Last night I wanted to watch TV, but 24 and House weren’t on, so I settled by flipping back and forth between Man vs Wild and Ugly Betty.
Man vs Wild is an acquired taste. On the one hand, Bear Grylls is very attractive. On the other hand, he eats termites. Last evening’s Mt Kilauea episode apparently was a re-run but I wanted to see him walking on lava fields.
I had never watched Ugly Betty before, and years ago I only saw a few minutes of Betty la fea (yes, that means Ugly Betty), the original soap on which it’s based.
The original Betty la fea character was in much uglier disarray that Ugly Betty, but after a makeover that took months, she got the guy at the end. Betty la fea was the usual ugly-duckling/Cinderella story but it was so successful across Latin America that the Colombians did another ugly duclking/Cinderella soap with a guy, Pedro el escamoso (which I would translate as Geeky Pete, instead of the more literal Creepy Pete). The guy playing Pedro wore a mullet, created a dance that became a fad, and got the girl at the end.
Pedro had four things in his favor: he was in great shape, had a truly beautiful voice, he was a good man, and he was really funny – a lethal combination in any guy. One’s willing to overlook a mullet. His fans certainly did.
Since nothing exceeds like excess, Germany, Holland, India, Mexico, Russia, the USA, and Spain came up with their own versions of girls wearing orthodontia and eyeglasses.
Which comes to show you the universality of a cliche.
But back to Betty: I actually liked the program. This Betty is young, and homely (due in great part to her clothes and hairdo), but is a good role model for young girls.
1. Betty loves a guy that doesn’t love her back. That’s the existential crisis of every teenager. In last night’s episode she finally figured out that trying to be his friend that tags along while he goes on a date with someone else is not a good idea.
The good thing about it is, she stopped that, and she was fine.
2. Betty helps other people do the right thing. The show is not preachy, and indeed Betty arrived at that moment after much meandering. But she knew what the right thing was, and she was able to bring around the other character to turn herself to the police.
3. Betty has good friends, and a good family. They’re Mexican but they don’t sound like “dees”; they say “these”. They are fully integrated into American society, another excellent thing.
4. The show pokes fun at fashionista slaves while at the same time showing what really looks good.
How does this relate to Bear? I’m not quite sure yet, but you can order his t-shirts for $39. Just don’t go walking on the lava fields.
Update A Bear fan emailed asking for a YouTube:
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