Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I recently downloaded ABC's hit comedy Ugly Betty from iTunes, and started making my way through the episodes. I really, really want to like Ugly Betty. I really do. I loved The Devil Wears Prada, and I live for Project Runway, and nobody loves a snappy retort better than I. But I can't love it. I can't. And here are the reasons why:

1. It makes me tense. I swear, I've had to stop each episode at least 5 times each because I am already emotionally invested enough in Miss Betty Suarez that I can't stand the thought of something bad happening to her. (I remember not liking Gomer Pyle at the age of 4 for exactly the same reason. I used to complain that Sarge should stop yelling at Gomer.) I don't watch much television, but when I do, I gravitate to shows like The West Wing where the characters are smart and funny and not out to hurt one another.

2. I don't like mean girls. And this show has entirely too many of them. Everywhere you look, there's another mean girl. I swear to dog, there are more mean girls on one episode than in my high school senior class, which had 85 girls and 9 guys. (I was in the first co-ed class at a 125 year old prep school. 82 of the girls were mean.)

If Ugly Betty were my only New York point of reference, I would be certain that 9 out of 10 women in New York were plastic, premenstrual, anorexic barracudas. But having lived there, I know that the number is more like 6 out of 10.

3. Vanessa Williams gives me the wiggins. Those unfortunate naughty pictures aside, I always though Vanessa Williams was sweat and good...like a Disney star. But my, how she's changed. I think it is safe to say she isn't going to be bursting into "Colors of the Wind" on this series. She's completely without a soul. I honestly didn't recognize her -- they've got her so angloed-up, I thought it was a white Episcopalian woman who needed to take a few steps away from the spray tan. But it really is Vanessa Williams. And would someone please tell me just how many black women are there named Wilhelmina? (Also, having seen those naughty pictures of Vanessa, one thing is obvious...she can now afford a good wax.)

4. Is it just me, or is this show WAY too much like Desperate Housewives? It's got anorexic Latinas, manipulative fathers, private investigators, missing persons...all it's missing is arson. Even the music and camerawork reminds me of DH. Which isn't necessarily a good thing. Nor is it necessarily a bad thing. I'm just saying...

I want to state for the record that the show has some really big things going for it. America Ferrara is amazing as Betty Suarez. I love her. (I do want to know why she spends her nights with curlers in her hair when it obviously isn't helping her, but I know that sometimes you need to let art flow over you rather than question every little thing. But still...hasn't she heard of hot rollers or a curling iron?) But I love her. She represents everything that is good and true and loyal and stellar in the world. I wish she could come over and make empenadas. (Personally, I like spicy beef and olive.)

I also love, love, love Ashley Jensen who plays Christina. I love her voice -- reminiscent of peat and pipe tobacco -- and I love her accent, and I would pay good money just to listen to this Scottish lass read from the phone book. I melt just thinking about it.

I still have 10 episodes to watch, but I don't know if my heart can take it. I'm pretty sure it's causing a spike in my blood pressure. They are just so MEAN on this show.


I found this picture on the wires -- I'm not kidding...this was in a Prada's fall/winter collection at Milan's fashion week. Is it just me, or does this sweater make him look pregnant? I could write 500 words about the dearth of talented men's knitwear designers, but really, after this picture, it would just be overkill.


mc78 said...

I can't help it. I LOVE Ugly Betty. I LOVE the mean girls. I LOVE Vanessa Williams as evil. Unfortunately, I rarely ever get a spare Thursday to watch. Good luck on trying to finish the episodes. I look forward to your diatribe on I love New York another show I hate to love. It's worse than Joe Millionaire.

Ted said...

I thought the guy was wearing a tabard made from a piece of shag carpetting. Seriously dreadful.

How's the lace knitting going, BTW? I just realised I haven't nagged you about it recently.

Diane said...

I can't get into Ugly Betty at all. My 18 yr old loves it.

I think it looks like they realized that they had forgotten to design a top, ran to walmart, bought 2 bathroom rugs for $3.97 each, seamed them quickly, and made this fetching vest.

Kate said...

I have that EXACT same bathmat on my bathroom floor as I type this!

sahara said...

Aidan, I am in total agreement with you about the show and Vanessa; I was going to comment further, until I saw that last sweater, and now I can't even write––I'm going to sleep and will comment tomorrow.

knitnzu said...

yup preggers. and mad about it.

brenda said...

Ugly Betty - yeah same reaction. I like my fictional characters smart and, other than Betty, there just aren't enough smart people in the show for me to really engage.

The vest, I'm fairly certain I've seen before... Didn't Barney Rubble wear one?

Anonymous said...

I don't know that this guy looks pregnant, but he looks mad as hell!

Nat said...

Hi Aidan,

I have not watched a network show in years until Ugly Betty. Part of the reason is because i missed out on the Colombian original which my parents watched. Nevertheless, i can't get enough of it, i think because i can sort of identify with Betty.

It was great chatting with you last night. I can't of course remember your email, feel free to drop me a line anytime at moonrat(at)evil-eye-emporium.com