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Ugly Betty: Season 1 Review

Posted by tvondvdcritic on November 25, 2007

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When Ugly Betty first came out on tv last fall, from the looks of it I thought it was gonna be a cute, mildly funny show with stand alone episodes but no great depth. I watched the first episode on tv and liked it. I thought America Ferrera as Betty played a great character, but I still felt the show was a bit campy and over the top. I decided to not watch any more until the DVD came out, and after watching the entire season I see that I was wrong on many levels. The show DOES have emotional value, good continuing storylines, characters you actually care about and Ferrera only gets better and better as the show goes on.

 Betty Suarez gets a job at a fashion magazine called ‘Mode’. She becomes the assistant to the editor in chief Daniel Meade. On Betty’s first day on the job, she meets her fellow co-workers, all of whom fit the mold of working at a fashion magazine, something Betty does not do, as you can tell from her colorful poncho. There’s Amanda, the slutty receptionist, Marc, the loveably evil festive assistant to Wilhelmina. Speaking of evil, Wilhelmina wrote the books on it.

Wilhelmina is the creative director to the magazine, and the women who was expected to inherit the editor in chief position. When she doesn’t receive it, her and Marc cook up plans to bring the magazine down from the inside so that she can reign as the woman who saved Mode.  Throughout the season we see attempts from these two to make their way to the top, and I must say it’s probably one of my favorite storylines. Vanessa Williams plays Wilhelmina wonderfully, and Marc is delightful as the gay assistant, who happens to be best friends with Amanda (more on her later).

Betty awkwardly situates herself into Mode throughout the first several episodes, getting harrassed by Marc and Amanda, and several embarrasing situations in between. She settles into her assistant position, still without respect from anyone, even her boss Daniel, but does her job well, keeping her dignity, or trying to at least.

Betty’s homelife plays a huge part in the show. She lives with her Father, Sister and Nephew in a modest home in Queens New York. Throughout the season Betty also has an on and off relationship with Walter, who dumped her in the first episode, but yet she takes him back several episodes later (Hated that. You can do better Betty!). Not much better though, as later on in the season she falls for an accountant at work, who like Walter, was on again off again, and of course, Betty went running to him. I guess you could say I didn’t like her love triangle storylines, only because she seems smart enough to not take these guys back after what they do to her.

 As the season progresses, Betty gets more confidence, a tad bit more respect, and saves the day on more than one occassion. The interaction between Betty and Marc is always great as with her and Amanda. I will say that Marc and Amanda were my two favorite characters on the show. Both deliciously evil, but yet so likeable. And even more impressive, you actually felt for these people even if they are up to no good. The strength this show has is just that, character development. It does a wonderful job to keep the episodes simple, but yet continue the storyline throughout the season, and gives us a lot of depth for each character. That scores high in my book.

I enjoyed it very much. I liked it much more than I thought I was going to. There’s enough surprising moments (gender bending, shocking inheritances, and alcoholic Mothers), enough touching moments (Marc’s coming out to his mother, Betty’s humiliations, and Wilhelmina’s attempt at being a Mother) and enough funny moments (Marc’s Betty screensavers, Amanda’s acting audition reel, and Betty’s nephew, Justin).

A great show, great cast. Can’t wait for season 2 to come out.

Score: 8/10

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