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Okay, I should try and get back on track with this, seeing as it's now March. Just as well I decided to move the films meme to May instead...

Day 17 - A Ship You See A Lot On The Internet

I have a tendency quite often to pick 'ships which are ridiculously obscure. Often, however, I don't. :P

Daniel Meade and Betty Suarez from Ugly Betty.

I am about a season and a half behind on this show now, thanks to Channel 4's rubbish scheduling of season three (they moved it from Friday nights at 9.00pm to Wednesday nights at 10.00pm, and I was always too tired to bother). From what I can ascertain from the Daniel/Betty ("Detty") community on LJ, it seems that the pairing didn't really deliver, despite the original source series ending that way.

Anyway. This is another of those pairings which shouldn't work but also really, really does. Daniel Meade is a rich playboy who inherits a magazine from his father, Bradford, the CEO of Meade Publications in New York. Daniel winds up as Editor in Chief of Mode, a fashion magazine, in an attempt to keep him out of trouble. Betty Suarez is a fresh-faced recently-graduated wannabe journalist, looking for a job in which to thrive and flourish. She applies to be Daniel's assistant. Bradford is sick of Daniel seducing his various assistants and then dumping them; he takes one look at unfashionable Betty with her glasses and braces, and hires her.

That's the crux of the series, and perhaps the reason it has ended up so popular. A few of the more shallow viewers would have tuned in to see Betty be amusingly out of her depth in the cut-throat world of fashion; instead the show turned out to have a heart as big as its heroine's. It's very well-written, tying together drama and comedy effortlessly. The main characters are buoyed by a brilliant supporting cast and some overblown caricatures (such as Marc and Amanda), but at the heart of the show are Daniel and Betty. Aside from the fact that it's refreshing to have a normal-shaped actress on the screen for once (that, indeed, is the entire point), Daniel's character development is as big a part of the show as Betty's.

They start off on rocky ground, as in the first couple of episodes Daniel makes Betty's life as difficult as possible, sending her off on impossible missions and embarrassing her in public situations. (Yes, it does sound familiar. It's very much like The Devil Wears Prada, but the similarity ends soon enough. Eric Mabius is no Meryl Streep. :P) He then realises that she's more than capable of standing up for herself and being his assistant, and a tentative friendship starts to form.

I saw it coming a mile away. As much as I like the more obscure and surprising pairings, sometimes I go for what’s right in front of me. I can vaguely recall telling myself not to ship them because it was so blindingly obvious, but I found myself getting sucked in against my will. I ended up writing fanfic for them - two completed stories and one which is still ongoing and has been since I dried up again (obviously not helped by the C4 scheduling). If they capture my imagination to that degree then they're definitely worth a few hundred words in this meme.

They're a popular pairing in the fandom - the LJ community is quite prolific - but there are just as many people who want Betty to pair off with Gio or Henry, the other love interests for Betty in the show. As much as Gio is a great character (though I prefer the actor in Six Feet Under as that character is more developed), and I can sort of see where they're coming from, I never felt the Betty/Henry love and found him horribly annoying. There are all-out wars on message boards about the topic, or so I've heard, I think more so than any other fandom I've encountered. Detty vs Benry vs Getty is bordering on WW3.

But Daniel and Betty have chemistry. Proper chemistry that's borne out of actual respect for each other, a real friendship and a sense of trust. Daniel is nothing without her; she saves his ass on a regular basis. He's there for her when she needs a shoulder to cry on and when he tells her she's beautiful, he means it. Coming from Daniel, who spent most of his adult life sleeping with supermodels before growing up a bit, it's more than an empty compliment. Betty is beautiful, inside and out; Daniel knows it more than anyone else.


Picture source: londongirl27 on daniel_betty - bizarrely, despite it's popularity, I found image-hunting difficult, short of trawling screencap sites, and I don't know the episodes well enough for that...


I think the reason I love this pairing is... we're all like Betty. She's a role model for all of us with low self-esteem, who pretend we don't care, when actually all we want is perfect teeth and to be five inches taller. She has strength and family and intelligence, and she doesn't take any of the crap that the fashionistas throw at her - and yes, occasionally it gets to her, but she cries, gets it out of her system and carries on. If Betty can find herself a Daniel, if Daniel can look beyond the first impression, then there's hope for all of us. It's that element of the pairing which resonates with so many people, I think perhaps more than the Benry and Getty shippers. I think those shippers settle for second best, or don't share the issues that Betty has, or don't appreciate how much Daniel is changing, that he can deserve her. I don't know how true that is, but perhaps there's some relevance to it.

