Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ugly Betty - The Complete First Season|
Actors: America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Vanessa Williams
Genres: Comedy, Television
Audiences are cheering for a vibrant overachiever with the spirit and the smarts to live her dream. America Ferrera stars as go-getter Betty Suarez, a true beauty in the skin-deep world of high fashion. Two very different ... more »
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One most the most pleasant and fun shows on television
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 05/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In retrospect, the 2006-2007 television season debuted an unusually large number of first rate new series: HEROES, MEN IN TREES, 30 ROCK, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, DEXTER, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, and UGLY BETTY. That is a remarkably strong group of new shows. UGLY BETTY occupied a unique niche among them. The new show it most resembled was MEN IN TREES. Both were light fare, intended to entertain and charm rather than challenge and rattle. It was unorthodox, but in comforting ways. It was, basically, a very nice show. One never came away from any episode shocked or dismayed as with the best episodes of DEXTER or FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, but to tell the truth, after a week of watching my favorite shows on TV--BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, LOST, DEXTER, and others that were sometimes exceedingly emotional affairs to watch, I found it a refreshing change of pace, never shocking, never emotionally taxing, never intellectually demanding. It managed always to be smart while also very easy to absorb. Most of all, it was great fun.
The plot was simple. Betty Suarez desires a job in publishing. After she applies at MODE magazine, where she has a disastrous interview, she finds herself mysterious hired as assistant to editor Daniel Meade, playboy son of Meade Publishing owner Bradford Meade. It turns out that Bradford had seen her leaving the building and ordered her hired for his son simply because she is as far from a fashion model in appearance as can be imagined. She has terrible hair, dresses horridly, has garish braces, thick glasses (and eyebrows), and carries more weight than your standard attractive woman. Father makes her employment mandatory for his rare-do-well son. Very quickly, however, she proves herself not merely necessary for Daniel's professional life, but a good friend as well. One of the most attractive aspects of the show is, in fact, their genuinely caring, completely platonic, friendship. Working at MODE pulls Betty into a world of interoffice intrigue and political infighting. To be honest, I could have lived without any of the stories. The appeal was just about 100% based on a large number of likable and adorable characters popping up each week.
America Ferrera, who had previously been amazingly effective in the cult-hit film REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES and the teen chick flick THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS (a sequel to the latter is due in 2008), simply steals this show as Betty. Though not a slender actress, America in fact has a beautiful face. They do a great make up job on her, however, putting a terrible wig on her each week (with very stressed looking hair), gluing thick, fake eyebrows on her, giving her thick-framed, brightly colored glasses, fake braces, make up to give her an unpleasant complexion, and an incredibly unflattering set of clothes. Despite this dramatic transformation each week, Betty manages to be utterly charming and adorable. A couple of people I've talked to feel it is a bit of a cheat to have an attractive woman play someone who is supposed to be "ugly," but I think it would be a bit cruel to take an unattractive person and have them play such a role. I would be surprised if she does not get an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy. Lauren Graham deserves to win in this category (as she does every year) for her genius work in THE GILMORE GIRLS, but since the Emmys year after year have ignored Graham (her show is on the wrong network), I will probably be pulling for America to win.
Ferrera is supported by an amazingly strong cast. Eric Mabius is wonderful as Daniel, consistently showing himself to be a decent guy despite his efforts to transform himself into a waste of humanity. I think there is a secret contract someone dictating that Alan Dale appear in every other show on TV in some capacity or other. He is his usual stern self as Bradford Meade (he also has a very occasional but ongoing role in LOST, the only show I've seen him on where he gets to use something like is native Kiwi accent). Vanessa Williams is a lot of fun as the scheming and unscrupulous Wilhelmina Slater, the fashion editor at MODE who would love to be the editor in chief. Ashley Jensen, who really is Scottish, plays the head of wardrobe at MODE and one of Betty's few friends at the magazine. But the people at MODE who make the show worth watching are Michael Urie and Becki Newton, who play Marc and Amanda, Wilhelmina's gay assistant and the mildly sluttish receptionist, both of them for most of the season Betty's mortal enemies (though by end of season she was making headway with both of them as friends, in particular Marc, inspiring him to come out to his mother). There is also Henry, winningly played by Christopher Gorham. He had previously played the title role in JAKE 2.0, on which UGLY BETTY executive producer Silvio Horta also worked. I suspect his appearing on UGLY BETTY has something to do with that connection. Gorham is a very good-looking guy who is somehow able to pull off completely nerdy guys, in this show an accountant.
