Saturday, 8 May 2010

Ugly Betty Season 1 DVD Box set Review

So I have started my Betty marathon, and just finished Season 1 of the show. Ugly Betty is perhaps my favourite TV Show EVER to hit the screens and thus I must get all the DVD box sets. This is Season One.

No of discs- 6
No of Episodes- 23

The cover of the box set is the very appropriate big cheesy grin of Betty found in the opening, and you cannot avoid just smiling seeing this cover. The eye catching lime green that forms the rest of the box is uplifting and exciting and fresh.

Betty, a girl from Queens, gets hired at fashion magazine, Mode, as an assistant to Daniel Meade, editor in chief, by his father so his son wouldn't sleep with her. At first, she has a rough time settling in, but soon is accustomed to the mocking and the pranks that get pulled on her; as well as the antics, scheming and backstabbing of the show's villain, Wilhelmina Slater, who wants to take over the magazine.

The first half of the season really provides a deep intrigue into all the characters. Each one seems to have a hidden motive that will slowly unravel. A mystery bandaged woman (who is later revealed to be Daniel's brother turned sister) schemes with Wilhelmina trying to relate the death of former editor in chief Fey Sommers to Bradford Meade, Daniel's father and head of Meade Publications, as she was his mistress.

Within such power struggle of a backdrop, Betty strives to make her way up the career ladder, as she aims to use Mode to elevate herself; her dream is to own a magazine of her own. In the way, she is met with dilemmas and hard choices not only at work, but in her love life and in her family. All the problems seem to go to Betty, and this season focuses on her breaking through the barriers of appearance and getting her foot in the door of the publishing industry.

Favourite Scenes~

-Justin grabbing a cricket box, puts it on his face and imitates Phantom of the Opera
-Marc dressing up as Betty for Halloween
-Hilda and Gina Gambarro catfight
-Amanda in "The Amanda" dress

The whole first season is full of really ridiculous plots which make it immensely funny, and developed into almost fairytale heights. The element of dream and make believe also is a recurring theme with Betty, which adds to the humour in unbelievable ways.

What makes this season of the show so attractive and addictive is the unpredictable plot twists, the quick and witty humour (thanks to an amazingly sharp script) and the amazing explosive season finale, which defined cliff hanger.

I don't want to spoil any of the plot, but every episode worked in progressing the plot, developing characters and evoking humour in the audience.

America Ferrera- Betty Suarez
Eric Mabius- Daniel Meade
Vanessa Williams- Wilhelmina Slater
Becki Newtown- Amanda Tanen
Michael Urie- Marc St. James

Also stars: Salma Hayek, Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, Mark Indelicato, Judith Light, Ashley Jensen, Rebecca Romijin, Christopher Gorham and Alan Dale.

Guest Starring: Lucy Liu, Jayma Mays, Kristin Chenoweth

America Ferrera (Sisterhood of travelling pants, Real Women Have curves) is perfect for the role of Betty, given her background as well as her appearance. Her quirkiness translates well and the character of Betty is so believable and genuine. Ferrera takes on the role with enthusiasm and is really into it, even when she is being pranked. The role also entails a lot of emotion, which she manages with great skill.

Vanessa Williams also does a fab job as the evil villain, Willhemina. This season saw her as completely ruthless but also does have a heart. Her plight to take over the magazine is manipulative and sneaky, and the expressions, attitudes and persona Williams carries through is effortless.

I have to give a mention to Michael Urie and Becki Newton, who make an amazing pairing. Despite their role of making fun of Betty, they are completely likeable and are so funny to watch. Their humour and skankiness is so natural, and given they are best friends in real life, the fun they have on screen shines through.

Despite the short screen time, Kristin Chenoweth was hilarious as Betty's dentist and she was able to portray a developed role within the short space of time, and be extremely memorable too.

Cast wise, we see some real big names, as well as unfamiliar actors and actresses, and in no way do their fame represent their acting- they all contribute phenomenally to the role, and makes the show what it is.

The last disc contains all the bonus features, although a few of the other discs have a commentary with one particular episode.

Extra features included are:

I thought this was interesting to see how it all started- there wasn't anything I hadn't known already from reading up on the internet- but nice to hear the cast interviews.

This section shows how Mode was created and the idea behind the offices. The design, the shapes and the colour schemes, as well as how they contrast with the Suarez household.

I found this the MOST interesting extra feature. As the show was shot in LA, they had to recreate scenes from New York. The answer? Green screen. The short "doc" showed us how this was done, and it is truly amazing.

There are quite a lot of deleted scenes, although only a few of them were really funny, and they deserved to be cut out.

I was surprised there weren't more bloopers for such a funny show, but it is better than nothing.

Having the box set, I am able to watch the show without breaks, without waiting, and I have had an Ugly Betty marathon- absolutely phenomenal- reliving every moment of the hit TV show since it first aired in 2006, and loving every moment of it.

Ugly Betty is my favourite show ever, and the DVD box set of Season 1 is a must have. It is so funny, the comedy is light hearted and the plot is engrossing. The twists and the explosive finale cannot be missed. The cast include some big names as well as some aspiring stars, with a few big name guests such as Lucy Liu, it really is one show you must watch. It won a golden globe, and it definitely deserved it. If you don't watch any other season of Ugly Betty, you must watch this.

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