Image via WikipediaImagine if Cinderella was a girl who worked in the office of a publishing magazine, forever waiting for her fairy godmother and her chance to meet prince charming.
That may be the gist of Ugly Betty, but its true beauty lies beneath its surface. Starring newcomer America Ferrera (from the The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants) as the title character Betty Suárez, the show sets itself apart from other shows by displaying an extremely broad sense of humour. But this is more of a dramedy than it is comedy, as Betty soon realises that she is in a difficult and testing world, being surrounded by chic, self-declared style gurus.
She may not live up to their standards of beauty, but as a person she may be the fairest in the land. This fact is discovered by her boss, editor-in-chief of MODE Magazine, Daniel Meade (played by Eric Mabius) who initially dismissed Betty as a nobody. But soon he begins to see her worth and decides to keep her around anyways. But not everyone takes a liking to Betty so easily, as is the case of receptionist and prankster Amanda Sommers (Becki Newton) and Marc St. James (Michael Urie), who try their best to humiliate Betty every chance they get.
The show is not an original, in fact it is adapted from a popular Columbian TV show, called “Yo soy Betty, la fea (I Am Betty, The Ugly One)”. The show has also been adapted as an Indian soap, “Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin” which also saw some success with our audiences.
Whatever the version, Ugly Betty is comedy show with an acute sense of humour laced with drama that will surely touch everyone’s hearts. Season one and two are now out on DVD but currently only the first season is available with special features.
(This review was published in the 12th June, 2008, edition of Dawn, The Review)