”Ugly Betty”: Breakups and Breakdowns
Mirroring the pace of Mode’s bustling office, tonight’s Ugly Betty was positively bursting with activity. All the storylines that made the cut (save Claire and Henry’s ongoing sagas) thankfully clipped along: Betty got reprimanded for going overboard with protecting Daniel (boo!), Willy seduced Bradford… with her feet (yay!), Christina spilled the beans about her alliance with Willy (boo!), and Ignacio finally got some answers about whack-tastic Constance (yay!). And what of my favorite supporting cast, Marc, Amanda, and Justin? No big contributions to the stories besides their usual, hilarious one-liners (Amanda: ”Do I look like I eat?”), but that’s good enough for me.
Before I go into anything else, though, I must talk casting for a moment. Last episode it was Patti LuPone in a perfect role as Marc’s mom. And this week — Leslie Jordan as Quincy Combs, a Truman Capote-esque writer of a tell-all book about the Meade family! Seriously, Jordan was a slam-dunk. Just creepy, bitchy, nonchalant, and nosy enough to pull off the role. And all with a searing red hat on! (As a side note, loved this exchange about said hat — Willy: ”I thought there was a gag order against him.” Marc: ”There should be. A red hat with his skin tone. I’m gagging!”) Of course, from my experience in several NYC magazine offices, I can tell you a writer/reporter like him wouldn’t have the free reign that Quincy does, but I’m glad that it’s possible (of course it’s possible!) in the crazy, drama’ed-out world of Betty.
This week the drama was certainly there for Betty. For the first dozen or so episodes, she got harped on for how ”ugly” she supposedly was. And now, when she’s proven herself indispensable to Daniel, she gets ragged on for doing her job too well. WHAT? Well, I suppose commandeering the PA system at Manhattan’s hottest club to address your boss is taking work a bit too seriously. But, really, I think Betty was just being her usual earnest self. Right? It wasn’t fair for Daniel to rip her up and down (”Punch-out!”) about trying to look out for him. When she was hired in the position, she was expected to be on call 24/7. And now, double standards? Pish posh. But fine. Betty, this is your chance to take your job totally 9 to 5. If Daniel wants to let you relax, I say take the opportunity. And at the end of the episode, it seems like she did. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come back to bite her down the line.
In other Betty break-up news, for the moment — just like with Daniel — she and Christina are over. Both are work relationships, but this meltdown seems harder to take, wouldn’t you agree? Betty and Christina don’t have anyone else at Mode. They’re just so out of their element in the first place. That’s because they’re really not backstabbing, conniving people. But Betty saw a little different side to Christina tonight when she found out what she’s been doing for Willy. Betty freaked out and said she shouldn’t be making friends with people at work, but maybe she needs to come down and out of her ivory tower a bit. Our little heroine has definitely contemplated going to Willy’s dark side before (like when she needed the money for her father’s legal fees). And everyone is entitled to mistakes. Christina just had a lapse in judgment.
I can finally say it: Ding-dong, the witch is dead! It appears as if the hell of the Constance storyline may finally be over. What Constance said at the beginning of the episode was scary by the end: ”Now I will always go the extra mile to make sure my clients become citizens of the US of A.” She wanted to make Ignacio marry her! Fired from her job, hoping for a mad-dash marriage to Ignacio, and locking him inside her house. I’ve commented on her crazy eyes before, but they were really, really bugged-out tonight. But at the same time (and this is obviously what the producers were going for), I felt sort of bad for her. I actually thought Ignacio taking a picture with her at the end was kind of cute. Now she’ll at least have one photo in her sad, lonely photo album that shows her happy with another person. But regardless of the fact that I understand what she was going through now, I still don’t want to see her and her crazy eyes on the show anymore. You agree, TV Watchers?
Before I sign off, I’ve got to share one little annoying thing about tonight’s show. The scene where Christina was helping Betty pick an outfit to wear to the club. I realize part of the show’s shtick is to be completely over-the-top with everything. And, of course, she tried on every ridiculous outfit. But it’s a fashion closet, for chrissakes! Shouldn’t there be something in there that makes her look absolutely fierce? Take her above and beyond the Betty frump we’re used to? And what friend like Christina would allow Betty to go out with her bushy eyebrows, bad bangs, and horn-rims? To be fair, she ended up in what she was originally wearing. But I have to say?the outfit wasn’t really very ugly to begin with. Betty, are you getting pretty on us? Before long maybe the Mode beauty folks will get a hold of you and take care of those eyebrows.
I haven’t done a zinger roundup in a while, but I thought I would tonight. Here’s a smattering of my favorite banter from the episode:
”Relax, Colonel, we all know you prefer nuggets.” — Willy to Marc, after he makes a comment about her thighs
”Listen, Mc Martyr, you knew exactly what you were getting yourself into, so spare me the conscience and enjoy the spotlight.” — Willy to Christina
”Honey, you must think you’re the only chip in the bag.” — Constance to Ignacio
”I want a career I can be proud of. And a door I can close when I wanna take a nap.” — Amanda to Marc
”He hasn’t even been here long enough for us to figure out why we hate him.” — Marc to Amanda, about Alexis’s new assistant
”Oh look! It’s Carrie Bradshaw and a side of potatoes.” — Amanda to Christina and Betty
”Betty, you’re addicted. If he was crack, you would sell your nephew for a bag of him.” — Christina to Betty
”Get that fruity pebble on the phone. I need to know what’s in those pages!” — Willy to Marc
But, my lovely TV Watcher friends, what do you have to say about the episode? What were your favorite zingers? How’s Daniel going to get out of his current mess with the 16-year-old model? Who’ll discover the Love Dungeon first? And what the heck is going on with Claire in jail?