”Ugly Betty” recap: Crashing Wilhelmina’s wedding
Wow. I can honestly say that never before has an episode of any television series — no matter how fantastic — made me squeal the way I did during last night’s Betty (and that includes you, Maury). That’s right, like an 8-year-old girl receiving her first Lisa Frank binder, I actually squealed. I think even my cat was embarrassed.
But it wasn’t Posh, or even Amanda’s rendition of ”Milkshake” (more on that later), that made me so happy to be a Betty viewer. It was simply Marc’s comment upon seeing his cleaned-up new boyfriend: ”Beauty is pain, Cliff. And you are hurtin’ me bad.” Sigh. It’s moments like these that make Betty one of the most lovable comedies on television. Sure, Betty is never short of fingernail-biting drama, or fantastic performances, but the fact that one single line in a television show could make a twentysomething college graduate act like a child is further evidence as to why Hollywood’s writers need that raise.
Let’s talk about the episode as a whole. After an iffy Wicked-themed show last week, Betty jumped back in the game full force last night with the long-awaited Slater-Meade wedding. Not only were we treated to an appearance by Posh Spice, but Vera Wang showed up as Willy’s wedding-dress designer. (And was that Karl Lagerfeld in the viewfinder of Amanda’s camera phone or just a look-alike? As I do not have DVR, I’m counting on you, TV Watchers!) But Wilhelmina should have known better than to recruit Vicky B. as her maid of honor — even the best of pods cannot contain two fabulous, attention-seeking peas. After Willy realized Posh was using her wedding to promote not only herself but a brand-new energy drink, Mode‘s editor literally shoved her in a closet in order to steal back the spotlight.
But while the former Spice Girl was trapped in the closet (or was it a washroom?), Wilhelmina’s dirty little secret, her affair with her bodyguard — and real-life ex-husband, Rick Fox (awkward!) — fell right out onto the church floor. It didn’t help that (a) the entire Suarez clan, including Betty, is pretty bad at keeping secrets and (b) subtle is certainly not a word to describe Willy. Thanks to a little (emphasis on ”little”) detective work, Daniel discovered that his future stepmother was cheating on his father, and after Betty admitted she had seen the two together, Daniel decided to tell his father the news and thus break up the wedding. Trouble is, Bradford didn’t believe — or didn’t want to believe — the anti-Willy Daniel, and bottling up his anger toward his son, or his future wife, caused a heart attack at the altar. (Is it just me, TV Watchers, or does this feel a little Tommy Boy to you?) Though promos for next week showed that Bradford will live through the ordeal, I wonder if Judith Light will manage to reclaim her husband.
Sure, Bradford was being unreasonable by refusing to side with his own flesh and blood, but disloyalty seems to run in the family. Daniel fired Betty for keeping Wilhelmina’s affair a secret without giving Betty time to explain her actions. In any case, I found it hard to believe that the affair was such a shocker for Daniel. He’s known all along that Wilhelmina wasn’t marrying his father for love. And since it’s likely that Bradford himself has been at least a little suspicious all this time, would it have changed anything if Daniel had said something four months ago? Now Willy will likely exact some sort of revenge on Betty — or Ignacio — for breaking their deal. Of all the rash decisions our heroine has made this season, I think that this one could be the most damaging.
But last night’s show balanced all the drama with plenty of pitch-perfect comedy. Wish I could use the same adjective to describe Amanda’s singing. After the Mode receptionist realized her 15 minutes of fame as Fey Sommers’ daughter were running out, she tried her best to attract the public eye, LiLo-inspired outfit and all. And the girl certainly personified train wreck during her church-y rendition of ”Milkshake,” which I have to say I enjoyed far more than the original.
NEXT: Can these relationships be saved?
TV Watchers, how much do you love the Marc-Cliff story line? After weeks of Marc ridiculing Cliff for his scruffy appearance, the latter at last decided to shave and wear something not covered in condiment residue (paging Betty!) for the wedding. And boy, does dude clean up nicely! As a result of Cliff’s newfound hotness, Marc found himself feeling something he’d never felt before when it came to his boyfriend — jealousy. Yes, as Amanda said, Marc is deeper than we thought (a flaw, apparently) and has fallen for an ”average man.” Cue: heart melting. As I mentioned last week, since this is Ugly Betty, I don’t think Marc and Cliff will last forever, but I can’t help hoping that the new couple will get plenty of screen time as they fall apart.
But Marc and Cliff certainly seem geared to outlast at least one other pairing: Betty moved in with Henry this week after her father found out about her secret relationship with the baby daddy, and though there were some sweet moments between the two lovebirds, it’s obvious they’ll split up before their five-month deadline. Little by little, Betty is recognizing that dating Henry was not the best idea, as Henry has no intention of changing his mind about his move to Arizona. Even his acknowledgment that Betty’s family would be the only ones to comfort her when he leaves was like a sucker punch to the gut for our heroine.
I hate to say it, but as much as I love Betty and her family, the Suarez story line was certainly the low point of last night’s episode. It was satisfying to see Ignacio finally acquire American citizenship — not to mention touching to see the look on his face when Betty decided to show up to the ceremony — but I couldn’t help wondering how much better the episode would have been had these scenes been scrapped, or held, in favor of more Willy, Cliff, or Amanda.
To continue with the theme of doomed couples: Christina’s husband traveled to New York from Scotland to meet up with his estranged wife, who apparently left after becoming fed up with his drinking. (Pot, meet Kettle.) But the bottle has apparently taken a toll on the poor guy, who only has six months to live because of a defunct liver. The only thing that could save Stuart, he said, is a $100,000 experimental treatment that Christina said she would pay for. And though there wasn’t a shifty eye or sly smile to suggest it, something tells me that Stuart is not being completely honest with her.
What do you think, TV Watchers? Is Stuart shadier than we may think? Will Betty come to her senses about her relationship with Henry? Can we really expect to see Willy become Mrs. Bradford Meade? And hasn’t it felt like forever since Alexis had a real story line?
Of course, I leave you with my favorite sound bites from last night:
5. Ignacio, saying he’ll try to lure Betty out of bed with Canadian bacon: ”That’s the only thing that got Betty’s appetite back after Joey Lawrence got kicked off of that Dancing With the Stars.”
4. Willy, trying to convince Daniel that Victoria Beckham is ill in her bathroom: ”Spice Girl can’t handle spicy foods. Go figure.”
3. Amanda to Marc, discussing their plans for her future as a celebrity: ”We talked about an Amanda doll, maybe a singing career, rehab. I know these are big dreams, but at least we have to try.”
2. Betty, to Christina: ”You have a secret husband and a sex room? That, like, totally trumps my whole dad thing.”
1. Marc, on the cleaned-up Cliff: ”Who knew there were hardwood floors under that shag rug?”