Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ugly Betty and an aside on American Idol*****

I love this show and yay for the two Golden Globes! (and how much does America rock?? Even the fuggers were kind) Ugly Betty can at first glance appear "silly" but behind the silliness there are real issues addressed in a nonconfrontational manner to an audience who may not have ordinarily considered issues such as illegal immigration, the unrealistic expectations of beauty pushed upon us by the media, feeling like the odd one out, sticking to your ethics despite pressure, the value of family and the struggles to balance cultures are all dealt with an emotional sincerity that is touching, endearing and utterly lacking in television today (Free full episodes online if you want to get on board). Now the fun stuff: the story lines! If you watch please share your thoughts! (If you don't watch there are spoilers though its not a thriller type of show so you're not ruining it for yourself if you do end up reading)

Betty's love drama Walter cheated on her and dumped her and gets her back? I know he's sweet and seems to adore Betty and though he whines quite a bit about her job he eventually comes around but he seems the sort of guy who'll only bring her down in the end. What really gets to me is Hilda, Betty's sister is pressuring her to make this work. She lied to Henry when he called saying Betty wasn't home and threw his number away! Who is she to meddle like that? I understand its scary to see your sister who you love throw away a "good opportunity" but isn't Betty worth more? Does Hilda think she's too ugly to find a better catch? Why won't they give her the benefit of the doubt? And isn't Henry just fabulous and don't they have great chemistry? I hope the misunderstanding at the Christmas party when she thought he kissed a model (which he wasnt, she kissed him) will get cleared up very soon!

Wilhelmina. Yes, she has evil tendencies, but can you blame her for being angry? She's more capable than Daniel but got passed over due to nepotism. She also knows the curious circumstances behind the former editor's disappearance and the shadiness of Daniel's father. So I'll see how this story develops to truly understand the depths of her wickedness. She showed her sweet side by reaching out to her daughter and passing up a fabulous Gucci party to bake a turkey much to her consternation. I feel so bad about her broken heart. Love made her so sweet and happy. She was about to put an armadillo up on display people! In Wilhelmina land that is the mark of true love. And he knew it wouldn't work beacuse he was married! What a jerk for breaking a heart that was frozen in frost for so many years.

Salma Hayek. I loved her, now I hate her. My jaw was hanging after last week's episode and her evil back stabbing. I didn't realize she was lying to Daniel though in retrospect its ludicrous to think she would have dumped such a perfect guy who she had been dating for years who was on the verge of proposing for Daniel Meade a known philanderer who she barely knew. She is correct that he has broken women's hearts but these women mostly knew what it was about. He never asked them to propose. She intentionally led him on and met his family and tricked him into proposing only to break his heart on national television! And she USED Betty. I can forgive many things but cannot forgive her taking Betty as her pawn in her sick publicity stunt. Now I'm afraid Daniel will blame her for the backstabbing leaving her jobless. And can she get her job back considering Amanda has it now? Also, did you notice in last week's episode that Daniel's mother said something about Salma being heir to a fortune which Salma denied vehemently? I'm starting to wonder if there is more to that story now.

The AI aside: Watching today made me feel sick. Part of the show's charm is the laughing at bad singers who think they are good but the truth is these people auditioned at least twice before meeting the judges and so they think they are good enough when they meet the judges. But today I felt very queasy watching because today on the second half of American Idol they had two boys on who clearly were mentally challenged or had some sort of special needs and my heart broke. These boys had no chance to make it so clearly they were sent through the prior rounds because the producers felt they would make good television. I dont think making fun of the handicapped is funny and encouarging the handicapped to humilate themselves (by putting them after through two rounds of screening auditions) is cruel.

**********Ugly Betty: Okay I just watched last night's episode online and a few questions 1) Is Amanda now totally evil? That makes me sad. 2) ALEXIS???? That is Daniel's brother??? I knew Rebecca Romign would be in this episode bc her name showed up as part of the CAST (not a guest appearance) but I thought she'd be Fey after a reconstructive surgery, not a MAN! WOAH.

30 comments:

Cylinda said...

Yay for Ugly Betty!!! I totally agree with your comments about all of the themes of the show and how they are themes not usually tackled by network television...I'm so glad this show has really found an audience, I think many of these themes resonate with most people, no matter what sort of background you come from. On a personal level I am also happy to actually have a positive portrayl of a hispanic family on network tv (oh, who am I kidding...I'm happy to have ANY portrayl of a hispanic family on tv, beyond George Lopez, whose show I've never really found that funny....)

