Stay Tuned
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Apparently, I'm just getting too picky...

I’m apparently getting really picky…

All of the critics raved about “Ugly Betty,” and I liked it; but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into it enough to want to watch it again.

If you missed it, “Ugly” is the story of Betty (America Ferrara), a young woman from a working-class Hispanic family who dreams of a job at a serious magazine. But Meade Publishing’s owner, Bradford Meade (the wonderful Alan Dale), decides that Betty would be perfect as an assistant to his son, Daniel (Eric Mabius), because he wouldn’t want to sleep with her (because most people consider her ugly—thus, the title). The problem for Betty is that Daniel is the editor-in-chief of “Mode,” a magazine about fashion—which Betty knows nothing about.

So, of course, Betty is ridiculed by her fellow employees. Daniel tries to get her to quit—which she does—but then he feels guilty about it and gets her to help him one-up Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams), Daniel’s nemesis, who is angry about being passed over for the editor job. By the end of the episode, Daniel has discovered what we knew all along which is that Betty may not be a beauty queen on the outside (although I would not go so far as to call her ugly), she is a stunner on the inside.

Ferrara is perfectly cast as Betty, Mabius (last seen as the dean on “The O.C.”) is a total cutie as Daniel and Williams is really good as the witch. I also love the running joke of Executive Producer Salma Hayek as the star of the family’s favorite telenovela (Spanish soap opera). But the show just didn’t leave me wanting for more—and I don’t know why.

It may have something to do with the strange twist involving Wilhelmina. At the end of the episode, Wilhelmina met with a woman in bandages and traction about how they could stop Daniel and Betty. Presumably, the woman is the former “Mode” editor who was believed to be dead. I know “Ugly” is based on a popular telenovela, but that twist is a little too soap opera for me and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the show.

Plus, I can only take so many jokes at Betty’s expense. Yes, she has bad taste in clothes and wears braces—get over it!

Maybe the entire show just reminds me too much of high school…

But “Ugly” was not the only critics’ darling I couldn’t find myself getting into as “Friday Night Lights” also fell victim to my pickiness. It was just so earnest that it made me cringe.

For the record, “Lights” is the story of the Dillon High School Panthers as they begin their season under new head coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler). Football is life in Dillon, Texas, and there’s plenty of pressure on everyone.

The scenes with the overly involved boosters were fun (“You ever blitz an older woman?”), but so much of the show’s dramatic scenes came off as just corny. In one scene, a player urges on his teammates by saying, “Let’s touch God, boys.” And just about everything out of Coach Taylor’s mouth comes off as way too sentimental. It’s like the show is just trying too hard.

And it’s a tad predictable. I missed the first 15 minutes, but I still knew from the second I turned on the TV that the star quarterback was going to get hurt. And, of course, the unsure backup quarterback led the Panthers to a win.

As with “Ugly,” “Lights” is not a bad show, I just can’t find a reason to keep watching.

Apparently, I really am just getting too picky…

“Ugly Betty” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC. “Friday Night Lights” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.