Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ain't That America?

The American TV series, "Ugly Betty," has started airing here, in the UK, recently. I have tried it and am coming back for more. Channel 4 put it in a high profile slot on Fridays, between the main "Celebrity Big Brother" show and the CBB eviction show, probably hoping to give "Betty" a ratings head start. That, combined with the promotional ads for the show, got me interested.
"Ugly Betty" is the story of an overweight, plain looking girl, with braces and glasses, who manages to land a job as an assistant to the editor of a top fashion magazine. To make her image worse, Betty has almost non-existent dress sense. The first time I watched it, I had the Exotic Flower and Nando present. I was hoping it would appeal to the Flower. She watched the show, paying the most attention besides myself, but I don't know how much she liked it. She was absent when I watched it the second time. Nando called it crap and M1 totally wasn't interested. Nando doesn't go for shows like this, so his reaction is not surprising. M1's taste in TV is juvenile. I find something compellingly likeable about the lead character, Betty Suarez. She has a sweetness that I am a sucker for and I have always been partial towards women in glasses.
I asked the Flower if she felt any empathy for women like Betty, who aren't blessed with gorgeous looks, like the Flower is. The Flower revealed that she didn't used to think she was good looking. I also pondered if the actress playing Betty is really that ugly, or did the producers just ugh her up for the show. The Flower concurred with me that Betty isn't really ugly. It's mainly the braces and the awful clothes that detract from her looks. I'm like a dog with a bone, when it comes to finding out the answers to questions I have. I have now seen pictures of the actress who plays Betty, America Ferrera. That's right, her name is "America." My suspicions were correct. I have seen photos of America Ferrera looking gorgeous. So, it's all costume, effects, and makeup that make Betty "ugly." The show's success may help fuel demand for actors and actresses who aren't classically beautiful. That's one thing I like about British TV, as opposed to American TV. Here in the UK, there are many more people on TV who have plain looks, or are downright ugly. Back in the States, it always seemed that only the most beautiful people got to be on TV.
If you haven't given "Ugly Betty" a try, I recommend doing so. As an added bonus, the series has Vanessa Williams, who was the first "Black" Miss America, as a supporting character. I have always had a soft spot for Vanessa, as we both attended Syracuse University. I left a few years before she attended, so we weren't there at the same time, but it still feels like we shared an experience. She pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, while I pledged Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, so we both crossed the burning sands with Black Greek letter organizations. Vanessa's career had been a bit quiet lately, so I am pleased to see her working again.


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