I totally agree about Henry too! I love Betty and Henry together. I was so upset with Hilda for ditching his message. Yen and I were discussing it (she's addicted too) and we decided that Hilda is reacting partly from her own experience with Santos. Even though Walter is an annoying and whiny loser (just my opinion...) he's a "known" quantity, and he honestly cares for Betty (despite the whole cheating thing, which I still think her family was too quick to forgive....). Whatever Walter's faults, he'd never treat Betty like Santos treated Hilda, and I think that's why Hilda wants them together. Henry is scary because he's an "unknown", and protective Hilda doesn't like that for Betty.

Ahh...such a great show. I love all of the characters (except for Bradford...I find his story line boring...). Oh, and Sofia, after she turned all evil. Although I love Salma Hayek. Although I was glad for the evil story line becuase I thought the writing of Sofia's character was really inconsistent, which was annoying (especially since the rest of the show was so well written), and I'm glad that it wasn't inconsistent writing, it was just a manipulative and conniving character :-)

I could go on and on, but I'll stop now :-) Besides saying I love Mark and Amanda (especially Amanda!) They're so shallow and campy and sometimes evil, but I can't help but love them anyway!!!

Neelam said...

Hi! I've long been a lurker to your awesome blog. Just thought I would finally post because I love "Ugly Betty" too.

I could not believe last week's twist ending. This show was the first time I ever started to appreciate Selma Hayek, because her character was so supportive to Betty, and I think Selma is awesome to help get the show on the air by signing on as an executive producer. After last week's episode, though, I think I still like and respect Selma, but I hate and loath Sofia. So much conniving, resulting in so much heartbreak, is really hard to forgive. (But very entertaining.)

I guess her manipulations seem so aweful because I feel so bad for Daniel! He is such a terrific person, and a great boss to Betty. But I guess in the grand scheme of the show it makes sense for him and Sofia to break up as a couple-- Daniel is more flawed and interesting as a philanderer than a lovesick puppy-dog. Also, I kinda want him with Betty, though I know it's a long shot. But just think about it--Daniel and Betty would make an awesome power couple. They would use their power for good. =-)

Ayesha said...

don't watch UB but i do AI, and agree with you about those two kids ("bush baby???" to the kid's FACE???). and others. i really enjoy the talent that comes out of the show, but the one thing i hate about all reality shows is the lowness they pander to. so i am eager for the part when they get to hollywood... actually i am just eager for Lost to come back on!

ABCDlaw said...

I Love Ugly Betty too! The show is so sweet and has great preformances by the entire cast. Becky Newton was awesome as Sofia's "ugly" assisstant don't you think?

About AI, I was never a fan and though the whole concept of "discovering the next idol" was a sham. I feel that anyone whose parents spend money and get them singing lessons at a young age can be trained to be a good singer. Invest some money into their appearances and you've got yourself a superstar. Making fun of those not talented is just cruel and those kids you mentioned really didn't deserve the ridicule thrust upon them by AI, and for what a few cheap laughs at their delusion? It really is sick and I'm not amused.

Aisha said...

Cylinda! Thanks for commenting :). You raise a really good point of Hilda's motivation for Betty to stick with Walter as opposed to Henry. But I would think after being hurt she would know better than to let her sister get involved with a guy who has cheated on her and thus should not so easily trusted. I mean, I know people who cheat can reform, but you are right, the family was VERY quick to forgive him. And I LOVE Amanda and Mark they are a blast!! Esp Mark, he's a trip, like when told Betty's little nephew that he should be proud of who he is and to be himself but to just learn to run really fast :). And yes its nice to see a hispanic family on TV being a family and being just normal. Though I was curious if it offended you b/c one of my friends is hispanic and found the portrayal offensive with all the sterotypes..? I didnt get that at all b/c its a comedy so ofcousre some things are exxagerated? And ys the Lopez dude is totally unfunny :)

Neelam thanks for delurking! :) I forgot the name of Salma's character which is why I said I hat Salma. I dont hate Salma, I hate Sofia:) lol. Daniel is a nice guy but I wonder if he's changing because of Betty since they did show him being quite a jerk to her in the start. But he did nothing wrong to Sofie so she had no way to convince herself what she did to him was okay. Do you rally want hi with Betty??? I heard on Betty la fea, the spanish vrsion Betty does hook up with the boss, but I dont see it here because she looks lik a little girl on the show! America Ferrera is gorgeous in real life but on the show she is cute and child like while Daniel seems like a man. I have a hard time seing it but perhaps the storyline will devlop to make it more plausible?

