|Turkey's "Sensiz Olmuyor" (Won't Work Without You) told the story of Gönül Üstünsoy and Arda Gazioğlu on two separate TV networks, with each channel showing thirteen episodes. When the weekly series debuted on Show TV in January of 2005, Özlem Conker played Gönül (which means 'heart' in Turkish), the intelligent swan in ugly duckling clothing, and pop star Emre Altuğ appeared as her boss at Moda G Collection (MGC) and her eventual love interest, Arda. The show did not go on hiatus before its move from Show TV to rival network Kanal D on May 29, 2005. The series picked up right where it left off, but there was one major change: Yeliz Şar had taken over the lead role of Gönül, however the rest of the original cast remained intact.|
This series remained pretty faithful to the original story, although this version told it in a very condensed manner. One of the main differences was that instead of having a group of friendly co-workers to lean on, Gönül's primary support system existed at home, consisting of her parents, Ziya and Handan; her childhood friend and neighbor, Civan, and his parents, Sadun and Şengül; and the man who piloted the ferry that she took to and from work every day, Osman Reis. Gönül did have three friends at MGC, a receptionist, a secretary, and the assistant of Mino (the company's star designer), but these friends weren't featured prominently.
Unfortunately, although "Yo soy Betty, la fea" (dubbed in Turkish) was very popular when it aired in Turkey, the country's own adaptation wasn't warmly received by audiences, not even among Emre Altuğ's many fans. After the show switched networks and Özlem Conker was replaced by Yeliz Şar, many viewers stopped watching.
The story begins when Gönül Üstünsoy shows up to be interviewed for the position of Arda Gazioğlu's secretary, but he is repulsed by her from the first moment that they literally bump into each other. She doesn't think that she stands much of a chance of getting this job, especially after she is rejected and sent away, but after her resumé accidentally ends up back on the desk of Arda's best friend and confidant, Can, Gönül ends up being hired by Şebnem Tezel, Arda's girlfriend and recent fiancée. Şebnem forces Gönül on Arda because she feels that Arda would never be tempted by this ugly girl. Arda treats Gönül badly, but in time he will come to appreciate her abilities and loyalty.
As Orhan Gazioğlu, Arda's father, is about to step down from the day-to-day running of the company, Arda's ascension to the company's top position is confirmed at a board meeting, where the board members vote to choose between Arda and Şebnem's brother, Serdar. The deciding vote is cast by Şebnem herself, and she ends up choosing the man she plans to marry over her own flesh and blood.
Arda is extremely displeased by his new secretary and her clumsiness, especially when she ends up stumbling onto the catwalk during a presentation being put on by Mino, the company's star designer.
Unlike other versions of the Betty story, Gönül does not write her thoughts down in a diary. Instead, she confides her feelings to her pet fish, Zeze [Note: Zeze is the name of the hero of Brazilian writer José Mauro de Vasconcelos's book O Meu Pé de Laranja Lima].
Hande, an MGC employee and Şebnem's closest friend, causes trouble for Arda when she sees him in a clinch with a model (Eva Maya) with whom he's been having a fling. It takes intervention by Arda's mother, Zehra, to get Şebnem to reconcile with her fiancé. Hande also helps Serdar to undermine Arda's authority, every chance they get.
At one point, after Arda's cruelty has a visible effect on Gönül's mood and behavior, her father, Ziya, shows up at MGC to confront his daughter's abusive employer. The confrontation is avoided, however, because Arda isn't in his office at the time. Later, Arda's demeanor softens a little bit when he overhears Gönül vigorously defending him to Serdar. She proves her usefulness once again when she comes up with an idea to help Arda to get the company out of a huge financial mess.
Can wants to ensure Gönül's continued loyalty, though, so after observing that she is clearly smitten with her boss, he suggests that Arda should start to court the ugly secretary to keep her in his thrall. Arda shows his trust in Gönül by having her deliver an important business plan presentation to the board members.
