Monday, December 18, 2006

Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty) Mas Bella Update XXIV

Okay, we've hit the peak, the story is now at full elevation and will shortly begin its descent to a landing sometime in 3-4 months by my calculation. A long time to resolve, I realize, but there's still the transformation of both leads, the return of Lety and Tomas to Conceptos, the re-winning of Lety by Fernando (with an intriguing sidelight), and the rescue of the company and the family. Will take some time. In the meantime, yes, Marcia and Ariel will pay for their comments about the lower class Lety, but Marcia still elicits a little sympathy. (Alicia never really will, sorry.) If any of this is shocking and "spoiling" for you, I apologize but how clueless are you?

The story does a couple of things that are unusual, which I've discussed before but which have been made clear by the break between Lety and Fernando. One is the very nice turn on the title that has been done. There are two "La Feas Mas Bellas" here. One, of course, is the ugly most beautiful, Lety. The other is the beautiful most ugly, Fernando. The crossing of their paths has left both of them smashed, what was beautiful about them turned on its head. Lety helped a man cheat on his fiancee, his family, and business. She has to break to recover. Fernando was superficial and amoral but is on a journey to redemption. He has to break to recover. His recovery will be more physically painful but both have to reform, not just him. Both are fea at this moment and will only be mas bella again when they reunite. Nicely done, even if it took a year to get here pretty much.

The other thing the story has done is to reemphasize the class distinction that was such a fundamental part of the superior original "Betty La Fea." "Clase" has come up overtly here unlike you see in the usual US story. I mean, Lety owns the company, owns the families, owns the women who are disparaging her class status, and yet neither they nor she acts as if this is possible. This will change, but it's been a great touch that the romance with Fernando had glossed over. The current best US show on class issues, not surprisingly, is "Ugly Betty," thanks no doubt to Salma (!!!!), but even there, it's the contrast between the two worlds Betty lives in, not so much the outright statements that we've just seen in "Mas Bella." We've covered up the class divisions in this country too long with too much damage to our democracy, our economy, and our future, and that the weaker version in "Ugly" is the best we can do right now says all we need to know. I've gotten to like "Ugly," primarily because of America Ferrara and her chemistry with, well, everyone, but it will never have the impact of "Mas Bella" and certainly not of "Betty La Fea" until it can stand completely for the same things. That would give it impact similar to the Colombian original. Maybe we can hope. In the meantime, enjoy as the class walls eventually come down.

3-4 months from now.