Ayesha yeah it can be embarrasing for me when I see ppl make fools of themselves but at the same time many know full well they ar awful and just praying for their 5 sconds of fame :). I dont watch Lost, I was going to start but I heard its not good anymore that they are dragging storylins out??

Abcdlaw, the other assistant was hilarious but im glad betty wont be working there b/c I think her eagerness would have gotten too much, lol!! And regarding AI, Yeah... I feel they show mor worse singers now than the actual good ones.. its frustration.

Tee said...

EXCELLENT rundown on Ugly Betty. You summed up everything that has been going on beautifully and really showed how well rounded the charaters are. You know I LOVE this show more than any show in history. It gives me so much hope for women and media.

As for American Idol - I also felt completely nauseous. I couldn't even make it through the first night. Didn't even try to watch the second.

They've taken things too far. These are people who are seriously being taken advantage of. The judges are acting like a snobby popular clique at school, laughing at people right to their faces and being cruel. This season is worse than seasons before. I was really shocked.

The way some of these people cried I wouldn't be surprised if they commited suicide. One kid was only 16 years old. Don't you remember how emotionally vulnerable you were at that age? Can you imagine?!
I'm not watching American Idol this year. They totally disgust me.

Aisha said...

Tee you are completely right. This season is worse than seasons bfore. I wasn't sure bcause i havent really watched ni th past but the bits and pices I wuld catch here and there didnt sem this bad. First of all, the 16 year old you ar talking about, was he the juggler? Kashif actually felt a bit emotional about it. He is a child and they ripped him to shreds saying he was the worst and represented why MN sucked. I couldn't belive it. And the way he cried. i was surprised Fox would air that because it really made the judges look like giant asses. Also, I think that making fun of apperances is way mean and I agree they are behaving like a rude highschool clique. They are more than half the age of some of thse children and they are being cruel. Yes this is how it is in the industry but let's be real: most of these kids would nver be able to step foot in a recording studio execs office to b spken to so cruelly. They are here for ratings and otherwise they would never have been on television and that is wrong!!!! And you know the montage they do at the end. I think its wrong too. The "dont you think your grlfrind is hot like me" montage they did was bad. I realized that they ask the contestants to sing these songs and thse are not the contestsants choic when I saw past singers who sang other songs singing this particular song. So they did it for humor at the expense of the contestants. I dont think I will be watching again.

Huda said...

I'm sorry, but I don't think Walter is sweet. I think he's neurotic and clingy and assholish... because I don't really care what Gina did to you, Walter, the fact remains that you dumped Betty for a "hotter" girl the first second you could. Betty can do way, way better than him.

As far as Hilda is concerned, this Mode job is taking Betty away from everything she's ever known. That's not always a bad thing, but I can see Hilda worrying that she's going to lose her sister, or that her sister will get hurt, so chaining her to something "homegrown" like that toadstool Walter is a way to keep her close.

It's a great show. :)

Tee said...

The juggler kid was who I was referring to. How heartbreaking. If I was his mother I would have gone in there and told Simon a thing or two. How dare he! It totally shocks me too that any of those judges pick on someone's looks. Simon looks like a pathetic midlife crisis kind of prick who buys a convertible to make up for his "shortcomings".

Paula, I used to like but I'm seriously disappointed in her. Did you see the interview where she was high as a kite? Really shocking. She needs to be honest with herself and the audience. She's not a role model anymore and needs to get to rehab.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF_QNaDaFzQ

Randy (Dawg! - So annoying), is a total wannabe.

Then there was this one girl who was from Columbia just like Shakira (same city even), and had her hair the same way, etc and wasn't a great singer. She was OK, but not fantastic. They passed her through just because of the way she looked. I guarantee if she had been fat, or just average looking - no golden ticket. THAT pisses me off.

Whew! And that's how I REALLY feel. LOL. Your post just showed 2 examples - one is the best of TV today and the other is the worst.

Tee said...
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mommamu said...

