So, last night Ugly Betty premiered here in Oz. Personally, when it comes to new TV shows, I’m a hard sell. In fact, I hate TV so much at the moment that I hardly ever watch it anymore (how can I not hate TV when stupid TV execs do stupid things like cancel Stargate SG1, or Joss Whedon’s Firefly? Seriously people, what is wrong with you?). There are only a handful of shows I regularly tune into, and now I’m going to add Ugly Betty to their esteemed ranks. Want to know why?
Reasons Why Ugly Betty is Quite Obviously like a Romance Novel:
A) Betty – She’s the classic romance novel heroine. She’s not a 20 ft tall, emaciated walking skeleton, with plastic-surgery induced flawless beauty. No, she’s an actual woman. She’s of average height, she’s got breasts and hips, she’s voluptuous, and the total opposite of what our hero is used to. She has real problems, a real family, and is a very grounded, believable character. Ok, so the taste in clothes… eh, well, we all have our flaws.
B) The Hero – Meanwhile, Daniel is the classic romance novel hero. The handsome, rich son of a self-made millionaire. Sleeping with a different woman every night, as if that will bring some kind of fulfillment. Going along with the “let’s get Betty fired” plan, when deep down he actually feels really bad about it, because inside, he’s really a SNAG. Of course he hides his SNAG-iness since in his world, any sign of weakness is guaranteed to get him ground into the dust by the very pointy stiletto heal of his opponent, who I’m calling Evil-Barbie, since I can’t remember her name. Heck, Daniel even has the “I could never live up to my perfect brother, who’s now dead” thing going on. We all know that in actual fact, Daniel was the better man, because, well, he’s the hero.
C) The Confusing Attraction - Quite obviously, Daniel is confusingly attracted to Betty. There’s something about her, something different to all the other women he’s ever dealt with. At the moment, he doesn’t realize he’s attracted to her; he would probably more describe it as a “warped fascination” and “sincere gratitude for saving my ass.” Of course, as the show progresses, he’ll recognize it. He might argue with himself a lot, he might be horrified, or he might simply accept it. Who knows? That’s why I’ll be watching to find out.
D) The Obliviousness – At first Betty sees the Daniel everyone else sees. Spoiled, uncaring, man-ho that he seems, she’s only willing to put up with it coz, gosh-darn, this is her dream, and she needs money to help her family. Even after Daniel comes and gives her the “I can’t live up to my perfect brother and I’m going to lose my job and any iota of respect I might have thought I’d had” speech, Betty still only believes that she and Daniel have reached a mutual understanding of respect. And she will continue in this oblivious state until out hero works up the nerve to kiss her, after which she will be immediately thrown into an “OMG how did I not realize I love him?” condition.
So, as you can see, Ugly Betty is going to be one long romance novel as our Hero and Heroine face problem after problem together, all the while trying to work out what exactly is going on between them. If the show can keep it up convincingly, I’ll be along for the ride, because truthfully, this is the kind of plot I just can’t say no to.