15 October 2006

Sunday Musings I: Ugly Betty

Sick. Again.
Home from church. Again.
This time I'm home solo. (I caught Leatherwing's scourge. Thanks buddy.)

There's a new show out on ABC called, Ugly Betty. I don't know what made me want to sit and watch the pilot episode, because it really is just a stock plot pulled off the shelf and re-vamped for evening television. Unattractive girl lands job at high powered fashion magazine. She thinks it's because if her brains and talent, when really it's because the "powers that be" hope that, in her role as assistant-to-the-editor, her boss, the dashing playboy, will be encouraged to keep his pants zipped in the workplace.

But here's what has struck me about Ugly Betty. She is guileless. She is really smart. And completely genuine. She knows what's going on in the world and in the cut throat universe of fashion. She just doesn't care. With an inkling that she doesn't fit the part of the fashion magazine, she is going to be who she is anyway. (Occassionally, she weakens under pressure and attempts to fit in. You already know how that turns out...)

The best thing about Ugly Betty is the influence she has on her boss, Daniel. He's become Mode's editor because dear old dad put him in the driver's seat. Daniel is there for the fringe benefits of working with beautiful women, and to prove himself to his father. No one is on his side. Not his father. Not the power-hungry creative director who was passed over for the position. Not the receptionists or the models Daniel dates. Not wardrobe or photography. Daniel is on his own in a den of wolves.

Enter Ugly Betty.

Originally repulsed at having to work with such a shoe horn, Daniel senses Betty's determination to keep this job, no matter what insults and low-ball tactics Daniel tries to get her to quit, and their friendship begins to blossom. Daniel's never had a platonic relationship in his life. Betty is the first woman he knows that is not trying to sleep her way to the top. Removing the hormones from the scenario sheds a whole new light on things for Daniel. He is beginning to see Betty as an ally, not as just another play toy to be used and discarded.

And Betty... she remains Betty... throughout the entire show. Doing her job as a loyal employee, she takes the abuse dished out by the glam Mode staff, does Daniel's dirty work, jumps through the hoops. With her brace-laden teeth and frizzy hair, Betty does her job with integrity, despite the cost. And as a result, someone else is being changed.

4 Comments:

Blogger Erica said...

This is a copy of the Mexican soap "Betty La Fea". It was insanely popular in Mexico as well as in my family, that's all anyone ever talked about. It was interesting to see (in the Mexican version) how the people around her changed because of who she was.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Leatherwing said...

Sorry to be a scourge, but everyone knows bats carry disease.
My bride is also a fan of this show. I hope the writers are capable of keeping her guileless, and that the public can appreciate someone with a good character.

7:33 PM  
Blogger gretalynn said...

Ugly Betty. Great show--well, I imgainge. It's actually an American version of at least two Latin American programs. (One of them, "La Fea Mas Bella" (The Ugly Duckling) ) is either ending or ended in this month here in Mexico.

We really can learn from them! :)

More later...

12:20 PM  
Blogger gretalynn said...

OOPS! I obviously didn't read Erika's comment first. What selfishness! SOrry, Erika!

12:21 PM  

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