I thought I ws the only one who noticed that a few of the contestants were a bit limited mentally-and believe me I can spot it (I'm a special ed teacher)! That really pissed me off too. Glad, I'm not the only one!

Mia said...

America Ferrera is fantastic in every thing she does I loved her in Real Women Have Curves but I don’t watch Ugly Betty because seriously as a Latina I find the show to be offensive. The telenovela on which the show is based “Betty La Fea” was much better. But then again if the powers that be in Hollywood had left out the stereotypes I probably would’ve died of shock.


As for AI I never watch the auditions I can’t stand when they put down the contestants. Seriously I’m too sensitive for that. My friends were talking about this morning about how brutal they were on the contestants. I guess it really does make for good television but I prefer to change the channel.

Cylinda said...

As an aside (since you asked :-) no, I'm not at all put off or offended by the portrayal of the Suarez family. It seems very familiar to me, and fairly accurate without being stereotypical, I think. Although by no means is it a mirror-image of my family (or the many other Hispanic families which I know), many aspects of their family are comfortingly familiar to me (albeit with a Queens twist which seems utterly foreign to me :-)

boba said...

ugly betty started here in the uk two weeks ago. i am totally addicted. it rocks. cant wait for tonights episode!

Aisha said...

Whoops been crazy busy today sorry for the late respones.

Huda- I'm glad that Daniel pointed out in this one that Henry is a good guy and clared up the misundrstanding. Here's hoping that Walter is history. Which I think he is since I see him on another show now.

TEE, I saw that video just now. YIKES! She is crazy! That is sad because I used to really idolize her as a kid because she was the only celeb with a name that sounded at all arabic :).

Mommamu I also did spcial ed and it was very obvious. Poor kids... :(

Mia. I find it interesting that you and Cylinda both have different takes on it as far as being offended from the view point of a hispanic. I wonder Mia if you are mor offended b/c it represents new york hispanic people and therefore you feel you are captured under this net as well? I hope that did not come out offensive, I'm curious because my other friend who was offended grew up in NY... that may just be a coincidence though.

Boba! It gets betteR!!

Cylinda said...
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Cylinda said...

Responding to your update...

I'm not giving up on Amanda....I think she shows she can (sometimes) have good instinctual reactions. After all, it was her first reaction to stick up and protect Daniel. She's just too susceptible to Mark's evil influence :-) (and made all the more vulnerable to this influence by Daniel's past treatment of her....). I love her to much to think she's completely irredeemable.

We (Yen & I) both figured it was going to turn out to be Alex under the wraps. They were just mentioning it too much, and Fey was too obvious. It'll be interesting to see where they go from here!

And as a final note, I'd be interested to hear more about what in the portrayal of Betty's family comes across as stereotypical to people offended by it. To me, there's a fine line between authenticity and stereotyping (I mean, after all, stereotypes do come from SOMEWHERE), and I think UB does a pretty good job of staying on the right side of the line. But obviously that's just me. I just wonder what specifically offends people? Of course, I also think Mark is totally hilarious, and I love him, but i DO think he represents a fairly stereotypical portrayal of a gay man. But (as a gay person myself, although not a man :-) I'm not in the least bit offended by it. I think it's good to have a sense of humor about yourself, and I don't think it's always a bad thing when stereotypes are used to get laughs, so long as the audience ends up laughing with you, not AT you. If that makes any sense :-)

Aisha said...

Cylinda, I knew something had to be up with Alex since he came up so much in conversation but I still didn't get it :) I guess thats why you're on Law Review and I stand by the corner of the room with the dunce cap. ;-) I am actually quite happy its not Fay because I felt SO bored with that storyline since I thought I saw where it was going... and now I find out I had no idea! I thought the family loved Alex and he was the golden child who likely would have taken over as editor of Meade since he seemed to be the more loved child....Its all so exciting. And I will ask Mia to elaborate on why she finds it offensive because I really am curious as well..... I know that there is a fine line but I also felt it didnt cross it.. though ofourse I am not hispanic, but I am a minority and I find myself acutely sensentive to racism and sterotypical jokjes.... hopefully we will find out :)

PS: You're lucky to have Yen to discuss such things as Ugly Betty since Kashif has yet to watch an epsiode, he'd rathr watch "the office" so I'm on my own developing my own theories :) I will have to blog about UB mor often!

Tee said...

