ABC's Red Carpet Screenings - Men In Trees and Ugly Betty.

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ABC's Red Carpet Screenings - Men In Trees and Ugly Betty.

Postby tylerfulltilt on Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:23 pm

Allow me to preface this by saying that the only reason I was at this event was to get a free candy bar. See, I'm one of those guys who won't shut up about Lost. I try to get everyone I know to watch it and I won't shut up about it until they pacify me with an "Alright I'll rent the dvds". I've been following the "Lost Experience" game incessantly, entering glyphs and arranging video clips. So when they announced that they were going to be giving away some of those apollo candy bars from the hatch for real there was no FUCKING way I wasn't gonna be there. So last friday I drove 2 1/2 hours out of my way to Jacobson Park in Lexington Kentucky for a candy bar.

If you haven't been to one of these events that ABC does they are really kind of neat. They had a massive screen set up in a big open playing field with a line of P.A. speakers set up in a line. The sound was pretty clear and good. Before the screenings began they had people asking trivia questions and if you answered right you got a prize. The prizes varied from pretty cool to semi-lame. I answered a question and got a Lost beach towel. As they were asking questions they passed out little surveys for to turn in when we were done. They were also doing an open casting call for "Supernanny" consequently there were lots of really ill-mannered brats running around. Parents were actually encouraging their kids to act up in the hopes of getting on the show. Yay reality tv.

Eventually things settled down, the sun set, and they started the screenings. First up was Ugly Betty.

I had my fiance with me at this event and when they announced we were going to be seeing "Ugly Betty" she got very excited. She told me that it was supposed to be like "The devil wears prada" which I never saw. So I didn't have that tainting my perception of the show. The show itself isn't anything greatly new. It's another "square peg in a round hole" concept that we've seen a million times before. "Betty" manages to be fairly fresh in it's implementation though. Betty is a slightly homely young lady who dreams of one day running her own fashion magazine. She lives at home with her father and siblings. She takes on various crap jobs to help with the bills. One day she goes to interiew for a job at a high profile fashion magazine but is turned down because she isn't as skinny and pretty as the other girls applying. However the owner of the magazine sees her leaving and decides to make her assistant to his son, the chief editor, so that he won't be tempted to sleep around on the job. Assorted hijinx and shenanigans ensue. The son realizes that Betty is in fact perfect for the job despite being kind of a fug mess and the show ends.

America Fererra manages to make Betty rather cute and endearing. The various actors who play the assholes that step all over Betty managed to make me wanna see a piano dropped on their heads. The show was fairly good. I chuckled at the jokes and felt bad for betty when things didn't go her way. On the whole however, I've got to say that the whole thing felt kind of underwhelming. Perhaps it was all the hype my girlfriend threw at me when we found out we were going to see this, But, the show didn't really seem to know where it was going. It was going from funny to sad so often that it was hard to get a gauge of what type of show this was going to be. My fiance loved it though. She plans on tivo'ing it. I checked the "I will watch it if someone else is watching it" box on my survey. It wasn't bad per say, it just failed to win me over. Good attempt though. Good attempt.

Next up was Men In Trees.

This one doesn't seem to be getting much pre-season buzz. I think most people are getting hung up on all the similarities between this and Northern Exposure. And there are plenty. But what makes this different (and better in my opinion) than Northern Exposure is how it manages to keep all of the quirky charm of NX but drops all of the highbrow culture and art references that made NX kind of "snooty."

Men in Trees is mostly a rehash of two familiar T.V. show concepts. Namely, the "square peg in the round hole" and the idea of a person who gives advice for a living and can't manage to take their own advice.

Men in Trees is about a chick named Marin something or other who writes relationship books. "How to get a guy" type of things. She also makes quite a bit of money doing speaking engagements. She's out doing a speaking booksigning tour to promote her new book. She arrives in Alaska to do a speech and sign books when she finds out that her fiance has been cheating on her. This causes her to screw up her speech which causes no-one to come to the booksigning the next day. So she spends her time at the local bar drinking herself silly and wallowing in her misery. Which is where we get to meet the cast of locals.

These locals were the part that totally convinced me that the show is going to be worth watching.

I don't know any of the actors' names but the various characters we get to meet are a radio dj who's obsessed with marin. A sage-like bartender who always has the answers. An airline pilot who doesn't care about anything any more. And the love interest who isn't really interested in marin and marin doesn't get why.

The culture clash between high strung marin and the incredibly laid back locals could have been really really bad. Somehow, it actually works though. It never feels forced or contrived. I think it's because the locals that interact with marin always have this kind of "yeah ok whatever" attitude towards everything that makes them kind of cool. It's like nothing fazes them and it's kind of funny to see them blow off marin when she's freaking out. When a big storm comes in that prevents the only plane that flies to the city from taking off marin freaks out and goes into complete panic mode while the pilot simply says "screw it let's go get drunk"

They're pushing this thing as kind of a chick show. Sex in the City meets Northern Exposure. And while it is pretty vagina-centric, If they were to make some of these local characters more prominent guys would probably tune in as well. Let's face it, guys love to see other guys who aren't under control of women. It's why sawyer is such a popular character on Lost. Guys are tired of having their balls cut off and they like to watch shows about guys who still aren't whipped. It's the main reason I liked Men in Trees.

My fiance on the other hand, who was obviously in the shows main demographic, wasn't all that enthused. She dismissed it as another Sex in the city retread. A show she wasn't all that hot on too to begin with. She wasn't interested in seeing a middle aged sucessful woman whine and moan about her love life. I'm not either. I am however, VERY interested in seeing a bunch of lumberjacks smarting off to this high strung chick and being unfazed by everything.

I initially checked the "I will watch this if someone else is watching it" box but upon further though I will probably make it a point to catch the first few episodes to see what direction the show is gonna go in. If they keep the locals as involved in the show as they did with the pilot then I'll stick with it. If it becomes a continual vagina monologue about love and relationships and what not then I'll probably tune out.

So after that we turned in our surveys and headed home. We got our apollo bars. We didn't get the golden oracle bar though. I'm still trying to upload the pictures of us holding the bars onto Goddamnit I love Lost.

Wherein I attempt to say thing about movies I've seen.
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