Friday, January 11, 2008

Bad Earl/Beautiful Betty

We got another little respite from the writers strike last night with new episodes of My Name is Earl, 30 Rock and Ugly Betty. When we last saw Earl, he had finally been released from jail--but not for all the good deeds he did while he was inside. Instead he was released while escaping from prison. So Earl figures if all the good things he did for two years while he was doing his list plus the good thing he did by protecting Joy and taking the rap for her, plus helping the warden and having the prison run better didn't make his life better, what was the point? He was out of prison but practically homeless, almost unemployable with nothing to show for all his efforts during the past two years.

Even worse when he finds that Ralph, who recently escaped from prison, is living the good life with an elderly widow with bad eyesight pretending to be her dead husband Stan by wearing his clothes and especially his glasses. So Good Earl throws away the list and goes back to being Bad Earl. He hangs out at the strip club, tips over Joy and Darnell's trailer and, when it comes down to washing up in a birdbath and eating bird seed for breakfast, he steals Stan's glasses from Ralph and starts pretending to be Stan.

This leads his friends and Randy to stage an "invention" as Randy calls it or "interinvention" as Joy corrects him. But even Crabman's poem ("Sadness falls on us all, like food from a sideways refrigerator...") or Randy's eloquent plea won't sway him. He doesn't believe in karma anymore. But as he storms out of the house to get away from them, he spies a piece of yellow paper blowing down the street. Is it the list following him? He picks up the paper but it's just a burger wrapper. As he cries out, "There is no karma!" he gets run over by a car. Which is how the whole karma and list thing started. Coincidentally, the car was driven by Billie, Frank's ex-girlfriend who Earl developed a crush on. Now Earl thinks that this is his reward for all his good deeds. But as he slips into unconsciousness, Billie gets hit by a car as she's running for help.

Best part of the show--Earl's reference to Carson Daly who was the one who used the term "karma" on his show which set Earl off on his new path with the list: "He's a talk show host who comes on after two other talk show hosts, so what does that tell ya?!!" This may be the last original episode for a while (looks like next week NBC is re-airing the very first episode of Earl) which leads me to paraphrase Crabman's poem: "Sadness falls on us all, due to bad faith negotiations from an arrogant AMPTP..."

On Ugly Betty, the theme was beauty--as in a wider, bigger, more inclusive definition of the word. It's Fashion Week and Betty is showing Justin's class around Mode. She is dismayed by their preoccupation with celebrities and their obsession with weight. So she convinces Daniel to do a Fashion Show using healthy models. Daniel is convinced that the PR generated will be massive, so he agrees to the idea. Only to be thwarted by Alexis. So Alexis and Daniel go ahead with the healthy models PR campaign, only they use regular emaciated models but add twenty pounds to the scale at weigh-in.

When Betty realizes this, she is angry. First at Alexis, and later at Daniel when she finds out it was his idea. Daniel is remorseful and comes up with a new plan--an alternative Fashion Show taking place immediately after the Mode show, using real models from off the street. The real models show is a hit with the press, but Justin's class is not impressed. Despite being the catalyst and a model herself in the show, Betty is disappointed that she wasn't able to change the students perception of beauty. But one of the clique breaks away to tell her that the alternative show "didn't suck" and that gives Betty hope.

Also getting hope this episode is Amanda whose search for her daddy leads her to psychic Linda (Annie Potts). When Linda tells her she will rescue a black dog, Amanda thinks she's full of it. But then she assists in helping Betty and rapper Bow Wow (the black dog?) who are trapped in the elevator and her faith in the psychic is restored. She goes back and gets another nebulous clue--a bee will lead to a kiss which will lead to her father. Back at Mode, she notices Betty's necklace which is a "B". She thinks Betty will lead her to her father, but Betty isn't having any of it. But as Betty leaves, she notices one of Amanda's photos has fallen on the floor. She picks it up and hands it to Amanda, who sees it's a picture of Gene Simmons decked out in full makeup. So "B" (Betty) led her to a KISS--meaning Gene Simmons is her daddy?

Christine's hope to get treatment for her dying husband Stuart is dashed when Henry delivers the unpleasant news that the health insurance plan won't cover experimental treatments. And speaking of treatments, Wilhelmina's fertility shots turn her into a hormonal eating machine. But although her doctor is able to extract one viable egg, he tells her she needs a surrogate to carry her child as she has a "hostile womb." Willie sets her sights on her manicurist Brandi, who has five children of her own. But her plans are foiled when Marc, while at the video store with cutie boyfriend Cliff, discovers Brandi has a dominatrix porn star past. Willie nixes Brandi, but still needs a surrogate who is healthy, controllable and desperate for money. Marc tells her that Christina is desperate for $100k for her husband's treatment and the baby scheme is back on.

Looks like we've got two more original Ugly Betty episodes remaining to air.


  1. Isn't Wilhelmina's plan less effective if Christina or Porn Star had the baby?

  2. Maybe. But Willie's doing in vitro and just using the surrogate to carry the fertilized egg. So biologically, it's still her and Bradford's child.

    What's ludicrous is that the specialist could harvest only ONE viable egg--which means that there's only one shot. Most implantations use multiple fertilized eggs to increase the odds. Oh well, it is a SOAP OPERA after all...

    (At first when Wilhelmina and Marc were talking about finding someone with "breeder's hips" that they could control, I thought they'd go after Betty.)