I just finished watching Ugly Betty online, too! :) .. OH MY GOSH! ALEX?! ALEXIS?! WHAT? ... All this time we assumed it was Fey? So is that Fey lady really dead and THIS has been the secret? What a surprise!

I hope Amanda isn't totally evil now... I don't think she will be - they're so good about keeping characters well rounded so you can't completely hate them.

Yay! Betty will make more of an effort with Henry! How exciting :)

Mia said...

Okay Aisha I am back to elaborate..lol I'll try to keep it short.

Ugly Betty is full of stereotypes this show could fill a casting call full of stereotypes. I’m just going to talk about the latino ones at the moment.

Betty comes from a working-class Hispanic family in Queens, the family's recreational activities are based upon the watching of telenovelas. Nothing wrong with that I know families that live like that. Betty is from New York right? So why does this chick dress like she’s in a second grade? In the real world of NY that would not rock. Working Latinas -- as do everyone else whether they be Italian, Indian, French -- dress relatively the same as others in their working environment -- and this applies to Latinas in Manhattan. We are no different and we have the common sense to know what is appropiate within the working world.

1. Sofia fits a stereotype of the evil hyper-sexual latina who lures white men to their doom. These women are usually contrasted by a demure, more “lady-like” white woman case in point the white chick (can't recall her name) that fought over Daniel.

2.Betty’s father is an unemployed, illegal Mexican immigrant trying to obtain free medical coverage. Yeah just the stereotype we need to put out there during this country’s newly adopted anti-immigrant stance.

3. Betty’s sister Hilda , an unwed mother, “works” by selling an herbal health scam. She is also the typical American stereotype of a Latina wearing tight clothing,long acrylic nails and mega jewelry. In the original version of Betty La Fea the sister wasn’t like this at all she was “made over” for the American version of the show. Her baby daddy is a “titere” a gangster thug who walked out on his family.

Now on to Betty she’s another Latina stereotype a positive one but a stereotype none the less. It doesn’t matter that it’s a positive one. A stereotype is a stereotype is a stereotype. Being light-hearted doesn’t mean a show gets a free-pass. Betty is the exploited latina with a heart of gold allowing her boss to take credit for her work. She takes all of this plus the humiliation with good humor. Because as you know we long suffering meek Latinas would never stick up for ourselves unless we looked like Sofia then we’d bang our way to the top. Betty shows that being a good Latina is being a martyr.

Like I said in the beginning of this long commentary the show is full of stereotypes not just Latinos for example if you're a physically beautiful character on "Ugly Betty," chances are you're shallow, cruel and a bit ditzy. If you're fugly odds are you’re intelligent, witty and gregarious.

I don't watch the show but it doesn't mean that I don't applaud the effort it's making. I mean more power to the Latinos behind the scenes making this happen. I just wish they didn't have to sell out to Hollywood's version of what Latinos are in order to be able to do their thing in this country.

Cylinda said...

Hmmm....the above comments are interesting read, and certainly a valid viewpoint. What's most interesting to me is how characters and their circumstances can be interpreted so differently by different viewers. That's part of what makes the art of telling stories so great, whatever the medium (be it television, music, film, books, the stage, etc.)

I thought I'd add some more comments, just to offer a different (and completely unsolicited :-) perspective on what the above commentator appears to believe is an ultimately negative portrayal of a Latino family.

I freely admit I have no knowledge whatsoever of NY life or NY culture in general, and NY Latino culture in particular. So it's definitely possible I would be more irritated with the show's depiction of Betty's family if I did. But regarding Betty's wardrobe, I agree it's somewhat over the top, and you would be hard pressed to find someone in real life who dressed like that, but I don't see that as a function of Betty's being Latina. I just see that as part of Betty's character (in other words, I think Betty's wardrobe choices have nothing to do with her Latina heritage, and more to do with her questionable fashion taste...it's just part of the character. I think they'd have Betty dressing the same regardless of her racial or ethnic background). I am also unaware of any particular stereotype which depicts Latina women as having a penchant for dressing like color-blind second graders, but that of course doesn't mean one doesn't exist. :-)

