I would have written about this on Thursday, but somehow I taped both eps of ‘Til Death instead of Ugly Betty. Good thing, too. My wife complains about my “wood pile” as well.
But, good ol’ ABC has managed to put Ugly Betty where it wouldn’t ever be seen– the SOAP network. And I managed to record it.
First, the Good: This show is a winner. ABC has gold on its hands, and I wonder if it knows it. The characters are 3-D, the humor is there, and there are outstanding performances. America Ferrera is great as Betty. Alan Dale shows up as Caleb! I mean, Bradford Meade. Essentially the same role he had in the O.C., but he nails the ruthless millionaire, as always. Eric Mabius (another O.C. alum) is good as the millionaire son with a heart of titanium. And it’s good to see Tony Plana has a steady job now, even if it’s a supporting role. Oh yeah, Vanessa Williams was in there too in an over-the-top fashionista.
The Bad: Some of the show was cliche (“You don’t have to fight to get your dad’s heart medication!”). Hey, you live in New York. You think you’d be able to find some government assistance nearby to shell the drugs to you.
The Ugly: Probably my biggest complaint– there are so many talented “ugly” actresses out there, why did they choose America Ferrera for the lead? I mean, look at her. She’s gorgeous sans makeup. Yes, she’s fuller-figured and not the normal Hollywood size 0, but she’s not ugly. By far.
Anyway, enough nitpicking. I said it lived and died on how it was initially received. Good news. “Ugly Betty” won its hour with a 17 share, although it didn’t capture the 18-49 demographic that advertisers crave. That went to CBS “Racist Survivor”. Oh wait. They’re not racist anymore. Gotcha. Betty needs to perform well through sweeps, though, to get a full-season pick-up. That’s going to be tough, but I think she’ll do all right against “Earl”, the “Office”, and playoff baseball.