It didn't deliver; I already mentioned that. But in some respects it didn't have to. They're best of friends and they love each other on a different level than if they were actually together. The series ends with Betty moving to London, and there seems to be some theorising amongst the fandom that Daniel would stay with her. Maybe he would; maybe he wouldn't. I don't think it really matters. It's one of those rare 'ships where the end result is insignificant in relation to the journey. Of course, there are 'ships where the ending is just as important, or more important - like John and Aeryn, for example. I'd go so far as to say that Mulder and Scully's journey was more important than the end result, because we all knew it was coming and when it finally happened it was more a relief than a prize - like a bottle of water to a last-place marathon runner. ;) Daniel and Betty are the same - they've been so interesting to watch, whether or not they do end up together is academic. It would have ruined the show to pair them off officially in canon, and most of the fun comes from spotting the little, seemingly insignificant moments between them that make the pairing what it is.

But of course, it doesn't stop the armies of fanfic-writers producing reams of stories about them getting together. I admit that's all I ever do. I love getting them to a point where it could happen, and lots of other people do, too. Just once, it's nice to be part of something big, rather than that lone voice howling at the moon.

Right. I wrote this at work because I knew it would be long. I think perhaps I should have done this last week after all, as it's quite effective stress relief. I think I'd forgotten that until Monday night's Glee; I'm feeling a little better this week, which I think is down to the episode being utterly brilliant and the fact that it made me cry. It was only a small emotional purge, but it did the job.

It also transpires I will not be sitting opposite Forgetful after all, as the two Legal Assistants in our team have decided to sit at those desks instead. So that's a relief. I’m still dreading the floor move to some degree as it will disturb our peace, but we’ll see how it goes.

I forgot to post this last night, so here’s the next one, too.

Day 18 – A Ship That You Wish You Saw on the Internet

Several of my other ‘ships could have fit this category, but I’ve already spoken about two of them at great length already, so…

Joey Tribbiani and Phoebe Buffay from Friends.

As the only remaining characters, and thus the only remaining pairing, I imagine this was obvious. :P

There is not enough Joey/Phoebe around. After the show paired off Ross/Rachel and Monica/Chandler, it seemed as though Joey/Phoebe would be the only logical direction to go in. Unfortunately they needed Matt le Blanc for the ill-fated follow-up, Joey, and thus married off Phoebe in the final season.

It’s annoying really, because the majority of the publicity shots are set up in such a way as to pair off the six characters in that way, even before Monica/Chandler was established. Joey and Phoebe have history, in a sense, right from the off. I mean, he dated her twin sister Ursula, they were each other’s “back-up”, he said she could live in the thumb of his giant hand-shaped house. He gave her a Perfect Kiss that one time. It was meant to be, and then it never was.


Picture source: Fanpop


I always saw them kind of drifting together after everyone else had paired off. Ross and Rachel had Emma and that future, Monica and Chandler had their life together. I think maybe if someone hadn’t thought up the Joey series idea it might have had a chance.

There isn’t nearly enough Joey/Phoebe on the internet. There are plenty of rabid fangirls for Mondler and Ross/Rachel, and not as many for Joey/Phoebe (henceforth Joebe. :P), and I suppose I can understand that. As much history and chemistry as they had, it was never as overt as the other two pairings, and it didn’t ‘develop’ or have any kind of grounding. I like the fact that they had Little Moments, and it’s those moments that the pairing is based on, even though it never happened.

In a way, that’s probably a good thing. If the show had paired all its characters off like that, it would have been too predictable. It’s almost like they had this unspoken thing (they did appear to be psychic that one time: “Huh, who’s singing?”) which neither had properly acknowledged. There was never any underlying tension between them, just a friendship that had potential to be something more, which made all their Little Moments sweet and uncomplicated. As much as I love the big, epic, dramatic, labyrinthine pairings, occasionally it’s nice to indulge in some easy-going fluff, and Joey/Phoebe were that. No commitment, no angst, just two friends who love each other, but Not In That Way.

But I still wish there was more of them on the internet, in any capacity…

Thankfully that was a short one. Days 19 and 20 are both going to be quite long, I think, so I’ll post them as and when I find time…

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T'eyla Minh
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Last read: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Victor Hugo; Glamorama, Brett Easton Ellis; The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory (amongst others).

Currently reading: Les Miserables, Victor Hugo; The World According to Garp, John Irving.

Last watched: Six Feet Under, season 3; Glee, season 3.

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