Friday, January 25, 2008

Ugly Betty - It's All Relative

Between Amanda attempts to connect with her biological father (Gene Simmons of KISS), Daniel and Alexis trying to keep newly freed mother Claire out of their hair and Wilhelmina's backbiting with her younger sister, we got a "family-style" Ugly Betty last night. Gabrielle Union joined the cast last night playing Willie's sweet baby sister Renee (or is that RHONDA?) who hooks up with Daniel just to piss Willie off--only to discover later that she actually digs the editor of Mode.

It appears Renee/Rhonda has a secret just as her sister Wilhelmina/Wanda does and Christina just might be the one to discover it. While waiting out the implantation incubation at Chez Willie, Christina is in a position to overhear a lot of dirt. Wonder how long it will take for her to find out that she's carrying the Meade heir? Daniel discovered that his new hook-up was related to evil incarnate when he accidentally happened upon Willie in the shower the morning after. After overcoming reservations about having any thing to do with her (with help from Betty who points out how different he and Alexis are and she and Hilda are), Daniel decides to go for it--much to Willie's chagrin. She warns him he will regret dating Renee--and I think she may be right. It's quite possible that Renee/Rhonda is even more evil than Wilhelmina/Wanda.

Meanwhile, Daniel is at wits end with Claire who has crashed his bachelor pad and is wreaking havoc on his life--love and otherwise. He and Alexis start cooking up ideas to keep their bored and lonely mother occupied. Claire, however, comes up with her own plan--a magazine aimed at women her age called "Hot Flash." She sets off to get her new magazine up and running over her children's objections. That should be interesting...

Betty begs for and is given her first writing assignment by Daniel--to interview author Phil Roth. Betty is ecstatic thinking she's about to meet the Pulitzer prize winning writer, but instead of Philip Roth it is Phil Roth--writer of pickup artist books. "Men want to get laid. I want to help them," the sleazy scribe tells her. He demonstrates the EK technique (esteem-killing) on Amanda--which totally works. Betty is disgusted and writes an article about Hilda's new beauty business instead. Daniel pulls her off the story, using the EK technique which causes Betty to insist she can be open-minded and write the article.

She and Henry read Roth's book together and she becomes more incensed at the techniques proscribed. The basic premise is that by insulting women, you shift the balance of power in your favor. "Genius!" exclaims Henry. "What?!!!" says Betty. "Heinous." Henry quickly replies. Betty and Henry decide the best way to judge the book is to test out the techniques on real women, so Betty enlists the aid of Gio. But while Gio is plotting his moves, Henry swoops in and gets the phone number of a hot blonde using the book's method. Then it becomes a competition between Henry and Gio as to who can get the most numbers. "You have an amazing face. Your doctor did an amazing job!" Henry tells one unsuspecting target. At the end of the evening, Gio has scored 6 numbers, but Henry wins with 7.

This upsets Betty--but Henry explains that it was his ongoing competition with Gio that drove him. And that the way Betty felt about all the phone numbers he got is the way he feels every time he sees Betty with Gio. Betty promises to not see Gio--even though it means giving up his delicious chicken salad. "You will learn to make chicken salad!" she tells Henry. She also discovers that Daniel set her up to write the article, but he explains he did it to make her step outside the comfort zone--and it worked because she wrote a great story. Unfortunately, it won't get run in Mode because while Alex dug Phil Roth's stuff, Alexis thinks he's a pig and pulled the story.

Finally, Amanda has hit a dead end with trying to reach out to her Daddy. Marc suggests she appeal to him through music--write and sing a song for him. Amanda writes a song about her search for her dad which brings tears to Marc's eye as he tells her, "I can only hope one day I'll have an illegitimate daughter who'll sing me a song that's that beautiful!" Now all Amanda needs is a band to help her record her song, while the band Henry manages is in search of a singer. So the two come together for the debut performance with Marc calming the nervous Amanda by saying, "Except for your voice, you're a great singer!"

As Amanda belts out her ballad to Daddy, Gene Simmons shows up in the audience and is duly impressed by his new found daughter's efforts. An amazed Amanda runs up to him after the performance and asks how he knew about the show. "I google myself every morning." replies the rocker. "Me too!" says Amanda. And the reunited twosome exit to catch up leaving Henry's band without a singer. So Betty and Henry jump in to perform an annoyingly cute rendition of the rap version of "It Takes Two."

This is the last original episode until the writers strike gets settled. Let's pray that the informal talks are going well...

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