Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty) Mas Bella Update XVII

Before moving to Fernando on "La Fea Mas Bella" (the current remake of the classic "Betty La Fea"), a few notes on ABC's coming version, "Ugly Betty." The NY Times has run another article, giving credibility to the reports that ABC was really trying to sell the show. It also appears that the ABC version will give Betty a harpy sister and a "cool" nephew. Whatever. Didn't see the point in dumping her mother and making her papa a widower. Not promising, but we'll hold off judgment. Maybe the neatest news (did that sound too '60s?) is that Betty Suarez will apparently have a website. That could be a very interesting and useful tie-in.

Enough series-to-be. Let's talk series-that-is. You're beginning to see the transformation of Fernando from swan to duckling) that I've mentioned before. This story really is two-in-one, both mirror images of how two people have to transform themselves through their effect on each other before either is right for the other. Betty's/Lety's change is the hand the magician is showing you. Fernando's is what the magician is doing with the hand you're not watching.

It's a tough part to pull off. The hero here is such a hard guy to like because of what he's doing, really, not Mario/Omar dillweed territory, thank goodness, but still spoiled, callow, "cool," and macho in the bad Latin way. He's had a charmed life and good looks, and the start of the show shows you where it's gotten him--inheriting a position in the family firm he's not ready for and an engagement to the "right" woman whom he really doesn't love. But in his misuse and betrayal of Betty/Lety, Armando/Fernando finally begins to see what he is.

It's not pretty right now, and it gets worse, and more brutal, once Betty/Lety comes down on him. But it's necessary, cathartic. Like the Marines and their recruits, he has to be broken down before the better him, the one feeling the pressure of his father's confidence, the one able to see himself in the thugs who bedevil Betty/Lety (and Nicolas/Tomas), is able to come out, hoping for a chance to show his true beloved that he's really changed. It calls for some superior acting, not just from the leads but also eventually from Marcela/Marcia, as I noted in an earlier post. Despite my early misgiving, I have confidence now in all 3 actors to pull it off.

So sit back. The fists haven't stopped flying, and not in a good way. This is where the show grows pretty dark, but the end is bright, I promise.