The other star of 'Ugly Betty'

15365__ugly_lBy now, you’ve probably read so much about Ugly Betty that if one more person mentions its freespirited charms or winning leading lady, you’ll be at risk of smothering them with a Guadalajara poncho. But please, I implore you, suppress the hype-fueled rage and quit tryin to resist Betty’s full-figured charms. For one thing, I’m writing the Ugly Betty TV Watch this season, and I get depressed when my mom is the only one to chime in on the message boards. (You’ll know her work because she tends to sign everything ”Polly Slezak.” Oh, Mom!)

Anyhow, in honor of tonight’s Ugly Betty premiere, let’s flash back on the musical highlights of its lovely and amazing cast member, Vanessa L. Williams (pictured, with costar Michael Urie), whose hellion character pulls off the impossible task of making a Botox injection look simultaneously glamorous and hilarious. ”The Comfort Zone” video clip — with its swimming pool/piano, electrified doors to nowhere, and jazz flute (!) — may cause dangerous early ’90s flashbacks, but if you minimize the screen and just listen, you may understand why the song remains a staple in the Slezak iPod. ”Running Back to You,” meanwhile, makes that old-school mistake of splattering random song lyrics on the screen, but how many one-time Miss Americas can break it on down like V-A-N-E-double S-A? As for the ridonk ”The Right Stuff” video, well, I’m gonna withhold comment. Miss Williams gave us A Diva’s Christmas Carol, after all. Let’s show some respect.

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  • juba

    not gonna lie, I own a Diva’s Christmas Carol on DVD and absolutely LOVE Vanessa Williams. I hope she brings it full force!

  • newbie

    I happen to really like Vanessa and hope that this is a hit for her. She is proof that if you have genuine talent you can survive. She’s still gorgeous, and she manages to have beautiful pipes without screeching the bejesus out of every note. So, while some of her poppier tunes have aged like bad cheese, most of those over-Casioed numbers from the 80s&90s all have (paging Janet and Paula). And, Slezak, your positive buzzing about the show has been one of the primary reasons I will give it a try…I’ve got one hour to decide if I am taping it or Smallville.

  • Richard

    Michael, I am big fan of V.L.W. as well. The three songs you mentioned are great ones, but how could you forget Save the Best For Last?? It’s my absolute favorite. The strings, the snow, the astrophysics…it’s also so good.
    Either way, nice tribute to the divine Ms. V. I’m so glad she’s back on the screen!

  • Ellipsian

    Slezak, you know that normally I’d follow you to the very end of “Betty”‘s credits if you so much as made a surreptitious glance at a Guadalajara poncho, but I’m afraid that I’ll be otherwise engaged. As have you, Jim and Pam have stolen my heart. (Of course, unlike you, they’re not married…but the whole lot of you tease me to no end, what with your endearing witticisms and longing glances at one another. Err–you know what I mean.)
    And NO, I can’t just TiVa the one and watch the other, so don’t ask! TiVa and her mystical powers have emboldened me to feel humbly–yet righteously–superior to “regular” TV. So no “Betty” for this PopWatcher!
    …But you do know I’ll read your TV Watch anyway, right, Mike? We wouldn’t want Mom to think her son is “Betty”-ing to a reader-less blog. I’m so there for ya…work it out.

  • Ellipsian

    My bad, Slezak–per your esteemed colleague, Mr. Susman, “You could also catch Ugly Betty tomorrow night on ABC Family”.
    And so I shall. TV Watch away, Mike, TV Watch away.

  • Mr. Terrell

    I am thrilled to see Vanessa Williams appearing on Primetime Television via ABCTV. She is a classy young lady, and extremely beautiful too. I hope “Ugly Betty” does well. Unfortunately for me, it comes on the same time as “Smallville”. . .Which show shall I watch??? HELP!!!

  • Christian

    Cool to see that I’m not alone in my admiration for Vanessa Williams. She’s a beautiful woman and a talented actress and she can chirp with the best of the bunch.
    “Dreaming” is probably my all-time fav track of hers. How could you dis “Running Back To You”, though??!! That song reminds me of my jr high days when I didn’t know I (like all self-respecting gays) wanted to be a black diva.
    Anyhoo… now I gotta go lip synch to “Betcha Never” while I apply my ProActiv. Toodles!

  • Gretchen Weiners

    A Slezak TV Watch! It’s like Christmas!

  • Cynic

    I wasn’t planning to watch Ugly Betty, but if Slezak is doing a TV Watch, I’m totally going to be there till the end of time. (Or until cancellation, or whatever.)
    Thank you ABC for streaming this show for me tomorrow. And thank you Gary PopWatch Traffic Jam advice for tonight.

  • JKS

    So refreshing to watch “Ugly Betty”. Definitely the best pilot so far this season. If only the ridiculously overhyped “Studio 60″ had been as entertaining! Thanks for recognizing Vanessa-so great! She gets it, you know?

  • jason

    i LURV “ugly betty”. what a great show. of course vanessa is wonderful, but america farrera (sp?) is a glimmer of hope in this world, what a beautiful young lady. i related to her very much, and i’m a gay man so, anyway, may the show go on to multiple seasons and win multiple awards. let’s keep this one alive, america the beautiful!!

  • sam

    Long live Ugly Betty. I love the entire cast–what a great show!

  • Stella

    I think it was too sappy…And I hope that Betty’s boss is not a potential love interest! Vanessa Williams was cool-I wonder if she really uses Botox or if the Proactiv Solution has an anti-aging formula…

  • Logan

    Great Show and Cast. A must watch on regular weekly schedule based on tonights premiere. The lead actress is so good. A nice mix of comedy and drama. Highly recommended. My tivo is gonna be full with the fall tv line up this season!

  • Beebers

    Here’s how ancient my technology is and how lazy I am. I had set my bedroom TV’s VCR (that’s right, folks, VCR) to tape U.B. and was planning to watch Earl/Office live and then watch U.B. later. But on that TV I can’t tape something and watch something else at the same time. And I was too lazy to go watch Earl/Office downstairs. So I ended up watching U.B. and LOVED it. So, unexpectedy, that is where my alliegance will be. Nothing else like it on TV. It won’t happen right away, but I smell a trend back towards creative television and the downfall of reality TV. Anyway, I am accepting donations to upgrade my TV-watching system and would value your contribution.

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