Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boop-boop-a-don't care, Dept.

Hey, late July already? I guess I was in that parallel universe longer than I thought! Ha ha!

But seriously...a brief note that, if you've never watched Ugly Betty or if you have watched it but haven't felt compelled to spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing it, you will not in any way hurt my feelings if you ignore:

Does anyone else think that Ugly Betty has jumped not only the shark but a pod of whales and possibly some whelks, to boot?

Rule Number One of Television Comedy: the boy/girlfriend is hardly ever interesting when the romantic interest is a mid-run throwaway.
Sam and Diane? Interesting.
Maddie and David? Interesting.
Joel and Maggie? Interesting.
Jim and Pam? Interesting.
Why? Because the writers conceived of the relationship as a meaningful part of the characters' overall narrative trajectory.

By contrast:
Phoebe and whatever-Paul-Rudd's-character-was-called? Flat.
Ross and the black paleontologist? Flat.
Monica and Chandler? Ugh.
(And, yes, I watched Friends long after the shark was a tiny dot on the horizon.)

So, now, Betty's dating self-effacing, sensitive, dark-good-looks, wanting-to-be-loved-for-himself-not-his-money Richie Rich-guy. But she's not just dating him. Entire shows are dedicated to him, to them, to him again. And, frankly, I don't watch the show to see Betty find fulfillment. She's sexless and controlling and stunted, and, quite frankly, I was not looking forward to the long string of episodes wherein the Dorky Duckling would emerge as a Hot Latina Swan. (And, really, she's supposed to be so clever--why the frack has she dressed from Episode the First like a shitbomb in a Goodwill dumpster? Are we to understand that she's brilliant and insightful but hasn't figured out that she looks like she's trapped on the Fashion Short Bus?)

No, I watch UB for Amanda and Marc and Hilda and Justin (if they make that child any gayer, he will vanish in a swirl of glitter and Gautier) and Suzuki St. Pierre and all the other krazy kharacters. I don't care if Betty gets laid or finds happiness or becomes a writer. She's just not that interesting. She's the tofu burger we dress up with toppings, yes?

So, I've given up on her with the last three episodes of this season unwatched on the DVR. No, no...don't try to talk me out of it. I'm trying to wean chez sobsister off the glass teat (thank you, Mr. Ellison), and watching underperformers just encourages writers and show runners to get lazy.

Now, The Middleman: The Complete Series is just out on DVD. That, my friends, as you have read me say, is television. Not a shark for miles. Helped by the fact that it shut down for no apparent reason after two seasons. But neveryoumind. Rent it, buy it, download it (legally) and yell "YES!" to good television.

I thank you.

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