang around some more and inject more slime into this novella. Caballo did offer the type of acting that lends itself to a real slick slimy crass scumbag that would be the shot in the arm this novella needed. I also liked the role of Fercho and his friends. The scenes at the billiard hall are very much more realistic and entertaining.

This novella started out with some very modern graphics and upbeat riffs, but so far fails to deliver the level of entertainment I am used to but mainly because as a youth oriented novella there is no real credible connection between the adults and the youth, It's like the adults are all in their own sad sick world and the teens likewise, with no common ground or points of drama. And yes the villains are very lame so far. between
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