Friday, October 3, 2008

Ugly Betty - Filing for the Enemy

It was the classic battle of good vs. evil on TV last night--and no, I'm not talking about the Vice Presidential debate.

The match-up was between sweet and meek Betty and the delightfully nasty Wilhelmina. Willie decides that in order to solidify her position as new Editor-in-Chief at Mode, she needs to thwart any attempts by Daniel to regain his position. And that means luring away the power behind the throne in the form of perky assistant Betty Suarez.

Willie takes Betty out to lunch to make her pitch for Betty's return to Mode. She starts sucking up to Betty, telling her that she loves her blouse. "No you don't," says Betty forcing Wilhelmina to admit she lied. "It's hideous. Like driving through Ohio."

I wonder if they will be an outcry from angry Ohioans. Or if they're too busy working their debate audience reaction meters...

Betty ends up taking the job and scores some points by helping Willie to score an ad sale. She tells Marc that Wilhelmina must have been happy because she smiled. "She wasn't smiling. She was showing her teeth!" is Marc's reply.

Wilhelmina's reaction is to send Betty on a seemingly impossible scavenger hunt of rare things (including a tiara worn by Catherine the Great) she needs to prepare for the launch party for her first issue of Mode. Betty thinks the list is her punishment for speaking up at the meeting, but when she actually manages to get the Museum of Russian Antiquities to loan the tiara for the launch party, Willie tells her it was actually a test.

"Maybe you are the one," she tells Betty.

"Like The Lord of the Rings?" Betty asks.

Willie tells Betty that she sees a lot of herself in her. "I am going to groom you. And Lord knows you need grooming." Later Marc tells Betty that she and Willie have more in common than he thought--and he doesn't mean it in a complimentary way.

This causes Betty to go into a dream sequence where she becomes Willi-fied--shouting at people, firing employees and kicking puppies. When she wakes and starts to shred bags of mail to make confetti for the launch party, she notices lots of positive letters to the Editor directed to Daniel.

She shows the mail to Daniel, trying to get him to stand up for himself. "Anything you truly want has to be worth fighting for!" she tells him.

Meanwhile, Daniel finds out that Daniel Jr.'s grandparents in France are fighting for custody. He is afraid to ask D.J. what his preference is, but Betty's remark inspires him to raise the issue. D.J. says he wants to live with his father and so Daniel says that they will fight.

On the losing side of the battle is Hilda, whose relationship with Coach Diaz is a tug-of-war between her and his wife. Although he tells her, "You're not the other woman, you're the only woman," and schedules a "real date" for the two of them, he ends up standing Hilda up when his wife unexpectedly is back in town.

And Christina, who agreed to be Willie's surrogate in order to get money to pay for her husband Stuart's treatment for a rare liver disease, also deals with betrayal. Suspecting that Stuart is using drugs again, she sends hair samples to be tested by a lab. When the results come back, she tells Stuart, "It's like Rush Limbaugh fornicating with Amy Winehouse and they spawned you!"

[Cue Rimshot]

In the end, the sales numbers for Wilhelmina's flagship issue are not good. And she is toppled from her perch as Editor-in-Chief much in the same way that Claire tips over her ice sculpture. Alexis announces the re-appointment of Daniel as Editor and of course Daniel rehires Betty as his assistant. And all is right in the world and at Mode.

Until next week...

For all you die-hard Betty fans, season two is available on DVD. My bud, blogging goddess Stevie Wilson has a review at L.A. Story. I got a chance to check out the 5 DVD set of the complete second season and here's some interesting things I learned:

1. Seasons one and two were filmed in Los Angeles, but they've moved to New York City for season three.

2. Wilhelmina is inspired by some great Disney villainesses like Cruella de Vil and Snow White's evil stepmother.

3. The surnames for Henry Grubstick and Amanda Tanen came from production staff members David Grubstick and Brian Tanen.

The DVD bonus features include:

  • A tour of the Mode sets with Amanda Tanen (Becky Newton) and Marc St. James (Michael Urie)
  • A tour of the Suarez abode led by Tony Plana and Mark Indelicato (Ignacio and Justin)
  • Wilhelmina Slater: Love to Hate Her
  • The complete episode arcs (in multiple installments) of the telenovelas that Hilda and Ignacio watch obsessively.
  • I Love Betty
  • Deleted scenes and bloopers

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