Friday, September 26, 2008

Back to Work for Ugly Betty and The Office

When we last saw Betty Suarez, she had to choose between sweet Henry's marriage proposal or spicy Gio's romantic Italian vacation. Both Rae and I guessed she'd pick neither Henry or Gio, but instead would go off on her.

And we were right!

Although Betty didn't take a European vacation, she explored the good old U.S. of A. We got to see her travels via postcard-like shots of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and San Francisco set against the B-52's Roam (God, I love that song! Note to self: Download for iPod!).

When she returns home, she feels she has changed--but so have the circumstances at home. Ignacio has a job at Flushing Burgers (an unfortunate appellation for a food establishment). Justin bedazzles his name on his cap and when Ignacio balks says, "I was trying to put the YOU in uniform!"

Okay, so some things HAVEN'T changed.

At Mode there are even more changes: Daniel has been ousted and Wilhelmina is running the show. Willie's reign of terror includes all black and white decor and sub-arctic temps. It's so bad that Mark and Amanda are absolutely THRILLED to see Betty back. The reunion doesn't last long as Betty finds assisting Daniel means working at Player, a men's magazine that features hot biker chicks rather than fashionable chic.

As Betty is adapting to the new environment, Daniel is adjusting to being a father to D.J. aka Daniel Jr. (Julian De La Celle), Hilda making compromises for her relationship with the married Coach Diaz and Ignacio is trying to please his bitch-on-wheels boss, Kimmie Keegan (Lindsay Lohan).

Turns out Kimmie used to torment Betty in high school, but now is jealous of her glamorous life. This culminates in one helluva food fight followed by apologies and heartfelt conversations all round--Betty and Kimmie, Betty and Ignacio, Betty and Hilda, Daniel and D.J. Well everyone except for Claire and Alexis--due to Wilhelmina's machinations, Alexis has killed off Claire's Hot Flash magazine. Claire reflects that Willie was able to get Alexis to oust Daniel, and now her. How much longer until she finds a way to get rid of Alexis? Not too much longer--Rebecca Romjin's pregnancy with twins is definitely starting to show, so obviously her exit from Mode will coincide with her maternity leave...

Betty's three goals were 1. find an apartment, 2. get more responsibility at work and 3. avoid romantic entanglements. She accomplished numbers one and two, but there's a snag with goal number three in the form of musician neighbor Jesse (Val Emmich) who returns Betty's "B" necklace and serenades her with a cover of Tom Petty's American Girl as the episode ended.

The previews for next week looked like fun: Betty becomes Wille's protege. How did the tagline go? "When you make a deal with the devil, there's hell to pay!"

The Office featured a whacked weight loss contest, the return of Ryan (this time temping as a receptionist to replace Pam while she attends design school in the Big Apple) and Jim's proposal to Pam--which was surprisingly romantic despite the rain and truck-stop setting.

The weight loss challenge brings out the crazy in everyone. Kelly collapses from her cleansing routine and later Creed sells her a tapeworm. Stanley does leg lifts with paper reams. Dwight replaces vending machine snacks with pieces of fruit.

The insanity leads Dwight to drive Phyllis out to an abandoned warehouse and then leave her to walk back--because she needed the exercise. This leads to an intervention with Michael displaying his world famous interpersonal skills--wearing a fat suit and posting pictures of Elvis (in his later years), the Stay-Puf Marshmallow man and Jabba the Hutt. He tells Dwight, "Apologize for making her walk five miles--which for her is basically a death march!"

Andy, however, is really excited about losing weight for the wedding. "I really want to have washboard abs when Angela first sees me naked." Meanwhile the blushing bride-to-be is sneaking off to storeroom rendevous with Dwight and giving Andy a list of impossible list of wedding demands: a thousand year old church in the continental U.S., rainbows and there may have been a unicorn in there.

According to Andy, every little boy fantasizes about his dream wedding--but he's miffed when Angela shoots down his honeymoon plans: "But this is where my parents decided not to get divorced!" How long are we giving this engagement when the groom wants his school acapella group, A Whole Lotta Treble, to not only perform at the ceremony (Angela's choice of song: The Little Drummer Boy), but also gang up to be his best man?

It was pretty brilliant to bring Ryan back as Pam's replacement. So funny to see the fallen wunderkind groveling mea culpas to his old co-workers (although adding Jim and Kevin to his "list" for when he's back on top again...)--especially Kelly, who was rubbing his nose in her relationship with Darryl. Michael copies Ryan by growing a goatee--and then shaves it off after Ryan does. Which leaves Dwight, who has grown a goatee to match Michael, out in the cold as usual.

A brief but memorable appearance by Jan who says about her growing business enterprise: "Remember last week when they held the vigil for that girl who went missing? Guess whose candles they used?" Which sets up the triangle between Jan and Michael and new HR person, Holly--who finally learns in this episode that Kevin is not mentally challenged.

And speaking of HR people, we got a follow-up on Toby in Costa Rica, hospitalized after a tragic zipline accident. Poor Toby!

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