…which debuts tonight, have been consistently glowing.
Set in the enchanted and dangerous forest of New York publishing and fashion, peopled with characters who are obviously good or evidently evil, it has the power and sweetness of a fairy tale; but it isn’t exactly the Cinderella story it first seems. It is more emancipated than that. Betty is also Dorothy gone over the rainbow — though all the color is back home in Queens, where she lives with her loving father (Tony Plana), sassy sister (Ana Ortiz) and budding fashionista nephew (Mark Indelicato), while the offices of Mode are largely white and icy blue, designed with the clean, curving and slightly antiseptic lines of a 1960s vision of the future.
As the magazine’s creative director Wilhelmina, frostily furious at having been denied the editor’s job, Vanessa Williams is every inch the evil queen and comes with her own Magic Mirror/Flying Monkey, the obsequious and ironic Marc (Michael Urie), who does her dark errands and administers her Botox injections. Ashley Jensen plays a fairy godmother figure, a Mode wardrobe mistress who looks out for Betty. And Daniel is the charming prince, but only sort of.
This is not “Working Girl,” though it repeats that film’s Manhattan versus the Boroughs dialectic, nor “The Devil Wears Prada,” though it also concerns an unfashionable person coming to work at a fashion magazine. Betty, though she is not what walks down the runways of Milan and Paris (and is sometimes shot in a way that emphasizes her wideness), is neither a frump nor a mouse for technicians or magicians to make over — she’s a ray of sunshine, a whole sunrise, bursting with color, face lighted up by a wide smile doubly gleaming for the braces splayed across her perfectly white teeth. When she tells herself “You are an attractive, intelligent, confident businesswoman,” she is only reminding herself of what she already believes.
It seems like it’ll be fun to watch, especially since it’s set in the worlds of publishing and fashion.
Now that this has been added to the lineup, looks like Thursday night on ABC is gonna be pretty hard to beat.