Welcome to a blog dedicated to enthusiasts of the colorful and exciting world of Betty La Fea. Philippine's "I Love Betty La Fea" soap opera is based on the Columbian telenovela ,Yo soy Betty, la fea, that has spawned over 20 editions worldwide. This website has been established to offer a portal connection for fans of any Betty La Fea adaptations around the globe. The Betty La Fea saga is not just a franchise but a universal organization for everybody to share their country's culture and sensibilities.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lust in Translation

By Kristen Baldwin

Source: EW.com

The story of an ugly woman's rise to power undermines a cherished American stereotype, says Kristen Baldwin

If there's one thing you don't see a lot of on series television, it's ugly people -- especially ugly women. After wracking my brain, the only recent example I could come up with of a TV series that starred a woman who was unattractive by Hollywood standards was ''Roseanne,'' and that's primarily because Roseanne committed what's seen as the biggest celebrity sin -- being overweight.
That's why it's so entertaining to watch ''Yo Soy Betty La Fea'' (''I Am Betty the Ugly Girl''), an edgy Colombian soap opera that airs in the U.S. on Telemundo weeknights at 8 p.m. It's the story of Betty Pinzon, a brilliant 26 year old whose university degrees are overshadowed by her innumerable beauty flaws, including a mouthful of braces, greasy bangs, and a wardrobe consisting of frumpy, librarian worthy outfits. (The comical irony of ''Betty La Fea'' is that the lead actress, Ana Maria Orozco, is actually a ridiculously beautiful model who's been uglied up with big glasses, fake braces, etc.)

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It doesn't matter that I barely understand Spanish -- I catch only about every 10th word. In fact, much of the fun of watching ''Betty La Fea'' as an English only speaker is deciphering the most basic of plot points armed only with junior high school Spanish skills. (Plus, the Web is filled with ''Betty'' fan sites, some of which have English language episode summaries. Try Telenovelas Forum for starters.

Even though she's spent her whole life being shunned for her looks (the opening credits show a hospital nurse reacting with horror to newborn baby Betty), La Fea takes a job at the hip fashion house Eco Moda, where she can't come close to fitting in. On her first day, the Eco Moda security guard won't let her into the building, because he doesn't believe such an ugly girl works with models and chic designers. Once there, she falls in love with her handsome jerk of a boss, Armando, and endures endless taunts and humiliations as the office's most unattractive employee.
Over the course of the 18 month long telenovela, however, Betty gets involved in, and then exposes, a fraudulent deal with Armando on behalf of Eco Moda, and now, through a series of complicated plot twists I don't really understand, she's become the company's president -- much to the horror of the fashionable staffers. It doesn't matter to them that Betty has recently undergone a makeover; gone are the bad bangs, the oversized glasses, and the ugly clothes (although much of the Colombian viewing audience felt betrayed by ''La Fea'''s transformation).
Indeed, having a show that features an ugly female lead -- especially in a culture where women are judged primarily on their looks -- is a revolutionary thing, and it's a bit disappointing that she ultimately conforms to society's standards of beauty. But it's really no surprise that ''Betty'' creator Fernando Gaitan made over his homely heroine, because soap operas are, above all else, about fantasy fulfillment.
Never mind the beauty battle: ''Betty La Fea'' is still a fascinating and funny nighttime soap. Don't let the language barrier scare you; the ''Friends'' watched telenovelas for fun (remember, waaay back in season one?) And even Julia Roberts' character in ''The Mexican'' is a fan. Clearly, they're onto something

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