Letty is definitely not Betty...at least what I thought was Betty. In the only other version of "Yo Soy Betty La Fea" I have been exposed to, or UGLY BETTY , Betty is a modest, dependable, plain but nontheless sane person. In UGLY BETTY, Betty Suarez is a likeable and relatable underdog. We witness her misfortunes, empathize when her model-esque co-workers tease her and root for her to rise to the top. In Mexico's version, the 'fea' or Leticia "Letty" Salis, is also modest, dependable and plain. Sane and relatable, on the other hand, are debatable characteristics.
As someone who was a dance company member for nearly nine years, I know, understand and have felt the wrath of "mean girls." Although I did have friends in my dancing years, they were few and I kept my distance from most of the girls. I'm not saying all dancers are drama queens, there were plenty of nice people, but when a large group of sequined, competitive girls get together, there's bound to be conflict. As such, I'd like to think of myself as the "Ugly Betty" in the competitive dancing world. I didn't conform. God forbid, at 14 years old my makeup was never perfect, my tights usually had holes and my hair was always parted to the wrong side. I once had a fellow team member chastize me for not putting my eyeliner correctly- I wish I were kidding.
As such, because of my nine torturous yet highly enjoyable years as a dancer, I can relate to Betty. Betty has a job she loves but is surrounded by a group of people she loathes. But above all, Betty remains level-headed, down-to-earth and at the end of the day, she stays true to herself.
But Letty? While the show is fairly amusing, I personally find it hard to root for her character. She is humble. She is smart. But she is also pathetic. Letty is portrayed in such a way that I am actually repulsed by her. Everything from her spotted black mustache, greasy pinned hair and twitching eye and over-the-top facial expressions make it hard for me to empathize with her. Instead of wanting Letty to rise on top and get the guy of her dreams, I'm just interested in how the writers are going to make it work in the end. Letty is not just homely, she is downright un-kempt and un-hygenic. Letty doesn't look like she just needs a makeover. She looks like she needs a good shower.
And on top of everything, Letty hasn't showcased strength--at least not yet. Her character often falls victim to the machismo-maneras of her suave boss. She thanks her boss for allowing her to use his car washing rag for a tissue and doesn't grovel when she is put in the storage closet to do all her work. And she's a little out of touch with reality. She swoons over his ego-centric boss and believes that he is falling in love with her, even though he very obviously demonstrates his disgust towards her.
No, this isn't the Betty I've come to adore in ABC's UGLY BETTY. I'm waiting for the protagonist to redeem herself, and I hope she will. But then again, Letty is definitely not Betty.