Handan and Şengül get themselves arrested after a mishap that takes place when they go to visit some kind of a mystic, who tries to force himself on the women. Ziya chastises his wife for getting herself into such a situation.
As a favor for her friend Özge, the MGC receptionist, Gönül goes out on a double date, but her date ends up ignoring her, so she fantasizes that Arda appears and asks her to dance.
Arda, Şebnem, Orhan, and Serdar witness a raging fire at an MGC warehouse, which causes Orhan to have a heart attack that lands him in the hospital. When Arda calls Gönül from the hospital, she assures him that she'll do whatever she can to help him during his time of need. Realizing the value of Gönül's intelligence and business sense, Can encourages Arda to step up his flirtation with her.
Gönül is also being courted by a couple of new fabric supplierswho were actually behind the warehouse fireso they can get her to convince Arda to do business with them.
After noticing the extra attention that Arda has been paying to her, Gönül decides to go on a shopping spree and get a makeover, but the end result doesn't turn out as she'd hoped. She is heartbroken and humiliated when she overhears Arda, Şebnem, and Can laughing at her expense, and Hande is just as harsh as she always is, so Gönül goes into the bathroom, wipes off the makeup, and changes her clothes.
Serdar and Can both jockey for a position of influence with Aslı, a beautiful freelance P.R. associate, and they take her out to lunch. Meanwhile, Gönül fantasizes about having a romantic lunch with Arda in his office, but her reality of serving him his meal at his desk is not as nice as the image she conjured up in her imagination.
Mino clashes with Sema, his new co-worker, who has been imposed upon him by Arda.
Arda shows up at Gönül's house and she sneaks him into her bedroom so they can talk. She spills something on his pants, so she tells him to take them off and she tries to dry them. He puts on a pair of Gönül's pajama bottoms, then her mother comes into the room as Gönül is ironing Arda's pants. Gönül is so surprised by her mother that she leaves the iron sitting on the pants, which results in them being scorched. Ziya then awakens and hears the commotion, so he bursts into the room.
This is where the 13-episode run on Show TV ended. I haven't seen the final 13 episodes that aired on Kanal D, but I know that they followed the core plotline of "Yo soy Betty, la fea": Arda manipulates Gönül into heading up a shell company to absorb the parent company's debts, Gönül discovers that Arda has only been romancing her because Can urged him to keep her under his thumb, Gönül quits her job at Moda G Collection and goes to work for Aslı, Arda realizes how much he actually loves Gönül and tries to win her back, Gönül meets Tarık and realizes there are other fish in the sea, everyone at MGC is stunned by Gönül's dramatic physical transformation when she returns, Gönül comes to the realization that Arda really does love her, and, finally, Gönül and Arda get married and (presumably) live happily ever after.
- Emre Altuğ (Arda), who is one of Turkey's biggest pop stars, released an album in 2005 that was also entitled "Sensiz Olmuyor". The album's title track was the same song that was used as the theme for the series.
- "Sensiz Olmuyor" was the only one of the international "Betty" adaptations to have a protagonist who was portrayed by two different actresses. It was also the only adaptation to switch networks. Emre Altuğ (Arda) stated in an interview that he didn't know why Özlem Conker left the series.
- After assuming the lead role after Özlem Conker's departure, Yeliz Şar stated in an interview that she was luckier than her predecessor because whereas Conker had to endure sitting in a makeup chair for an hour and a half to get into character, the makeup process for her took only about fifteen minutes, because of the character's physical transformation. Conker had to have bushy eyebrows, pimples, and braces applied every day, but all Şar required was a wig and a pair of glasses.
|© Tony Lagarto|
I'd like to extend my special thanks to Prym, whom I'd "met" online at the telenovelaslatinas.com (formerly todaslasfeas.com) message board, for providing some of the information that I've included on this page and for teaching me a little about the Turkish language.