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''Ugly Betty'' recap: Willy meets her match

Guest star Betty White, as herself, outplays Willy; plus, Henry busts a move, and Daniel and Alexis paintball-fight for control of the company

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Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
Mitch Haddad

Ugly Betty

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
09/28/06
performer:
America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Ana Ortiz, Vanessa Williams
Producer:
Salma Hayek
broadcaster:
ABC
genre:
Comedy, Drama

”Ugly Betty” recap: Willy meets her match

I love you, Betty. And for once, I’m not talking about the awkward magazine assistant with the thick glasses, gleaming braces, and mismatched clothes. I still adore that Betty, too, but I’m talking about the other Betty on last night’s episode — the one who was once a Golden Girl, who once played the sharp-tongued Sue Anne Nivens on Mary Tyler Moore with such wit. More so than any of the genius stunt casting on Ugly Betty this season, Betty White gave the show a much-needed jolt of sass after a couple of weeks of dour episodes focused on death and sadness.

Deservedly enough, it was nasty Willy who took the brunt of White’s ferociousness. In a rush to get to a celebratory dinner and avoid the rain after securing funding for her new magazine, Slater, Willy stole a cab from someone who she thought was just a run-of-the-mill old lady. ”You’re wearing plastic,” said the editrix curtly, waving off the shuffling woman without a care. But not so fast: Some harsh words and a few crushed fingers later, we found out it was none other than Betty White who Willy shoved aside. Wrong move!

The whole fracas, which in this crazy age of instant media was caught with a cell-phone video camera by zealous fans and quickly reported by Fashion TV, was exactly what Willy didn’t need. She had just spent the day remaking her image into that of a charitable, inspirational, song-singing (”Rise and shine and give God your glory, glory!”) do-gooder after investors told her they didn’t like her harsh edge. The real showdown, however, came when White called Willy to forgive her and Willy invited her to do it publicly on Fashion TV. That’s where things really got good.

”Did I not mention that Regis and Kelly called?” snapped White after further vilifying Willy on TV in a nasty but delicious turn. ”And The View! They want me. They all want me. I’m sorry, honey, this feud is huge, and I’m gonna milk it till it’s dry.” Go, Betty, go, Betty, go, go, go, Betty! Take the b—- down! I’ll always love Willy, but if one person has to best her, I’m happy that it’s none other than a sassed-out Betty White. (”Oh terrific, I’m going on TV with whore eyes.” When Willy was interviewed about the incident, one reporter referred to White as a national treasure, and that, my TV-watching friends, she truly is.

As for the other Betty, the namesake of the show, she was dealing with a battle of her own — but with her soon-to-be-whisked-away (17 weeks, something something, blah blah) love Henry. Let me just start by saying that I think it’s fab-u that Betty has such a hunk for a boyfriend. I know we all got a glimpse of Henry’s ripped chest a few episodes ago in a dream sequence, but this week was just gratuitous, with the disgusting ice-cream-eating scene.

Betty and Henry were on different planets throughout the episode. Inspired by Gio’s fun-loving ways with Hilda, Betty decided that her stay-in-for-the-evening relationship with Henry wasn’t exciting enough. For me, this whole story line was — and maybe this was intentional — totally predictable. I mean, yawn! Betty and Henry making ice cream sundaes. Again. Betty and Henry watching obscure DVDs. Betty chiding Henry for not wanting to go dancing. Is this really where we are in this relationship? Have we gone as far as we can go? I sure hope not.

By the end, Henry was dancing — in a very dorky fashion, I might add — in an attempt to upstage Gio, but by that point, I was checked out of their boring back and forth. Honestly I’m still a fan of Betty and Henry, but for the first time, I was intrigued by Gio’s spirit and was kind of rooting for him to make some progress with Betty. Obviously, he just went to the club with Hilda to try and make Betty jealous, but his demeanor was so genuine and sweet. Part of me wants this possible love triangle to round the corner. What’s wrong with Betty broadening her horizons? Especially since she’s gonna have her heart broken when Henry leaves anyway. Gio might as well be the one there to pick up the pieces, so I’m challenging him to really make a play for Betty. Maybe, just maybe, that’d make Henry value Betty just a bit more.

