”Ugly Betty” finale recap: Amanda meets her dad
Tonight on Ugly Betty, Daniel played Betty with a guilt trip straight out of Phil Roth’s disgusting girl-getting tome Tap That: How to Score with Hot Bitches. But I can’t help feeling we all got played, too.
Just think back to last week’s teaser: We were promised a ”showstopper” that was supposed to ”rock their world” — that world being the love triangle between Gio, Betty, and Henry. ”Game on!” shouted Henry, in what was touted as a love-fueled smackdown between the adorable accountant and the upstart sandwich guy. But what’d we get in this episode? Nothing but a lame phone-number-getting contest between the pair that served as research for Betty’s article about Roth.
I really hate being disappointed in one of my favorite shows on television, but that was a nasty trick. Or maybe I just feel stupid for spending my week envisioning Gio throwing egg-salad sandwiches at Henry while Henry puffed himself and lobbed extra-sharp pencils right back. I was expecting trademark Betty ridiculousness! To be fair, the way it played out was hilarious at some points: I loved it when Gio said to one girl, ”Cute outfit. You know, some people may call it slutty, but I think it really works on you.” These lines are Gio. Henry, ehhhh, not so much. And — come on! — there’s no way Henry would have scored more numbers than Gio. But in Betty World, as evidenced by the devil impregnations and sex changes, anything is possible.
At least the rest of the episode was quite satisfying. My favorite story line — and I think this is probably a consensus among all you TV Watchers — was the denouement to Amanda’s quest for her father. Seeing as how she’s the most fabulously douchey girl ever created, it was appropriate that the world’s biggest douchebag, Gene Simmons, did turn out to be her long-lost father. (But until they get a DNA test, I’m not going to totally believe it. Soaps live and breathe by parental mix-ups, you know.) But seeing Amanda and Gene wagging their tongues at each other — priceless!
Aaaaaand…that performance! Using the Britney rip-off ”It’s Mandy, bitch!” as the opener made me do an instant rewind on my DVR. (I’ll admit I often repeat, ”It’s Tanner, bitch!” to myself just for fun.) Just like when Amanda performed Kelis’ ”Milkshake” at Wilhelmina and Bradford’s wedding, Becki Newton brought it big time on the stage. What do you think: Was this turn by Amanda better than when she did ”Milkshake”? I’d almost vote for the ditty she put on while practicing with Marc in the secret sex room. (This doesn’t translate well in print, but the staccato line ”I just want the chance to call you my faaaaather” was especially amusing.) But any act that features lines like ”Breathing fire, spitting blood/Making sweet love to my mom, Fey Sommers” while the singer does flamboyant, sun-salutation-esque arm movements is the hands-down winner in my book, so I’ll go with her onstage tribute to Gene. I just wish the producers had used his guest spot better. A Gene-Amanda duo on stage? I might have just died.
Elsewhere on the show, another guest star — a delicious-looking Gabrielle Union — was bopping around with Daniel. I must say I enjoyed the pairing of these two characters. Since Sofia, we haven’t been treated to the details of Daniel’s romantic life, and this plotline actually brings Wilhelmina back into the Mode fold more organically. But besides pissing off her sister, Willy, what is motivating Renee — or should I say Rhonda — to date Daniel? (I can definitely understand the need to piss off a sibling. Hi, Tiffany, Tyler, and Tucker!) I hope the intention — before the writers’ strike ended production — was to bring Gabrielle back for a few more episodes to explain the supposed secrets that Willy claims she’s hiding. Right now all I can guess is that she got some sort of supermodel makeover akin to when Wanda became Willy. Or maybe she’s a transsexual, like Alexis. Oh, that’d be just too ironic for Daniel, who initially struggled with that change.
NEXT: The last sound bites of the season
Meanwhile, Claire was tearing around with little to do. So she announced plans to start her own magazine. Hot Flash — the most hilarious name for a magazine in history — will cater to women of a certain age like her who aren’t ready ”for that ice floe.” It’s nice that Claire is getting another interesting story line. I grew to really love her character over the past year. Most important, though, Judith Light looked fierce in the episode. Seeing her in so many prison jumpsuits lately made me forget what a — don’t laugh — cougar she is. When she was lying on her back with her legs kicked up in the air on Daniel’s office couch — roar!
The end of the show — with Betty and Henry singing Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s ”It Takes Two” — was of course cute. But I’m getting a little bored with their brand of cute, so I’ll leave that for all you to gush over on the message boards.
Sadly, Betty fans, this is the last prestrike episode, so I hope you enjoyed it. Until we meet again for the next episode — likely not until next fall, at the earliest! — I leave you with two things: First, a link to everything Willy on YouTube to help you make it through the long months ahead. It’s basically the home page on my Internet browser. And second, of course, are this week’s Betty sound bites:
· Claire, leaving Daniel to have fun with Renee while she sleeps in the living room: ”Do whatever you like. In prison I learned I can sleep through anything.”
· Renee, between kisses with Daniel: ”Oh, yeah, I actually wanted dinner. But when I saw that fine ass of yours, I thought, ‘Who the hell needs chicken?’ ”
· Marc, after Amanda practiced singing her song to Gene Simmons: ”I can only hope that one day I will have an illegitimate daughter who’ll sing me a song that’s that beautiful.”
· Amanda, just being Amanda: ”Betty, are you going to be long? Because calls keep coming in for Daniel, and I’m finding it really hard to concentrate on my personal issues.”
· Willy, telling Christina to keep getting bed rest: ”Now, I don’t want you lifting beer kegs or whatever it is you do in your spare time.”
· Willy: ”Don’t touch the yogurt, Christina. I don’t eat breakfast, but I have it there so I know what I’m depriving myself of.”
· Marc, to Amanda just before she went on stage to sing: ”Except for your voice, you are a great singer.”
· Willy, prodding Christina to stay on her back: ”So, do we feel pregnant yet? Keep those legs up! We don’t want anything falling out.”
TV Watchers, I have just a few questions to end this season of Ugly Betty: Any thoughts on what Renee could be hiding? Does the name of Claire’s new magazine mean she’s still going through menopause? And why does Gio still make deliveries to Mode if owns the sandwich shop?