Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty) Mas Bella Update XXXIV--"Dame Chocolate" Edition

"Ugly Betty" continues to pull in good ratings as it enters more and more countries. This story shows it doing well in Canada, and things should get better once they get episodes like the one with Marc and his mom and the really nicely done "winning of one more race" by Alexis that was really a loss of everything she says she wants, acceptance by her brother. They're doing a good job with the show, but you don't need to be told that probably. . . . Of course, you also probably know by now that the show's been picked up by ABC already for next year. . . . This story on the pregnant Salma (!!!!) doesn't really cheer me up. Sure, turns out she studied international relations before turning to acting, but her "boyfriend" (and father of the child she's lugging around inside) turns out to be the 7th richest man in the world. Okay, my wife's safe for sure. I guess. . . . Interesting story on how there's developing a kind of secondary market for programs to be included as part of primary programming, with the model of "Ugly Betty"'s telenovelas as a major component of the overall show. Want to see the telenovela? Want to pay a small price to download it? See the possibilities? . . . This story says that "Ugly Betty" is "the most gay-friendly show in the history of broadcast television." Here's the best quote: "No, what makes the show so extraordinarily gay-friendly is that its sensibility is so gay — and not just its fashion sensibility. Every week, Ugly Betty delivers a message about self-acceptance and being true to oneself, and it reminds us that mere tolerance isn't enough. No, in Betty's world, true understanding and acceptance are what this show is all about." I wonder, though, if the writer making the "gayest" claim has ever seen "House Hunters" on HGTV. . . . And finally, something besides "Ugly Betty." I know I’ve harped for a long time about how “La Fea Mas Bella” long ago lost the sensitivity, spirit, and nuance, not to mention the actual plot, of its far-superior predecessor “Betty La Fea.” And I’ve heard some spoilers and it will get even worse before it’s over. However, if you want a bit of the sense of what “Betty La Fea” was about, I recommend a telenovela on Telemundo right now, just a couple of weeks in, called “Dame Chocolate.” It wouldn’t take you long to catch on to what’s happened (or have a clue about what’s going to happen), but the heroine, an even more fea fea than Betty La Fea, has the vulnerability and fragility that the remarkable Ana Maria Orozco had in the original “Betty” and that Angelica Vale, as good as she’s been, has never brought to “La Fea.” “Chocolate”s plot isn’t that deep, we know “Rosita Amado” (beloved little rose, awwww) will be bonitisima before it’s over, the hero is already far more sympathetic than either Armando or Fernando in “Betty” or “La Fea,” and yet the chemistry is good between the leads. If you can get past a “grandmother” who has the neck wrinkles of a 20-year-old (and, actually, some occasional, too graphic violence), I think you’ll find this one captures the spirit of “Betty La Fea” better than “La Fea” did or by any means does now.