Wednesday, January 17, 2007


A couple of days ago, I watched my first episode of Ugly Betty. It made me laugh and (almost) cry. Why hadn't I seen it earlier? Not like it hasn't been hyped enough. I find that I had missed it's first many weeks because it was up against Survivor, one of two relity TV shows that I watch with regularity. Here, then, is what I thought: "Oh no!"

What happens when Survivor returns? Will I abandon Betty? I don't think I will. Two reasons for this. First, to mymind Survivor is getting stale - I keep hoping for Survivor:Yukon or even Survivor: Badlands (Winter of course). Better yet, start them off with a plane ride from Honolulu so that they think it's a ride to some tropical island, then fly them North, way North: Survivor: North Pole Alaska. After all, let's get real. If you CAN'T survive on an island with a thousand fruit trees and with fish that jump into the canoe and give you cooking instructions, then...Well, I don't know what.

Survivor: Sahara. First reward challenge - all out brawl for a barrel of water. Anything to break the monotony.

Secondly, Ugly Betty has a set of fictional characters that I can learn to care about more profoundly than the supposedly real people on Survivor. Strange, no? But then, the way it is set up now, Survivor is constructed to bring out only one side of the contestants - for instance, their greed (or their competitiveness, etc). This isn't the way these people are in real life - it's just one dimension. One thing I enjoyed from the early Survivor seasons was the (too rare) occasions when the teams were asked to deliver supplies to an AIDS orphanage in Africa and stuff like that. You got to see a different side to these people. Plus, the huge money CBS, Mark Burnett, et al were making was being dripped into something that mattered, but that's a different essay.

Is it possible that Ugly Betty and shows like that will quash Reality TV? Imagine that - real TV that is more powerful than Reality TV.

All this made possible by the hiatus Survivor takes between seasons. By the way,what is up with the split season that so many shows are offering this year? Sounds like a perfect way to convince the audience that they don't need to watch the show - Also a good way to catch new shows - for instance, I might very well be switching from watching Lost to watching Heroes. Saw my first couple of episodes of that show as well.


Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

I think Betty works because of the contrast between the slick, fake, postmodern world she works in and the real, slightly old-fashioned, normal world she lives in. The two parts are done so differently-we no sooner begin to tire of one than we shift to the other. Plus, she's such a gifted center-like Carrie Bradshaw on Sex in the City. She holds it all together.

January 18, 2007 12:32 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hatadi said...

We're currently being inundated with ads for Ugly Betty. Personally I'm happy to see more fictional television. I'll have to check it out when it starts.

January 18, 2007 7:12 AM  

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