The thing about Betty Suarez is that she has everything I don’t. This girl has the chutzpah to get out of the house looking like she’s never seen a mirror, a comb, tweezers and a more flattering top – enough with the stupid vests, you’re not in Africa. She’s brave alright, but unless she’s going blind why can’t she pick up a thing or two from her fabulous sister, isn’t she supposed to be smart? Where is her self worth? Okay, maybe she’s a bigger person than that, but she must do her surroundings a favor and try not to astound everyone with how screwed her fashion compass is. She’s resilient alright but isn’t that just a load of false bravado, talk about existential courage. Furthermore, this girl knows how to put her boss in place – flash those big doggy eyes and see him pine for you. She makes tough love look easy to a man who can fire her so fast it can make her head spin. I swear luck is always a factor in her everyday life … try walking in my neighborhood (or any neighborhood in my country for that matter) looking like that and everyone will bluntly point that out to you. But I love Betty, she makes ugly interestingly and genuinely superficial.
Another character that interests me is Justin. This tweener is allowed to express himself to the extent that it becomes obnoxiously gay. His queerness is so profound and is fully acknowledged by his mother Hilda since he was three. Justin has never been in the closet but he sure knows the true meaning of being ‘out there’ – I’m a sailor who can tap dance – he quips explaining his costume for Halloween. His adult equivalent Marc, who works for the notoriously glamorous and foul Willie, is every girls dream BFF. The closeted son spreads his wings in Mode quite comfortably and gracefully earning him a major support in the movement of the story and serves as his boss’s conscience. Although he dejects Betty’s unsightliness, he has never been rude to her save when he calls her grandma. He has a love for delusion that his boss will ever share her luster with him. I like his nimble face and fluidity although I can do a little less of his loud colors.
Daniel, hmm. Where do I start? He is the son of a fashion magazine mogul who loves indoor sports. His vigorous womanizing stretches his memory so thin that he manages to forget whom he shagged last night. His life is given meaning through his father’s practical jokes which lives in a willing suspension of reality. He thinks that he can put Daniel in a hero’s journey in replacement of his dead eldest son Alex, and come out unscathed. Instead of signing the brilliantly effervescent Creative Director, Willie Slater played by Vanessa Williams – I love your vileness, I’m going to be like you when I turn 40 – Big Daddy signs his sexaholic son. The fight club is then set for claws, fangs, expensive suits and shoes. Although I’d rather have Daniel hand the thrown to Willie, I enjoy watching him fumble. Blind as a bat when it comes to making the proper move for Mode, he follows Betty’s drum in getting the magazine from point A to B stylishly. Talk about ironic. His charm kicks in not when he’s about to bed a woman but when he realizes the human in him, habitually presented by his mistakes.
What makes this dramedy so appealing is how ABC, the shows producers and writers were able to capture the magic of telenovela without going overboard – a.k.a. mushy, overacting, unrealistic, weepy and obnoxious. Knowing that the predominant American taste is still keen with the Latino formula of daytime shows, they stylishly treated it to what’s tasteful, up to date and squeezed it to primetime attracting the show to every household. Pegged from Colombia’s Betty La Fea, they were able to handle and control it by using their own original formula. The show allows us to observe what goes behind the lives of people we wish to be for a day. In all honesty, I would like to walk in Betty’s shoes only to feel how it is to be a savior of an empire. She manages to walk through fire and not get burned, at the same time be admired and valued by a seemingly unintelligent editor born to his job.
Then on the 19th episode, when my eyes were blood shot red, drunk with the story – minus the hilarity of alcohols side effects like falling off stairs – my player went kaput. It went “zzt zzt pfft” then stank with burned rubber. My helper Vanessa, found me in the couch frantically clicking the remote – play you stupid machine … don’t die on me – and yanked the cord off the socket. Fright was painted all over her face. I can’t blame her, there had been numerous reports of fire due to faulty electrical wirings but this will be the first time that a fire was instigated by Ugly Betty. She worried that the ever so loyal player and pondered how horrible it would have been if an inferno ensued. Me on the other hand, bitched about not finding out what will happen to Alexis, Ignacio, Willie, the abysmally dense editor in chief and yes of course the protagonist, Betty – honestly, the get up and braces I can digest. But those brows are hideous.
I looked at the clock to see if a shop is still open to sell me a cheap DVD player just so I can finish the last few episodes. The clock ticked to 9:30 and my wallet only has P75, so no new cheap player for me. I cursed via nonsensical words and stuffed the remaining French fries in my face. Soon after, I found myself hot and clammy – damn, why is the room tilting? Addiction. Terrible when that happens.
Afterwards, I stuck my head to the window and yelled, “Anton! Gusto mo ng pizza? Peram ng player!”(Anton! You want Pizza? Can I borrow your DVD player?). A disembodied voice answered, “Nanonood ako ng Heroes!(I’m watching Heroes!)”