Monday, July 16, 2012

UGLY BETTY | 2006 - 2010 | Long Form Screwball

UGLY BETTY is screwball comedy told Pickwick-Papers-style.

Charles Dickens' first novel was written and distributed as a serial before it was assembled into one volume.  Similarly, when the individual episodes that make up the saga of Ms. Betty Suarez are taken as a whole, it creates one giant, super long, epic screwball comedy.

Well, Wes D. Gehring's definition of screwball.  Which, unfortunately, I have not been able to improve upon.  I wish Mr. Gehring were not so insightful, it would have made this blog so much more interesting - to read and to do.  The thing is, in his book "Screwball Study:  A Genre of Madcap Romance," the guy pretty much nailed the definition of Screwball.  I've searched for weaknesses in his thesis, or something to fresh to add, and yet all I can do is agree.  The really good screwball comedies have the very elements he identified (a male anti-hero, the leisure class, pursuit of the "right" romantic partner, an urban setting, a world where a kind of child-like perspective is valued and rewarded, little interest in politics but keen attention to moral standards, and a baseline dissatisfaction with the status-quo).    

Change the male anti-hero to a female anti-hero, and you've got UGLY BETTY.

More on this soon.  I have the whole post in my head, but I continue to be crazy short on free time (which is why I haven't posted since May); at this point, it feels like a partial post is better than nothing.  Er, I mean...  In the spirit of the topic, it'll be published over multiple posts, as a sort of installment plan.