By Tim Parks
So, it’s Dong iwoti (that’s the Ugandan word for “go well” and not something you would buy at an adult toy store, mmmkay) to “Ugly Betty” and it’s a damn shame if you ask me. Oh, you didn’t? Well who asked you anyway? Never mind. I’m just upset that I have once again vested time and energy into a television family, only to have them leave the air, with nary a turning off of a light switch and a wistful look around a familiar place, ala the trend Mary Tyler Moore started in 1977.
Now, it’s just another program gone too soon…cheerio, buh-bye, toodles.
And it’s just ironic, since the show was so easy to say hello to in 2006. What could have been nothing more than a pale Devil Wears Prada knock-off turned into an instant favorite for gay and straight audiences alike.
Sure “Betty” stumbled a bit in her third season, like a baby drag queen trying on her first pair of cha cha heels, but I blame Lindsey Lohan for that…what’s so special about her as a guest star? Also, the series walked into some NYC-based plotholes with back-and-forth arcs, Betty lives at home, she moves out, she moves back in, she moves out again.
ABC certainly didn’t help matters when they sent her to TV purgatory – Friday nights – for the fourth season. Even when they tried to make it right by moving her to Wednesday nights, apparently, the damage had been done in their eyes, and they dropped the axe on her. Tina! Bring me the axe! Bitch, give that back, you stay away from Betty! Sorry, just channeling my inner Hilda (Ana Ortiz).
First, they yanked “Pushing Daisies” off the air and now this? What’s next? Are they going to cancel “Brothers & Sisters” because Sally Field is aging naturally?
I was just kidding, all-powerful ABC, I’ll be good!
I was kind of surprised that I did not hear word one about a “S.O.S. (Save Our Show)” campaign aimed at keeping it from an eternity of reruns…on the TV Guide network. The TV Guide network? On second thought…that’s really TV purgatory.
Anyhoo, in the parting is such sweet sorrow aspect of “Ugly Betty’s” cancellation and its swan song last month; let’s take a gander at what will make it missed. Roll the clips. I don’t actually have clips, just use your imagination…or go onto YouTube. Geez…do I have to tell you everything?
The Good, The Bad, & The Betty
Ok, here’s the deal with my “Ugly” love affair, and you must not tell a soul, but…I am cheating on “Betty.” Eww, not like that, as it denoted sex with a person of the lady variety! I mean that America Ferrera’s character is not my favorite on the show. Yes, I like the whole underdog-makes-good aspect of Ms. Suarez, but there are other colors that have been brighter for me in the “Betty” tapestry, or poncho.
This brings us to my favorite person in the haute couture stratosphere of Mode magazine, “The Amanda,” who has provided too many one-liners to count. From the first time we saw her behind the desk at the fashion magazine, and she phonetically asked Betty if “she was de-liver-ing some-thing,” gay audience radar was most likely pinging all over the place about Becki Newton.
And the pings would continue all through season one and beyond, as her minor character developed into a majorly funny beeyatch. Still, there was a vulnerability to her, as was evidenced in my favorite Ms.Tanen thing of all time, when she shows her cohort Marc
(Michael Urie) her acting reel, which includes a commercial for a chat line, and most memorably, a medieval-themed restaurant. I drove my friends (yes, I do have them!) nuts with the incessant repeating of “kids under 12 eat free on Sundays.” Gonna miss you most of all, girl.
Speaking of girls, as in Marc, I will also grieve the loss of the best comedic TV duo since Jack and Karen on “Will & Grace,” but not his outfits. Did he dress in the dark a lot? You could say a drinking game based on his outlandish apparel would have been a good thing…but then, you’d be stricken with alcohol poisoning by episode’s end. Still, we are losing a TV gay – can I get a moment of silence, please?
Plus, we are also down the gayest kid on TV, ever! I am so glad that Justin (Mark Indelicato) wasn’t given the proper send-off into the big, pink world with an aborted “You’re gay and that’s o.k.” coming out party this season. But, did he have to come out? There was an episode, oh, around the second season or thereabouts, where he had the Christmas lights stashed in his closet, because he made a disco in it. Hello! Besides, having a fab mom like Hilda would seem to make the process that much easier.
Actually, we are losing one of the queerest shows in history…who can forget Rebecca Romijn as Alexis, the brother-turned-sister of Daniel (Eric Mabius), or an entire episode built around the musical Wicked? Gay with a capital G.
When you think about it (and trust me, I have) we are also losing the closest successor to “Dynasty” that TV has seen in quite a spell. For all of you kids that was a show about rich people, backstabbing and catfights, and Vanessa Williams’ Wilhelmina Slater was very on par with Joan Collins as Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan, which was illustrated in her water smackdown with Claire (Judith Light) this year. It also answered a burning age old TV question of “Who’s The Boss,” suck on that, Tony Danza’s career.
Cut.Print.That’s A Wrap!
In a nutshell, the show will always remain in our hearts. Besides, there are already rumblings of a big screen version being developed. Note to the creators, don’t pull a “Sex and the City” move and wait until “Betty” is a candidate for AARP, k? Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s fit to print.
This article was first published in May 2010.