So, I watched the entire first season of "Ugly Betty" on DVD in the last couple of weeks, and definitely fell in love with it. At first I thought it was campy and sweet, but that there wasn't enough there to keep viewers interested for much longer than the novelty would have lasted. Now, having completely caught up with all of the episodes, I have added it to my list of weekly must-see shows. The show strikes such a great balance between hyperbole and approachability, and I think that is incredibly difficult to do.
My favorite relationships on this show are the ones between Amanda and Marc, Hilda and Justin, and Daniel and Betty, in that order. Of course, as a devoted 'hag, I think that the catty back-and-forth between Amanda and Marc is just the sort of thing that my 'mo and I could aspire to have one day. Even though Justin is a pretty uninteresting caricature most of the time, it is very refreshing to see how his whole family treats him with respect, and Hilda portrays a very sympathetic mother character, which I don't think is really that present on primetime. The relationship between Daniel and Betty is flat at some points, but it seems like it may be one of the strongest ones on the show - despite everything Daniel does, Betty is there for him, and there are moments (like on tonight's episode), when Daniel notices Betty's lucky sweater and is a true friend to her at Mode. (Also in tonight's episode: the recurring appearance of John Cho!)
So, I know that critics have already heaped praise on this show's treatments of homosexuality, transsexual issues, body image / beauty, and race, and I am totally behind all of those accolades. But mostly I admire how the show creates incredible microcosms that fit really well together, and I am always entertained whether the plot has taken us from Mode to Queens to the green screens of New York. Also, the season 1 finale was so perfectly crafted...maybe I'm just a sucker for West Side Story, but the closing set piece was so good, I could only appreciate it with the knowledge that I could immediately go online and see what happened next! So I figured if my latest guilty pleasure Gossip Girl could get its own blog post, then this great show could too. Right now, I'm really looking forward to Marc's character growing up, as he has totally won my heart with all of his fabulous facets.
On a smaller side-note, I did want to say that I am glad The Office is back to its half-hour length - for the time being. I do think that it has the potential to be able to carry an hourlong time slot, as long as it doesn't sacrifice character continuity for sensational episode ideas. Kudos to last week's writer Paul Lieberstein (the incredible HR guy Toby), whose first time direction was magnificent. As for tonight's episode, it was heartfelt and simple like Office episodes of yore, and I think that had a lot to do with the episode's length. There was just enough material without distracting us. Other than the amazing musical stylings of Darryl (f. Creed, Kevin, Kelly, and Andy), I also want to point out the hot advertising guy with the beard...IMDb isn't giving me any clues as to who he is, and I'm curious!