Cute Kristen & Angry Amanda

Kristen Schaal as ‘Nancy’ in “Ugly Betty” (S1)E4 have started showing Ugly Betty from the beginning, and I remembered reading that Kristen Schaal had a cameo in the pilot episode, so I decided to give it a look-see. Despite being given a character name (and being referenced later, when not on-screen), Schaal’s little more than a “featured extra” here, with no actual dialogue beyond a quick greeting when she’s first introduced to the show’s heroine. Sadly, comedy fans would have to wait another couple of years before she scored a major speaking role (as ‘Mel’ in Flight of the Conchords), and was allowed to unleash her awesomeness upon the world.

Meanwhile, it was interesting to note that ‘Amanda’ actually had a pretty legitimate reason to rag on ‘Betty’, back in the day… it wasn’t just a superficial “pretty girl picking on the geeky girl” thing. She’d had her eye on the open assistant’s job, and resented the fact that an inexperienced, unfashionable outsider had been brought in to fill the role, just because of the way she looked (i.e., Betty wasn’t cute enough to be of any sexual interest to her playboy boss). So, despite years of loyal(ish) service on the reception desk, Amanda was passed over for a promotion she felt she deserved, simply because she was too darn hot. Whether that was the only reason or not is debatable, but it’s nice that there was a little more motivation behind her animosity than indiscriminate bitchiness.

Becki Newton as ‘Amanda Tanen’ in “Ugly Betty” (S1)Incidentally, I tried watching Becki Newton’s new sitcom The Goodwin Games a while back, and… no. No, thank you. It was created by the same people responsible for The Epically Long and Inappropriate Saga of How I Met Your Mother (boo!), and featured the same needless gimmickry that put me off that show when it debuted. Goodwin was cancelled pretty quickly though, so I guess she’s free to find something more deserving of her talents now? Hopefully she’ll take Melissa Tang (aka “The Asian Jess” from New Girl) along with her, because they had a pretty good rapport going, and were the only characters I cared about.

Meanwhile, Ana Ortiz’s new show, Devious Maids, was pretty much exactly what I expected from Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives… i.e., a soapy murder mystery with Maids in place of Housewives. Not my idea of fun, but it’s already been renewed for a second season, so clearly someone out there likes it. And America Ferrera’s new series… um… doesn’t exist. WTF!? She’s freakin’ gorgeous, and her first name is perfect fodder for all sorts of sitcom title puns! (I’d probably go with “America, F*ck Yeah!”, and cast her as a singleton sexpert who’s great at giving out advice about other people’s relationships, but useless at applying it to her own life. Greenlight, GO!!!)

Edit: In the second episode, Schaal’s character (‘Nancy’) was recast with an actress named Corinne Dekker, and got a couple more lines of dialogue… but according to IMDb that was her only other appearance.

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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