Pop Culture Junkette

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Ugly Betty

Anybody else catch this American telenovela last night? If not, I recommend you watch because I thought it was awesome. The premise is that a frumpy young woman is hired to be the assistant to the new editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine by the editor's CEO father. His sole purpose in hiring her is to provide a capable assistant that his son won't be tempted to sleep with. I normally HATE cringe comedy - the sort that is funny painful because the humor comes from the humiliation or idiocy of the characters. (See, e.g., The Office. I know it's supposed to be great, but I can't laugh because of all the cringing.)

But this show funny, campy, soapy and really engaging. The main character, the ugly Betty of the title, is played by the wonderful America Ferrera (of Real Women Have Curves and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) in a way that makes a show I would normally never be able to watch really appealing. Betty has some weird dignity that makes her humiliation, while painful to watch, bearable. You know that somewhere underneath the braces and the weird clothes and the willingness to do any debasing thing her boss requests is a girl with a lot of dignity who's going to kick some ass eventually. But what really sold me on this show was the performance by the actor who plays her self-obsessed playboy boss. This guy could be the most loathesome creature imaginable, but there's some bemusement in his face and eyes even when he's doing the most horrible things to Betty that make you think someday this guy may grow up enough to enjoy getting the ass-kicking Betty will undoubtedly give him.

Anyway, two thumbs up. Check it out.



Blogger Red Fraggle said...

I was planning to watch this, but ended up traveling and forgot to DVR it. Luckily, it is showing three more times this weekend (tonight, Saturday and Sunday), so I can catch the rerun!

A great sign is that one of the networks rerunning it is the Soap network! Yay!

9/29/2006 9:41 AM  
Blogger Laura Holt said...

It's very much and very intentionally a soap opera - with all the melodrama and shadowy figures wrapped in bandages that implies.

And the scenes of a fake telenovela with Salma Hayek that the father is seen watching are hilarious!

9/29/2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger Red Fraggle said...

I do believe Salma got her start in Mexican telenovas. Are you sure they were fake? :)

9/29/2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger Laura Holt said...

You're right, and I've read the reviews. They're fake.

9/29/2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger Laura Ingalls Wilder said...

I watched this show this weekend and loved it. America Ferrara is brilliant in the role. Love it!

10/01/2006 4:12 PM  

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