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September 29, 2006

How ugly is ugly?

Catherina, I agree about "Betty" being more cute than ugly, even with the addition of braces, glasses, etc. (My mom picked up a paper with a picture of her last weekend and asked, "She's supposed to be 'ugly'?") While Hollywood's version of "ugly" is amusingly predictable -- I've been wondering what would have happened at the casting session if a young woman with, say, acne had walked in -- I'll give them credit for being willing to base a show on such a character, though it's also amusing that the media are so hysterically excited over it ("Look, America! We gave you a show about a woman who isn't shiny-haired, twiglike, and vapid! This is BIG!" Um, yeah, we know. Now if you could just get everyone around her to stop acting like rabbits, that might be even bigger. But I digress . . . ).

As Betty scored a pretty impressive 16.1 million viewers last night, it seems people are going for this idea of inner beauty being more important than outer gorgeousness. As you say, I hope the show can stick with it. Prada, though a fun movie in many ways, was flawed in this department -- who can forget the cringe-inducing "You're FINALLY a size 4! I'm so proud of you!!" from the "wise" older mentor in that one?

Oh, and incidentally, I happened to catch some of Hitchcock's Suspicion last night on TCM after Betty was over, and was reminded that in the old days, when Hollywood was looking for plain-girl types, Fontaine_1 they frequently went to . . . Joan Fontaine.

Maybe we are making a little progress in the direction of realism.

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Martin Cothran


I'm not sure I agree with you here. It seems to me that there is a lot of ugliness in the media and popular culture these days--all mixed in together with the less ugly. Look at cartoon animation anymore, where bad drawing seems to be the standard.

Couldn't we as easily say that the fact that in movies like Suspicion, beautiful women were cast preciselyl because they were beautiful, and that there was some acknowledgement that beauty in fact existed and was clearly distinguishable from ugliness?

Maybe what you call "realism" is really just part and paracel of the modern failure to acknowledge any clear distinction between beauty and ugliness, just as there is a failure to acknowledge a distinction between truth and falsehood, and good and evil.

Just a thought.

By the way I have also posted this at my own blog, http://www.vereloqui.blogspot.com.


Yep, Betty is cute. Dunno where they got the 'ugly' from.


That is so not ugly. That's bed hair and glasses! It's like those movies where the "ugly" girl really turns out being beautiful by the end of the movie and all that has changed is her hair and one other object of clothing. Lame.

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