I feel basically the same about Hilda's wardrobe. It does seem more stereotypical to me, but I was interpreting it as a working-class Queens stereotype, not a general Latina stereotype. In support of this view I offer the fact that neighbor Gina Gambaro dresses almost identically to Hilda (and I don't believe Gina is supposed to be Latina). Of course, it's certainly possible to be equally offended by the perceived stereotype represented by Hilda, whatever the basis (be it regionally or ethnically based). I'm just trying to say why I personally am not offended by Hilda's dress, etc. Also, I see Hilda as a really positive, and realistic character. For better or worse, there are many single mothers out there in Hilda's situation, and I don't see a problem with showing their reality on television. Plus, Hilda is shown as a loving, hardworking mother who cares so deeply for her son. I would be more disturbed about her portrayal if she was shown as being on welfare, or the mother of five kids, or some kind of gold digger. Not that those stories don't also deserve to be told (and perhaps should be told) but I think that sort of character would have a greater possibility of becoming a negative stereotype. I particularly love Hilda's relationship with Justin. In fact, I love how the entire family acts towards him, and how they seem very accepting of his unusual personality. If the show continues for any length of time, I feel quite positive Justin will come out as being gay, and the show is laying the groundwork for his family to completely accept him when he does. This is the sort of story not shown enough in tv families in general, but in Latino families in particular, and I applaud Ugly Betty for having the courage to do so.

As for Ignacio's plight, I also see it as a positive thing. I think it's great to show this hard-working (he actually does have a job, although I don't know what it is specifically....either a mechanic or some other manual labor...he often wears a uniform w/his name on it), compassionate man who happens to be in the country illegally (plus...he cooks! virtually unheard of in my Hispanic family, and definitely not a stereotypical trait of a Latino male....). I think too many people have a negative opinion of illegal immigrants because they don't know any (or don't know that they know them, if you know what I mean :-) and that they seem them as nothing but people who come into this country to get some sort of free ride (which is of course ridiculous). Ignacio is a very positive, and very sympathetic character. He loves his family, he's been a contributing member of society for 30 years, and he's just very likable. You don't want him to be deported (or at least, I hope most people don't). I think his character is doing a great service by putting a very appealing, very human face on the plight of illegal immigrants.

Sofia's character is more problematic, as she has little to no redeeming qualities. But I tend to view her more as a (perhaps) negative stereotype of ambitious women in general, rather than Latina women in specific (i.e., successful women must either be bitches, like Wilhelmina, or must have slept their way to the top...although I don't really get the sense that Sofia slept around in order to make it in the business). But I take heart (and find hope) in the fact that the show's hero, Betty, another Latina woman, rejected Sofia's methods in order to "make it" her way, without the lying and plotting and just generally being very calculating and manipulating.
I'm sure I could go on, but I'm sure you don't want me to :-) Anyway, just thought I'd share some of my perspective on the show. As should be obvious, I love it for so very many reasons, and I hope it lasts (while maintaining high quality) for a good while. And boo on Kashif :-) You need to start tying him down to the sofa and forcing him to watch the show. It's much more fun if you have someone to discuss it with right after you watch!

Mia said...

It’s all about perception. We both can look at a painting and come away with different perceptions of it case in point my commentary. I didn’t say that UB was a “negative portrayal of a Latino family.” I said that it was strife full of stereotypes. By the way when I wrote “full of stereotypes” I didn’t mean just Latino stereotypes. There’s a lot more in the show. However I chose to discuss the Latino ones. The problem with stereotypes is that more often than not people take them to heart as accurate.

My point of view is coming from the eyes of a NY based Latina and the stereotypes that are attributed to us in this part of the hemisphere. I guess that different cities have their own little stereotype clich├ęs. For example here in NY whenever you want to diss someone on their loud, inappropriate wardrobe or colorful wardrobe they say, “Dressin’ Dominican” sometimes they’ll throw in another ethnic group but it’s always a latino one . Loud colors are called Caribbean colors. For example there was a case recently where a man painted his brownstone a pink color. His anglo neighbors took him to court over it and one of them even said that the man had to realize we were in NY and not the Caribbean.

By all means if UB is your thing please enjoy it and support it.

Aisha you mentioned something about a friend of yours also a NY’er I believe that felt the same as I do. Why does she feel that way?

Aisha said...

