I feel like there must be something wrong with me because I really don't get why everyone loves Ugly Betty so much. I tried watching it a few weeks ago, made it through four and a half episodes, disliked it quite a lot, then gave up. But then lots of people on my flist kept raving about it and Heather Havrilesky from Salon raved about it, so I gave it another chance. I'm now 11 episodes down and I plan to continue, but only because I want to see what happens, not because I like it or think it's particularly good.
First of all, it's *not funny*. It barely makes me crack a smile and I'm pretty sure it's never made me laugh out loud. This might not be a problem if it wasn't so obviously *trying* to be funny. And while the characters aren't quite as one dimensional as I first thought they were, they are still impossibly difficult to believe in (and in turn, to care about). Not one of them rings true (except possibly Betty's father), and I know that's because they're all supposed to be caricatures, but I think that's also the very reason the show isn't amusing. Absurd humour works best when it's played straight, *not* when the actors are being directed to act as if what they're doing is absurd. In fact, the reason UB irritates me and leaves me almost totally cold is because I take my comedy very seriously, and this show breaks that fundamental rule in every single episode.
I like America Ferrera in the title role. She's one of the few characters I feel anything for. But again, the obvious wig, the ridiculous eyebrows and clothes - this girl isn't actually ugly; she's dressed up like a clown because apparently the creators of this show find the idea of that hilarious. We're actually being invited to laugh at what a dog she is, and I dunno... I find that kind of offensive. Hell, the title "Ugly Betty" is offensive to me.
Vanessa Williams is wonderful as Wilhelmina, and I mostly enjoyed the storyline involving her daughter, because we discovered that the dragon actually has a heart and that the reason she's a cold bitch is because of a loveless childhood; a cliché yes, but at least the character has been given some layers.
I find Daniel to be an entirely unconvincing Lothario. Not just because he's kind of a loser, but because he's really not very sexy. Or maybe he's not very sexy to me *because* he's kind of a loser. WHO KNOWS. It's a case of: we're *told* he's brilliant with women, but I really don't have any clue *why*. Possibly it's the singular lack of chemistry he has with every woman he shares screen time with, and I don't, by the way, blame Eric Mabius for that, because he had marvellous chemistry with his co-stars in The L Word.
That's another major problem I have with UB. Because the characters are so unreal, the chemistry between most of them is distressingly flat. I'm not connecting with any of the relationships we're given, including Daniel and Sophia (they have all the spark of two damp twigs) and Betty and Walter. Now, I'm sensing the latter relationship is about to come to an end, and thank GOD, because it's creepy and sexless and Betty's sister is a fucking bitch for encouraging Betty to stay with Walter just because he's apparently in love with her and that should be good enough. The dimwitted fucker *cheated* on Betty and she's openly expressed genuine doubts about how she feels about him, yet Hilda takes it upon herself to stand between Betty and her chance at real love. Grr.
WHERE IS THE SEX? Okay, I have to admit, I prefer shows that are a bit sexy, and Ugly Betty is *dry*. It's almost as if it's made for children, except I know it's not because they shove Daniel's sexual prowess in our faces a lot. But even that feels completely chaste and silly.
GAH! Why do I keep watching this fucking show?
The L Word
Now this is what I call good television. I don't have much to say, other than I LOVED Shane's unintentional diss of Papi, who really isn't a patch on Shane in the sex appeal department. And Shane's little brother? OMG, he's so beautiful and vulnerable I practically burst into tears every time he's in a scene. I love Bette in her new job, I love Cybil Shepherd, I love Alice, I love Helena and how poor she is now and how adorable she is as a poor person, I love Kit and Angus, I really don't like Tina so I'm kind of glad she's miserable in heteroland (although the heteroland she's found herself in is annoyingly homophobic and clichéd. HULLO L WORD, NOT ALL STRAIGHT PEOPLE FIND THE IDEA OF TWO GUYS FUCKING HORRIBLE.)
Great, great show.
And now to watch Studio 60 before you all get to. \o/