Tag: ugly betty

“The Curse of the Fuentes Women” (NBC) pilot preview: “Ugly Betty”‘s creator wants you to have an orgasm!


Written & produced by Silvio Horta (Ugly Betty, Jake 2.0). Co-produced by Andrew Maher. Directed by Jason Ensler (Hart of Dixie, Franklin & Bash, Red Band Society). For NBC, Warner Bros. Television & Silent H Prod. 62 pages.

Description: When Salvador, a magical and mysterious young man inexplicably emerges from the ocean during a violent storm, he breathes new passion into the lives of the Fuentes women who own a Cuban restaurant on Miami Beach: the beautiful but lonely Lola, who instantly falls in love with him, her mother Esperanza, who’s losing her mind since she’s been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer, and her troubled daughter Soledad, who’s secretly pregnant. The curse that ruined their lives for so long finally breaks…

With Adan Canto (The Following, Mixology, X-Men: Days of the future past), Christina Vidal (Taina), Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall, Law & Order: Los Angeles), Katie Sarife, Sonia Braga (Alias, Royal Pains), Daphne Rubin-Vegain (Smash), Robbie Jones (One Tree Hill, Hellcats, 90210, Bosch), Trace Lysette

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NBC is definitely trying to sweep the latino american community off their feet this year, and most importantly off their spanish speaking channels like Univision & Telemundo, which draw big ratings every night. A smart strategy since ABC is more into the african-american community thanks to the Shondaland series & comedy Blackish, while FOX has the surprise success of Empire. In order to make a splash, they are rolling out the heaviest artillery: besides Eva Longoria’s Telenovela (Read the preview), Jennifer Lopez’s Shades Of Blue (Read the preview) & America Ferrera’s Superstore (Read the preview), NBC ordered a new show from Ugly Betty‘s creator, Silvio Horta. The man had a hard time getting one off the ground with all his previous attempts (Bastards & Sold! for ABC…) failing to get picked-up. Will The Curse of the Fuentes Women break the cycle? It could, but should it?

For those who didn’t understand the pun in the title of the show -can’t blame you, it’s not an easy one- let me try explaining it to you without being too crude. Of course, Fuentes is the name of the family first. But fuentes in spanish also means fountain. The curse is linked to a fountain. But the naughty thing is the (rare) women who ejaculate water -like a fountain- when they have an orgasm are called “mujeres fuente” in spanish, or “femmes fontaines” in french. You got it now? It was important to note because it puts you in the mood for what the show aims at: giving you pleasure -a guilty one or not, you choose- and why not even making you squirt! Not much of the show is really about sex, but there is a scene I have to talk about: Lola, our desperate and lonely heroin, is so turned on by the new man in town that she takes a banana away with her in the toilet of the restaurant and starts to masturbate with it! And she screams loudly. I’m not sure NBC will keep it in the final version, but I’ll be impressed and proud of them if they don’t touch any of it. It was the climax of the pilot for me. Later on, Lola hooks up widly in the kitchen with her cook, Jean Baptiste. But that’s it for the sex. Well, if you don’t take into account the fact that Salvador is so so hot that every scene he’s in is automatically wets your pants.

The first act is kind of excruating to read but unavoidable for us to understand: it’s the whole story of the curse from when it started to today. That’s when the show looks like a telenovela the most. It’s a little bit funny thanks to the voiceover (in the same fashion as Jane The Virgin) but it’s really long. It’s the director’s job to make it better now, I guess. The rest of the pilot is way more exciting, even if I’m not totally sold on the characters. I’m afraid Lola turns into Betty Suarez. We loved her but sometimes, she was too whiny and way too nice with everybody. Esperanza is an interesting and touching character due to her illness, but it will be hard to use her every week as long as she can’t remember anything. Soledad is the mandatory teenage character that has yet to prove being worth more screen time. Hopefully, there’s a Wilhelmina kind of bitch, Orquidia, the one that created the curse in the first place, but she’s not funny in her wickedness, at least for now. And she needs to be. What’s the point otherwise? The Curse of the Fuentes Women is mostly ridiculous, with some crazy scenes like when Salvador spits out so much sea water that he filled a whole room with it or when he makes the whole neighborhood dance because he is so sexy and he knows it, but that’s exactly what makes the show attractive at the same time.

While Devious Maids is a not a ratings juggernaut for Lifetime but a decent player nonetheless and as Jane The Virgin became a critical darling more than a hit for the CW, The Curse of the Fuentes Women can’t be a sure thing at NBC but I totally see it joining their Friday’s supernatural line-up, paired with Grimm. It is way more compatible than Dracula, Hannibal and Constantine were, because it’s lighter, funnier and of course, magical enough. Plus, they really need something like this, not too serious, in their schedule. That being said, TV can do without the Fuentes Women. But who would refuse an orgasm when it’s so gently offered?

