Moving Pictures
Mar 03, 2009, 04:53AM

The Importance of Being Pretty

There will probably still be ratings trouble as long as Betty stays ugly.

Ugly betty season one dvd.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

If you care about TV ratings, you know about 18-49 year olds. They, apparently, are the only people in America who watch primetime television and buy anything. If you're older, you don't spend money, except on cruises. If you're younger, you only watch Miley Cyrus.

If you want to know whether your favorite TV show will survive, watch the 18-49s. TV by the Numbers , also known as Nirvana for TV junkies, compiles a list of shows likely to be cancelled or renewed based on the show's relative performance among its network's 18-49 demographic.

One such show on the chopping block is Ugly Betty. Among the shows on ABC that still have a pulse, Betty ranks among its poorest performers among 18-49 year olds. I watch the show religiously, but I'm loyal like that. If I commit to the first season of a show, I'll stick through it until the end. Most people aren't so loyal. This is odd. Betty is an ideal 18-49 show. So why is Brothers and Sisters beating it?

From a member of the 18-49, I'm going to give ABC-and any other network-some advice on how to revive a how. It's simple: make Betty pretty.

People want to see pretty people on television. Sorry, it's just the truth. How else do you explain Grey's Anatomy and, even more mysteriously, Desperate Housewives beating Betty in the key demo? On those shows, everyone's pretty! There's someone for everyone. (Me: Kevin McKidd and Charles and Max Carver; I like redheads.)

Betty needs a makeover. Sure, people stuck with the show in the beginning because the writing was good, the concept was fresh, and let's be honest, the end of Sex and the City and the release of The Devil Wears Prada left a stylishly big hole in our hearts.

But those days are over, and it's getting a little tired to watch Betty in the same glasses and braces-braces still!-wearing mismatched designer clothes. (The great Patricia Field does the costuming, so it's expensive but "poorly" put together. Does ABC think we're stupid?). Young people care about fashion. It's folly to think otherwise. A smart girl like Betty would've bought contacts, removed the braces and paid for a new hairstyle by now. Plus, no one in New York, even girls from Queens, dresses that badly. Yes, the show is all about exaggeration, but this form of exaggeration is grating to the eye. Betty's appearance is made even more obvious since everyone around her is becoming ever more fashionable; even ugly duckling best friend Christina is now voguish.

Ugly Betty was a good idea, but as the rating show, making her pretty is the only way to stay on the air.

  • HAHAhA! because if you're ugly, you might as well stay indoors. it's TOTES true. i only watch it to see amanda and the gay bottom, daniel (who i think is kinda dreamy), wilhemina and the new-but-not-out-gay. i don't think that's because betty is "ugly," though. wasn't the show a huge hit at first? isnt that also why they moved to NY and stepped up the wardrobe to make it more inneresting?

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  • come to think of it, yes. betty needs to be pretty. we know a make over is coming. but how do you propose they stick to the central message (beauty on the INSIDE is what counts) while giving her a delicious make over? even the bitch in prada who got the make over returned to her old clothes at the end.

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  • Yea, but Anne Hathaway still looked good in the end -- I mean she knew how to do makeup! I think Betty's inner beauty will remain true, because she'll still have moral dilemmas and have to do the right thing.

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  • why don't you propose your own show. just steal the concept of ugly better, and make the bitch real hot. i think people who want pretty people in the fashion world watch THE CITY. everyone on there is so dreamy...

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  • I like to dream of other reasons the ratings have gone down... 1)frivolous, outsized consumption is sooooooo 1998 or 2) betty's perpetual, voluntary sacrifice of *all* her desires is supposed to get her at least *some* nookie. come on now: we all now if betty were white, everyone would be asking why she and daniel haven't even kissed yet. but betty comes from a long line of sexless women of color who devote their all to their white children -- in this case, the meades. but i confess i still watch

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  • She is rather sexless. I just imagine how sexy she could be though. Have you seen America Ferrara on the red carper? She's soo pretty! She could be the new Jennifer Anne Hathaway!

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  • at this point, with so many beauty-savvy people around her, and the public's knowledge of america ferrerra's actual beauty, it has become unbelievable that betty remains looking the way she does. in fact, her remaining so frumpy seems downright stubborn.

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  • shows like this are destined to run for a few seasons and then crash and burn in the ratings and the critics' corner. it's based on a shaky concept that couldn't have sustained itself well past two seasons. yeah, we get it, she's ugly. I turn to 30 rock for my primetime television needs.

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