Short lived (four months) show about Timothy Blair, a Hollywood talent agent. He falls in love with Julie Renfield, an English starlet, when she is was making a Hollywood film. After the ... See full summary »
Short lived (four months) show about Timothy Blair, a Hollywood talent agent. He falls in love with Julie Renfield, an English starlet, when she is was making a Hollywood film. After the film is completed, she returns to England but Timothy does not have the money to follow her. Through some convoluted story, he dresses as a woman and is sent to England on an photo shoot so he can be with Julie. Written by
J.E. McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Classic Hollywood Dogpile, in more ways than one
Anyone who's made it this far on IMDb to The Ugliest Girl in Town likely knows that this is considered one of the worst American TV series of all time. This is a tag often given out by people who've never watched a minute of the show; it just sounds good to trash it, based on its iffy premise and the fact that, well, everyone else trashed it.
It's also unfair. TUGIT, to be sure, is a pretty mediocre entry in the spectrum of TV series let along sitcoms but it's time to quit the blind bashing. If anything, it offers fair warning that intercontinental transplants of shows and concepts can be risky business, and that part often isn't heeded. (Coupling, anyone?) The leads of Peter Kastner and Patricia Blake are an engaging couple, having more than a few giggles making the best of Kastner's cross-dressing antics as Timmy/Timmie. In a situation where he can't possibly take himself seriously, Kastner's portrayal of a Hollywood talent agency young-man-on-the-hustle (think Mike Ovitz with a goofy streak) who's sidetracked by love at first sight is just about believable, due to his self-deprecating style. The pilot even dips into an effective bit of pathos as he sees the new love of his life jet off from LAX to London forever, except that .
The real problem comes with trying to merge the wittier (certainly compared to U.S. standards) British sitcom style with the hit-them-over-the-hammer joking of American sitcoms that derived from various Lucille Ball vehicles. It's balancing the subtle with the shtick, which really didn't work until five guys (at just about the same time) down at the BBC hit the solution by going absurd with Monty Python's Flying Circus.
It's not that Americans didn't stop trying, as the same kind of U.S./U.K. TV comedy merger went another round with From a Bird's Eye View, which tanked two years later in Britain and whiled away as one of those NBC import summer time-burners (unlike better series such as Strange Report).
The Ugliest Girl in Town wasn't the best execution of a concept, but it had its funny moments with likable leads romping through the last vestiges of Swinging London. There are hundreds of shows (and I swear I've seen most of them) that offered far worse and escaped the constant dead-horse beating this one gets.
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