Archive for the ‘Ugly Betty’ Category

Dynasty Week!

April 9, 2010

Apparently it was Dynasty week on tv. Both FlashForward and Ugly Betty featured girl-fights in ponds. Only the second one was going for campy, but the first one still made me laugh a lot. Also, it was more evil in a threat to national security.

Ugly Betty also wins my love because while gay teens are having a moment, they are also having a kind of eunuch moment what with Eric from Gossip Girl being the castrated queer, and Marshall from US of Tara becoming sexually active…. with a lady. Gross.

Justin stands alone, as far as I can tell, as a teen gay in an actual sexual relationship with another gay teen. I love it! They dance and kiss! Where people can see them! Cuteness!

This is what I’ll miss about Ugly Betty. It has been very progressive— with a huge cast of color, a relatively awesome handing of a trans character, and gay people across the spectrum as “just like us straights!” and building their own versions of what love means, which doesn’t always follow the hetero monogamous version of love.

In some sort of glorious last hurrah it’s become amazing again. Earlier this season I wouldn’t have thought I’d care that it was going, but it’s clear that the writers still have some oomph in them. So the only question remaining is… why didn’t they pull it out sooner?

The only big quibble I have is that they seem to be forcing a Daniel and Betty love storyline into the end, when it seems from so many seasons, that they’re better of as friends. Yes, it’s true! Straight mixed gender couples can be friends! Breaking boozetube news! Anyway, I hope that when Hilda was chatting about love and Daniel shot a significant look at Betty it was a look of friendship! And I hope that when Daniel and Betty were dancing and talking about how right everything felt they were talking about friendship! I don’t ask a lot of things but please, please show, you’re so good at breaking stereotypes, please don’t be the one millionth show to deny what I know is true– men and women can have very fulfilling friendships, and love may not be their ultimate expression.


Gay Kisses

March 20, 2010

I had planned the night running my drunken review of Parks and Recreation, a show I adore, that sadly gave itself over to fatphobia this week, but in the end Ugly Betty caught my attention with the following dialogue:

Justin: Our first kiss is going to be onstage… what if it’s like… bad?
Mark: Well you’re in a good place. You actually like this girl you have to kiss, so just let your feelings take over. You won’t be bad. If you kiss someone with feeling they know it and you know it.

And this was pretty much the story of my first kiss. It’s embarrassing, but I wasn’t as young as Justin when this scenario raised its head: I was sixteen, and the boy I was kissing in my play was hot beyond measure, but he was also my good friend’s boyfriend, so we never rehearsed the kiss, we would just hug in its place in rehearsal as M. (my friend) was generally looking on.

When the time came on opening night A. (the lead actor) tilted my chin up with his hand and I met his mouth with mine. Moments later, the actress playing his girlfriend was supposed to throw a glass of water in our faces, startling us apart. No need for acting there, I really jumped as I was thinking, basically, “Omigod he’s pushing my hair back, Omigod, he’s lifting my chin, Omigod, his lips, Omigod, omigod!”

I’ve always thought it was a little strange to have my first kiss be in a performance (my first real kiss was with B. only about 3 weeks later) but I never really thought to connect it to the queer experience– even though there’s such an overrepresentation of gay men in theatre– I bet this is really common. A first kiss that feels like it really means something in a moment, the structure of which, insures that it doesn’t.

And then!!!!! Justin’s crush kisses him! The other boy in the play! It’s completely adorable and I died times a million, because if there was one outcome better than A kissing me like he meant it it was A kissing B like he meant it!

Bye Bye, Betty

February 7, 2010

So! Ugly Betty is canceled after this season, I can’t say I’m sorry. The show started out so well, it was one of my favorite shows in its first season. I think it was honestly one of the most progressive shows on tv, with a sympathetic trans character, such a glorious gay teen, and obviously a very diverse cast. (“Did you look at me when you said Kwanzaa??”) But it was pretty clear in the second season that the writers hadn’t made much of a plan beyond the first season, because it got really, really bad and basically turned in “What boy does no longer so ugly Betty want to kiiiiiiiiss?”

That said! This week’s episode was surprisingly awesome, and that’s all at the feet of Varla Jean Merman. I’ve mentioned before that a boozetube favorite film is 2003’s Girls Will Be Girls, a dragtacular piece of awesomeness about how hard it is for a gal to make it in Hollywood. (“Us busy girls have it hard hard hard hard hard hard hard hard hard enough!”)

Varla has graced the small screen before in the Project Runway drag challenge which she won! (Yes, technically her designer won, but he was kind of a douchebag and a ‘phobe, so we’ll give her the win.) Her part, actually, was small (though large in my mind!). She’s a drag queen pal of Claire’s who watches Wilhelldiva Hater’s final drag performance, which is, actually, performed by real Wilhelmina, who is having a ball, er blast! Something non-testicular.

I love drag, it’s a surprise to no one (and if you’re not watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, well, shame on you, it’s awesome. “This is RuPual’s Drag Race not RuPaul’s school for girls!”), and I extra love drag that’s inclusive of women, who, after all, are also performing gender. Maybe sometimes we want to pile on the false lashes, push our tits up, and lip synch to Man Eater. Maybe some of us want people at the club to look at us and say: “That’s one foxy dude!” The other thing that’s awesome is that Wilhelmina ends up having a change of heart, but not one that makes her less bitchy, just one that helps her use her bitchiness for good and couture. And that’s the kind of resolution I can really get behind.