Thursday, July 20, 2006
Betty La Fea
Okay, this little news tidbit will probably be of interest only to my Peace Corps friends and anyone who routinely watches Latin American television. Several years ago, one telenovela captivated millions of viewers. The power of the novela is difficult to imagine unless one has witnessed it. Picture a country, with only one television station, that shows one show, every weeknight, from 8 to 9 P.M. Now imagine that every single person in that country watches said show; those with no electricity hook television sets up to car batteries, and those with no televisions watch the program at the neighbor's. Now multiply that country by every single country in Latin America. And keep in mind that there is no gender bias when it comes to the novelas, even the toughest, machete-wielding farmer tunes in. And the best part? These telenovelas only run for a few months, so interest never wanes before the finale. The most popular telenovela in history was Betty La Fea, a Colombian series about an ugly girl trying to make her way in the fashion industry. And guess what? ABC is doing an English version of the show, called Ugly Betty, this fall. It's produced by Salma Hayek. Even if it bombs in the U.S., I will be watching.