“Superstore” (NBC) pilot preview: America Ferrera found love in a hopeless place!


Written & Produced by Justin Spitzer (The Office US). Co-produced by David Bernad (Enlightened), Sean Veder (Community) & Patrick Kienlen (That ’70s Show). Directed by Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland). For NBC & Universal Television. 36 pages.

Description: Amy works for 10 years at a big box store, called Cloud 9, as a floor supervisor. Her boring and depressing days come to an end when she starts to fall for newbie Jonah, after they had a rocky start. Along with their fellow colleagues, they try to capture the beauty of every day moments in a hopeless place…

With America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, The Good Wife, How to train your dragon), Ben Feldman (A to Z, Mad Men, Drop Dead Diva), Lauren Ash (Super Fun Night), Colton Dunn (Parks And Recreation), Mark McKinney (Studio 60, Saturday Night Live), Nico Santos, Nichole Bloom (Shameless US, Project X) & Christopher Lloyd as guest star…

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Superstore is this kind of project you don’t really care about until there is a great talent cast in it. America Ferrera was the last one to join Superstore, she’s playing the lead and that quicky turned it into a hot piece, something we really want to watch. Not only because we miss Ugly Betty sometimes -but it would be ignoring the fact that the show was pretty bad for half its run- but also because she’s a very capable actress that: A. Should have stayed longer in The Good Wife or become a regular indeed B. Is better doing television in lead roles than little independent movies that may be great but never seen by anybody anywhere. America has been very picky the last few years, being one of the most sought-after actresses every pilot season and refusing all of the roles she was offered, so it’s safe to assume Superstore is very special and spoke to her. Or she just came to her senses and needed to work for real.

I don’t think Superstore is special. Not yet. But it could become. For that, it will need one thing, just one: stay out of the love story business for a while! We all know how the romantic comedies launched this year on the networks did: Selfie was underrated, A to Z was too sweet to be really good, Manhattan Love Story was a wreck and the three of them were cancelled. People love when the characters find love in a hopeless place. Oops, sorry. The Rihanna inside me wanted to show you what she got. No, people love when their characters unexpectedly fall in love, slowly and finally kiss -and make sweet love- in the right place at the right time. Love takes time. Look at Parks And Recreation! Or even The Office! It was not about love at first. It was -almost- all about love at the end. They fell in love with each other along the way, and we fell in love with them as a consequence. Superstore makes the big mistake of having a very obvious soon-or-not-so-soon-to-be future couple right at the center of it. And that is not what we are looking for. It’s a workplace comedy. We want to have fun while watching those silly people having a better day than we had. But rest assured, Superstore is also a little bit of that too.

America Ferrera will probably be perfect as Amy. It’s a simpler version of Betty, without the braces, the poncho and the humiliations. She’s her own woman. She’s cool, but not too cool. She’s fun, but not crazy fun. She’s good at her job but she knows how to crack some joke. We kinda love her at first sight. Jonah looks dumb, but he’s not. He’s gentle and sweet and fun. We kinda love him too but it takes a little more time. The people around them are crazy. Crazy fun. There’s Garrett, whose gimmick is to shout absurd things on the mic so the whole store can hear him, also he’s in a wheelchair; Mateo, a very competitive newbie who’s ready to do anything to prove that he’s better than Jonah; Dina, the frightening assistant manager who has very poor social skills and mistakes Jonah’s kindness for love at first sight; Cheyenne, a six-months pregnant teenage girl; and Glenn, the fatherly manager, a not very bright man. It’s a promising set of characters, representative of middle class America. And since it is set in a big superstore, they can add as many employees as they want, play with the customers, make some of them return regularly, have guest stars playing them…There is a lot to do!

I’ll add there are funny intermediate scenes showing employees actually doing their job, cos the rest of the time they just do everything but work. It’s nice. Plus, Christopher Lloyd appears as a guest through corporate videos where he is the expert manager teaching how to be the best employee. Most of the jokes there are references to Back to the Future, which is starting to get annoying. Don’t ge me wrong, I love the movies, but enough is enough! Too many TV shows refer to it now. More generally, cinema is very present in the script with multiple references to movies like Jurassic Park. I’m okay with it as long as it does not keep too many viewers at bay.

NBC desperately needs a broad comedy that can please low and middle class America as much as well-educated viewers, young and old people, blacks and whites and latinos… Superstore can be this one. The superstore is this place where all kind of people meet because they have no other choice: they have to eat (and Americans especially love to do just that). In real life, no magic happens there. But on TV, it can turn into a magical place we’d enjoy to make a stop by every week. Superstore’s pilot script is promising. Now, it’s the director and the actors’ turn to make it greater. If they succeed, then a hit is not unimaginable.