On ''Ugly Betty,'' Henry takes a beating while defending Betty's honor at a tacky office party; plus, Willy tries to frame Claire

By Tanner Stransky
Updated May 06, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Ugly Betty”: Henry defends Betty’s honor

Week after week, Ugly Betty continues to top itself. I mean, you gotta love an episode that features an Administrative Professionals Day party at a medieval-themed restaurant in Times Square (complete with a ”robotic” horse); footage of Mandypants (a.k.a. Amanda) as a phone-sex operator, a bar wench, and a slutty nurse; and Claire Meade dishing with her transsexual daughter about the hotness of Brazilian men. It’s like the guts of three Lifetime movies smashed together. But witty! And pretty! And addictive!

As usual, Betty — who Mandypants and Marc hilariously took to calling Grandma this episode — was on a mission: to get her father the money to fly to Guadalajara so he could re-enter the U.S. legally. And for once — praise the Lord! — her crusade didn’t involve trying to save her dopey-headed boss from a snafu. (Except maybe just a little bit with that whole sex-maniac thing.) After seeing that the medieval restaurant offered $1,000 to anyone who could stay on the mechanical horse for 15 seconds, Betty had a plan: ”If this is what it takes to help my father, then I will ride that giant robot horse all the way to Mexico.” Somehow, I honestly believed her. Too bad she couldn’t squeeze out the last two seconds on that horse. My inner Amanda and Marc just had the mean thought that at least she’s used to losing! (Harsh, harsh!)

More important, though, the office outing brought Betty and Henry back together again, and he turned out to be her knight in shining armor. Even though he lost his pride match against what’s-his-face douchey assistant guy, the overall chivalrous gesture was sweet. And then the banged-up accountant told Betty, ”I love you.” Repeat: ”I love you.” And then he passed out. Of course. Who didn’t see that one coming? Betty, are you getting predictable on me? What a cop-out! What should have happened was a kiss between Betty and Henry, witnessed by Charlie. Then a full-on, knock-down, drag-out fight between Charlie and Betty with those padded beating sticks, American Gladiators-style. (Check out ESPN Classic for truly awesome reruns of that ’90s series.) The winner’s prize? Cutie Henry for keeps. And then the whole damn on-again, off-again romance would be resolved.

Dubious romances seemed to be the theme of the night. Rodrigo and Alexis went caput. (Am I the only one who was disturbed by the girlfriends-style giggle-fest about Brazilian men between Alexis and Claire?) Though that story line seemed to just fizzle out, maybe it’s setting up Bradford’s blessed demise. I’d vote for Bradford to be offed if it meant that Claire would be sprung from jail to run Meade Publications. (Note: Alan Dale is rarely long-lived on TV shows. Remember his swimming-pool death on The O.C.? This guy’s got it coming.) As for the catfight between Willy and Claire, why not throw in another full-on, knock-down, drag-out fight with those padded beating sticks, American Gladiators-style?

Then there’s Willy and Bradford’s…whatever you want to call it. Relationship, I suppose. I’m sort of, like, totally disgusted by the whole thing. The elderly guy is dashing, rich, and powerful — and, of course, Willy, you’ve got ulterior motives. But…barf! Where are your standards? (Willy did become involved with that unsuitable Texan, too, so maybe she’s one of those hopeless cases with picking guys.) At least we viewers got something out of the continued Willy-Bradford plotline: the brutally hilarious smackdown between Marc and Willy in the stairwell. (”Who do you think got into your computer and canceled your subscription to DudeCruise.com?”)

All right, now I’m gonna list some of my favorite quotes from the evening. (I know that some of you readers think I do this to pad my column, but basically, the show is one big sound bite! Am I right, or am I right? Anyway, I enjoy doing it.)

Valerie the beauty instructor: ”I don’t want your excuses, Suarez. I want your commitment to beauty.” Hilda: ”What does this [motions up and down her glammed-out body] look like?”

Hilda, describing Valerie: ”One hundred thirty pounds of bitch.” Valerie, overhearing her: ”What did you say?” Hilda: ”One hundred twenty.”

Marc, after Amanda said she wasn’t going to the medieval party: ”I’m not going stag, hag!” Mandypants: ”You’ll have to buy your own beer, queer!” Marc: ”You can’t just ditch, bitch!”

Marc: ”Middle Ages is going to be duh-licious! It’s gonna be Britney shaving her head all over again!” And: ”I swear on the abs of Mark Wahlberg.” And: ”That was high — wait for it — larious.”

Justin, trying to persuade his mom not to trim her fingernails: ”Nooo! Don’t do it. Barbara didn’t cut her nails to play Yentl. Why should you?”

Now, Betty lovers, it’s time for you to weigh in: What was your favorite snarky comment of the evening? Will Betty rescue Daniel from drug abuse, too? (And what kind of drug was that? The screen went ecstasy-like crazy, but was it maybe some sort of anti-Viagra?) Are you on Team Alexis or Team Bradford? And finally, edify me about the finer things in life, please: What is toilet wine? Wait — maybe I don’t want to know.

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