Took a look at three of the upcoming ABC comedies last night. Here's the short and sweet:
Betty the Ugly
This show was a smash hit as a Spanish telenovela throughout Central and South America. Now in English, and starring America Ferrera from "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," it's still a fun, offbeat comedy filled with over-the-top characters. Vanessa Williams in particular chews scenery like Dennis Hopper in a dress. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but it's a pleasing mixture of smart and stupid. I haven't heard whether ABC plans to stick with the short-run telenovela formula or (more likely) just launch this as a standard series.
This unusual sitcom has gotten a lot of good buzz. It's about a gang of misfits who decide the best way to turn their lives around is to rob Mick Jagger. Mick's not in the title for some reason, but he's the life of this party. The pilot's best scenes are a series of clips from a fictitious tour through Mick's palatial New York digs. There's a bit where Mick shows off his swimming pool, but says he never uses it -- "I don't like to get wet" -- but the dogs love it. Then there's a shot of like four dogs swimming around. Maybe you had to be there. The rest of the show, unfortunately, is stiff and not very funny. Hopefully, this will get re-worked before the fall.
Notes from the Underbelly
A sitcom about getting pregnant. Usually that's where sitcoms go when they run out of ideas, but this throws down the gauntlet right from the start. There are so many TV cliches associated with pregnancy and child rearing, but in the pilot "Notes" sort of dances around them, instead finding comedy in the uncomfortable truths the audience recognizes. The cast is all newcomers, which is sorta cool. This one has potential.