It's been great being able to watch How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, The Office, Desperate Housewives and other shows each week rather than being forced to wait until they are available online. Just as I've gotten used to this, there's an announcement that one of my favourite shows, Ugly Betty, is on ABC's chopping block.
Apparently the network's plan is to stop airing the show at the end of March so they can show repeats of a show called Samantha, Who? (who indeed? has anybody ever heard of this show?) and a new sitcom called Motherhood. This decision is apparently supposed to help them compete with Amy Poehler's new show on NBC.
So instead of keeping with a wonderfully cast, written, and acted show with a solid fanbase, the network is putting it on hold.
I know that Ugly Betty isn't for everybody. It's quirky and weird and overly dramatic. The storylines aren't always realistic and their world is a colourful charicature of the real one. But it's always fun to watch. I've cried and laughed along with these stories and love following each of the main characters. At first, I thought the bottom line of this show was the message about beauty being on the inside (hence the show's title). After watching a few episodes, it was pretty clear that there is so much more. There are lots of layers in this show, from the superficial to the philosphical. Even the After-School Special Moments (usually featuring Betty and her family) are entertaining to watch.
One of the characters is a young boy, Justin, (Betty's nephew) who is obviously gay but doesn't seem to have come to terms with it. One of the recent episodes had a storyline about him and a guy he thought was a really close friend. He was just being himself, inviting his buddy to plays and talking about the theatre. The friend had a really hard time hanging out with Justin, but soon decided to ditch him when his jock pals made fun of him. The direction of this sub-plot was pretty obvious, yet brilliant acting made it heartbreaking to watch. Justin doesn't seem to understand how other people see him...
It's little sub-plots like this that keep me watching every week.
This show is not just about an unattractive girl trying to fit in. The other characters have a genuine affection for her. And as the seasons have rolled past, it's become less about her looks and more about the girl herself. The writers have developed a character that is both sweet and annoying, nerdy but clever, ugly but somehow beautiful.
I hope ABC does the right thing and re-considers this decision. If they drop Ugly Betty, I will be the first one to catch Amy Poehler and company on NBC.