The main character is Patricia Castro, known by the diminutive of the name Patricia, "Patito" ("duckling", and yes, she's the one ugly but with a heart of gold). She lives in Bariloche, a city in the very south of Argentina, with her mother Carmen, and once fell in love with Matías, a guy from Buenos Aires, who visited the city.
Some time later, the family moves to Buenos Aires; there, they meet Patito's father Leandro, but are were unaware of this, since Carmen tried to avoid him. Patito then enrolls in a school of arts... where Matías also attends. Problem is, Matías has a girlfriend, Antonella, the leader of a group of beautiful but mean girls. And Antonella's mother Bianca is Leandro's girlfriend, and tries to prevent him from getting near Carmen.
Needless to say, the happy family is reunited in the end.
Note: As said, this must not be confused with the tale The Ugly Duckling
"Patito Feo" includes examples of:
- Adults Are Useless
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Lampshaded. When Carmen goes to see a Psychologist, it was an expy of Freud himself. She was taken to a Freudian Couch, even when a common chair was just fine. And then...Carmen: So, doctor, my problem is that I love...Psychologist: No no no no. Tell me about your childhood!
- This is congruent with the situation of psychology in Argentina, where almost all psychologists are Freudian and other currents are not very popular.
- Alpha Bitch: Antonella, the girl who torments Patty.
- Beautiful All Along: Happened a couple of times.
- Becoming the Mask: Andreacute;s was hired to pose as Carmen's boyfriend, to shoo Leandro out. In time, Andrés falled in love with Carmen for real.
- Breakout Character: Antonella. From Season 2, she got more focus and screen-time, due to being the most popular character of the series.
- Broken Aesop: If Antonella, the beatiful and mean girl, turns out to be the favourite of the public, and the writers choose instead to write about her, the whole "ugly duckling" tale and aesop is lost.
- Call-Back: In the first season, Leandro realized that Patito was his daughter, but was unsure how and when to told her, as Carmen was still infuriated with him. In a music contest, a judge was being mean with Patito, and Leandro jumped infuriated in her defense. The man asked why was Leandro defending her so strongly, and in an Accidental Public Confession he shouted "because I'm her father!". In the second season, Leandro had amnesia, did not remember his relation with Carmen or Patito, and the doctors advised against such reveals. And one day, there was a similar scene (in fact, with the same judge, who thought he had seen Leandro previously...), but this time it was Patito who shouted by accident "because he's my father!"
- Cat Fight: Patito is the most innocent girl that may be conceived, she can not even bring herself to think something bad of Antonella when her worst plots came into light... but Jose is not so innocent, and have no qualms into taking things to physical violence when justified.
- Drunk with Power: When German was appointed provisional principal of the school for a couple of days, he turned it into a military base.
- Enemy Mine: Antonella, best friend of Patito? Doesn't that make it the end of the series? No, just add the new girl Tamara, even more mean than Antonella (and even evil, Antonella was just mean), turn her into Antonella's enemy, and we have new plots for months.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: Between Patito and Antonella, at the beginning of the second season.
- Genre Shift: The show which had no supernatural elements in the first season started off in the second season with a witch who cast a spell on both Patito and Antonella in order to try the Freaky Friday flip out of the blue.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Antonella gets friend forever with Patito, then she's mean again, then friend forever again... ah, teenagers
- High School Rocks: A high school teen drama, where we never see the characters in an actual classroom learning anything? Music class and spare time, and that's all? Who wouldn't want to go to that High School, even if Antonella was in it?
- Ironic Echo Cut: When it was leaked that Carmen helped the Populares to write songs and organize their dance, Blanca protested, and was allowed to help the Divinas the same way. Blanca took it as an open war against Carmen... but Carmen knows about that stuff, and Blanca does not. And Patito loves her mother, while Antonella is an Alpha Bitch. The next scenes of both groups contrasted the opposite reactions: Carmen dances well, Blanca falls while attempting to dance, Carmen wants to help out of generosity, Blanca wants to help out of revenge against Carmen, Patito says "I love you mom, you are the greatest!", Antonella says "I hate you mom, you are a disaster!"
- Quest for Identity: Leandro had one during most of the second season. He recovered his memory slowly and gradually.
- Taking the Bullet: Averted. Antonella saw that Carmen was about to be run over by a car, so he jumped to her to move her to a side. But she did not do it hard enough, and the car run over both of them.
- Uptown Girl: Patito and Carmen