Cylinda I think I agree with all your points. There are certainly stereotypes like the spanish soaps, but to some extent that makes me smile becaus there is a bit of recognition of going to my old friends home in highschool with her grandmother riveted to the television. Her sister actually dressed just like Hilda but she wasn't a loose girl or anything, its how she dressed, and she was swet as could be. I guess growing up in Miami there was some sort of recognition of some cultural mentionings, plus as a member of a culture which is very heavy on the close knit family stuff, I can relate to how close they all are and stick there noses into each others business etc. I think Betty is also standing up for herself more and more tehse days and not just being the girl to walk all over. I also think that though they do show an illegal immigrant father they do try to counter the stereotypes by showing him working hard, and cooking and being kind to his daughters with very very little machismo type of stereotypes, and I feel that he is a posoitive role model putting a human picture on illegal immigrants. I didn't like the sofia (salma) storyline because it showed a stereotype of successful women. I liked it wehn sh was a good strong woman now that she is evil and conniving I dont like it because it makes it seem like all women in power are vindictive and bitches unlike the men who are equally successful.

I do totally get what you are saying though Mia about how ppl can take stereotypes and think they reprsent the truth. I have been the brunt of that many a time in my life. "Oh so does your dad own a gas station" and though a lot of desis do own gas stations, "Abu" on the simpsons doesnt make me laugh...i find that stereotype offensive though when they show other aspects of his indian-ness I laugh at the familiarity. ?But the gas station part is a sore spot since its something I had to live with..... But on the other hand I loved the very short lived Whoopi show which had a Muslim guy who was always harassed for being a "terrorist" even though he was a sweet guy frnds with Whoopi. They did a lot of stereotypical stuff with him but it didnt rub me the wrong way. I guess I know better to assume all hispanic people are the way portrayed in UB considering there is an entire contintent of hispanic people making up many many different countries and as people we are as unique as snowflaks anyways. I think ppl who would use UB to stereotype though are the type who would do it anyways but it is sad that this is a problem we have to live with.

My NY friend was offended because she felt the family portrayed was very stereotypical of a Queens hispanic family just like you said and was sick of the assumptions that came out of that living where she did and this show did not help those stereotypes.

So from that perspectve combined with your perspective Mia, I think I can see how you feel. I think its similar to the "abu" sterotype. You feel that you have to fight an image becaus of how people treat people thinking they know all there is to know about that person b/c of where they come from. And if I had to deal with that and then watch a show which pushes those very steroetypes to the forefront of the American peole, I can completley understand where you are coming from.

Thanks for sharing your perspectives.

Aisha said...

As an aside, thre was one episode I found the stereotypes to be offensive, the one where she was going to meet a guy and her family sent her to a beauty parlor to look professional and she came out looking as awful as it gets with five inch nails and bright pink lipstick and a five mile high updo and I felt offended because this whole time I think of Betty as eccentric on hr own accord but when I saw that episode and felt it was basically a statement that it wasnt just her that was clueless to life outside of Queens but the entire community. That was one episode that did bring out offensive stereotypes Mia...

Bee Amma said...

i saw the first episode of ugly betty and didnt really warm up to it, maybe i need to carry on?!

frenchita said...

hey Aisha.....nice post:-) i want you to read my blog..just posted my first one!

Shabnam said...

I just finished watching all of Ugly Betty, and I loved it!!! ALEXIS?!?!? I don't understand..... I mean he was the golden child, so why did he have to go thru a fake death, and is now trying to get a hold of the company, when it was his to begin with?? Perhaps they would not have approved of his lifestyle?

Oh, I wish Betty would just go for Henry. walter is truly annoying, no matter how comfortable she is with him... He'll never be totally comfortable with her career. Why does everyone keep telling her she's a Queen's girl, and that that is where she belongs??

karachidude said...

The people who appear on AI know what they are in for. Period! They know the show's reputation and Simon Cowells for that matter. Still they audition.
Maybe Simon is over the top sometimes but thats a part of his job, and almost no one can disagree that he knows what he is talking about.

thats not an excuse but if you cant handle it, its simple, dont audition.

Aisha said...

Shabnam, welcome! I dont understand why Alex became Alexis either?! I guess there is a reason that will later be revealed. I also wonder if Alex is Fey's killer? Its so odd!!

Karachi dude, yes you are correct that they signed up and chose to audition and appear to be fools, BUT I do think that some of the contestatns are mentally challeged and I think its exploitation to take people who are not fully functining mentally and then exploit them for quick laughs.

Mona said...

EEK, i had to skip over most of this post to avoid spoiling it for myself. We don't get it here and I've just watched the first 3 episodes on peekvid and I LOVE her.

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