NEXT: Amanda the man killer

In other faltering relationships (quite the theme last night, right?), Daniel and Alexis were at each other’s throats as they fought over who’d ultimately take over Meade. It turned out that Bradford had left a video message designating a new boss, but in a classically Betty moment, the video cut out. And that was even after Betty herself came in and screwed up the camera. So how do dueling siblings settle who’ll take over a billion-dollar company? With a paintball match, of course!

I really did enjoy those sequences. For once, the fights in the Mode offices were actually physical and not just bitchy queens and cats fighting over the newest designer’s fashions. Plus, the battle led to a steamy encounter for Amanda and Nick. (”God, you’re hot when you’re mad,” Nick said after she shot him, to which she replied, ”You’re hot when you’re dead.”) Will this pairing last? No, but neither of these two shallow souls is ready for anything more.

As for Daniel and Alexis, I’m perplexed as to why they can’t just share control of the company. Honestly, that’s probably what Bradford meant when he told them to grow up. And wouldn’t splitting control of the empire just feed the possible drama coming down the pipeline?

On a final note, Mode was a scary place this week. Not just because of the paintball fight and the destruction that it caused but because Willy wasn’t there. For the first time in the history of the series, we’re faced with a Willy-and-Marc-free office. Granted, Amanda is still there, but she’s nothing without follow-up zingers from Marc and piercing glances from Willy. But we probably won’t have to wait long for the return of Willy, as she’s planning to birth a new heir to the Meade fortune. (Is this jumping-the-shark territory, TV Watchers?) And truthfully, who didn’t see this one coming after Willy paid off the doctor when Bradford died? After sex changes and possible incest, of course sperm stealing was next on the Betty agenda! I just can’t believe she kept the, um, key ingredient to the pregnancy in a Thermos in the freezer. After seeing her elaborate system for keeping that computer-virus disc hidden inside a phone, we know she’s got more style than that.

Last night’s quips were as good as ever. Here are my favorite Betty bites, with the top two spots reserved for the genius that is Betty White:

8. Daniel, while fighting Alexis for Bradford’s old chair: ”Why are you so strong? What, did they give you super-strength when they installed your vagina?”

7. Christina, after hearing that Betty was having a surprise date with Henry: ”Oh, the last surprise I got on a date was the wife knocking on the motel door.”

6. Christina, being her normal beefcake-obsessed self: ”I love James Marsden. I wanna bake him naked and eat him for dessert.”

5. Marc, assuring Willy he can change her public image: ”Come on! It’s the media age. We can do it overnight! Britney Spears shaves something or shows something or shows something shaved, and it’s around the world in seconds. Trust me, lady, I can make you Mother Teresa — with better boobs.”

4. Justin, after dressing Henry in a new outfit: ”See what I did here? I mixed a little bit of prep with a little bit of gangsta, and I found an edge where there was none.”

3. Kenny, rhyming just before the big paintball showdown: ”She’s Alexis! Big as Texas! She knows what it’s like to be both sexes!”

2. Betty White, soliciting help after being knocked to the ground by Willy: ”Yes, it’s Betty White, jackass. I’m on the ground here. Call 911!”

1. Betty White, on her legions of dedicated fans: ”Well, I adore ’em. Except for the few sickos who write lesbian fan fiction about me and Bea Arthur.”

But TV Watchers, I wanna know what you think: What’s your favorite sound bite from last night? How much did you love that Hilda’s new beauty shop is called Hilda’s Beautilites? What’s going on with Christina’s husband, Stuart? And, do you think Betty and Henry will really make it the next 17 weeks?