But there is more than just the office. There is Betty's home life. Veteran character actor Tony Plana plays Betty's illegal immigrant father (one of the subplots deals with his attempt to get a green card). He is one of these actors who has appeared in literally hundreds of TV shows and movies, but has rarely had an especially prominent role. You love to see fine actors who have paid their dues get a great role like this one. Ana Ortiz is hysterical as Betty's garish sister Hilda, but the person who steals nearly every scene in the Suarez household is twelve-year old Mark Indelicato, who plays Betty's nephew Justin. We don't know that Justin is gay, but his effeminate swagger, his deep love of stage musicals, and his encyclopedic knowledge of fashion marks him with all of the stereotypes.
This show is too smart to be a guilty pleasure, but it is just as much fun as one. It doesn't go on my list of my absolute favorite shows. It isn't as sophisticated or as intelligent as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, as engrossing as LOST, a fist-in-the-gut like DEXTER or THE WIRE, or as original or jaw-droppingly brilliant as BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, but sometimes you just aren't in the mood for something as heavy as these shows. Sometimes you just want to have a good time and relax. I promise there are few shows on television more perfect for that than this."
M. J. Walters | Chicago, IL USA | 08/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Comedies, while they are by definition amusing (or should be) are often so at someone's expense. I feared this would be true of Ugly Betty which I pegged as a one joke show and avoided for several weeks at the beginning of the season. I don't know why I began watching, but I'm thrilled that I did because I was dead wrong. This is no one trick pony, but rather an intelligent and very humane series which just happens to rely on some very sharp humor to make its observations about the human condition.
As we do in life, we meet new characters and see only the side of them they're willing to show to the world. Some you like instantly, some... not so much. But little-by-little, as you come to know each of them, you learn who they really are. The ugly jokes which persist on the surface become commentaries on those who make them. You may not like these people, but you understand something of what makes them tick, and in the end, you're pulling for them to grow, and change, and become better people.
Ugly Betty is blessed with a cast that is nothing short of brilliant. They are capable of both under and over-playing for effect, and sometimes leave me slack-jawed with admiration for their deft interpretations of the complexities of their characters. The scripts can move from mad to sad and back again in a matter of minutes, and while they're not without their flaws (The arc about Ignacio's amorous immigration officer thudded over all, though it did provide some very funny moments, and one which was tremendously touching.) they've been good enough that I would recommend the series to anyone."
The Best Show in YEARS!!!
W. Schultz | Detroit | 08/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I all but given up on primetime Tv, but Never say never they say. "Ugly Betty" got me from the first time I watched it. This show has Heart and soul, it's funny and sad at the time. The story line has twists and turns and the hour flies so fast! I am guessing most people that come to view this time will already be fans and I don't need to tell you how great this show is.
As for the 2 reviews I read that didn't like UB, well nothing is for everyone and lord knows there is plenty of TV I can't get into or dislike so to each his own, but Ugly Betty is the best show in years for my tv!"
Fantastic show - very funny and fun ;-)
Little Miss Cutey | Melbourne, Australia | 07/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ugly Betty is a show set around an 'unattractive' secretary at a fashion magazine. Based on the Colombian telenovela "Betty La Fea." It's excellent and I watch or tape it each week.
Betty works for Mode magazine (hired by the publisher of the magazine, to be his son's secretary because he knew she'd never someone his son (Daniel) would sleep with) - an upscale fashion magazine where being thin is the rule and dressing the part as important. It's obvious from the beginning that Betty doesn't fit the mold but she ploughs through anyway - sometimes wanting to pack it all in but she does hang in there.
It is definately the best new show of the season and won several Golden Globes and rightly so. America Ferrara (who I loved in Real Women Have Curves) does a fantastic job and while she may seem ugly (to some) in her physical appearance, she is the nicest staff member at Mode. Her hard work and determination earns her boss's respect. She is a caring, friendly girl who is dedicated to her job and her family and I love to watch her trials and tribulations each week. It's such a fun show that ultimately has a message that it isn't what's on the outside that counts (or shouldn't count). I think this is something that most people would really enjoy and get a laugh from and hopefully learn not to judge people harshly because of the way they look.