In the last couple of weeks, my reviews have all more or less mentioned something about the show losing some of the appeal brought to it by the initial tension that defined Season 1 and 2. I’d like to apologize about that because of course the tension would have to change. Dragging something on and on would be laziness, bad writing, cheap and everything Ugly Betty is not. The fact that it is changing at the rhythm of the growth of its characters shows that the show adapts, and adaptation, we know, gives way to survival.
Hurrah for Ugly Betty surviving!
And so, after this realisation hit me sometime between this week’s episode of Heroes and my NaNoWriMo-ing, I started thinking about what could possibly happen. I came up with the brilliant conclusion that, well… I didn’t quite know what to expect anymore. Ugly Betty has entered something of a safe zone, with only little things rocking the boat. While it is still filled with amazing moments and brilliant one-liners and no hour of UB leaves me bored and itching to reach for the remote if that boat doesn’t get knocked over at least once by the end of the season, we might start getting quite bored with the entire thing (what? We’re not watching a reality show people! TV is about instant gratification!).
Two of the little ‘rock the boat’ story lines were YETI and the Wilhelmina/Connor/Molly/Daniel love rectangle (or parallelogram, if you prefer).
The YETI-related tension was interesting in itself, but also in that Mark and Betty are now on the same team: they are both assistants to editors who are reaching for bigger and better things. I wonder where that is going to leave Amanda, if she will get jealous of the possible tightening of the Mark-Betty bond and how that jealousy just might affect Amanda and Betty’s roommate situation.
The YETI plot line brought us some surprises on the one hand, and on the other, confirmed things that we have known for awhile.
On the one hand, we get to see a less superficial side of Mark (perhaps the side that attracted Cliff?) as well as his dedication to pursuing his dream of owning his own magazine. He spent three whole months working on his application – which makes me wonder if he had already tried out for YETI? His angle on the celebrity magazine – commenting on the reasons why we are so obsessed with celebrity – was also a pleasant surprise. Were Betty even the slight bit arrogant, she would have taken it as an unpleasant surprise, but the Betty that we know and love took it as reason to not accept the place she had been given in YETI because of her ethnic background.
On the other hand, we see Daniel yet AGAIN choosing himself over Betty. Instead of writing a letter of recommendation for Betty and scheduling time for a dry run before her presentation, he chooses to make macaroni earrings with Molly (who happens to be an engaged woman). To all Dettyers, I have said it and I will say it again: even if he always comes through at the end (a six page letter of recommendation? I’ll have one of those, please!) Daniel is a great guy, but it is nowhere near good enough for Betty!
Now about that parallelogram. I am very proud of Connor for not falling for Wilhelmina, and not even kissing her – great job, that’s the type of man we need more of! But… Then again, he was playing with fire (how else would you call a combination of alcohol, a beautiful woman and an intimate setting?). As for Wilhelmina, answering to Mark’s question as to what the plan is with a scathing: “Nothing. There is no plan I’m not going to beg?” – was she giving up because she lost her respect for a man who is dating a ‘mousy teacher’, or because she has gained respect for him and maybe even is a tad bit (very) envious?
On a (much) lighter note, has anyone else noticed how Betty is becoming more stylish? OK, maybe she’s still a little way off, but if you compare the way she dresses now to how she dressed in season 1, she has evolved by leaps and bounds. I love how she has maintained her Bettyness while acquiring some truly Mode-ish flair at the same time. The pieces she wears are, in themselves, quite lovely and worthy of someone working in fashion (do I detect a hint of our lovely seamstress in her selection?). But the way she puts them together is definitely very Bettyish.
Which brings me to something that I really didn’t like, a particular moment that could have been amazing but the way it was given was a little hard to swallow. Near the end of the episode, Hilda and Justin have a lovely mother-son moment. Randy pushed Justin away, and Hilda tells her son that there is nothing wrong with him; tough for Randy for giving up on a great friendship.
Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly agree with the essence of what Hilda is saying. We should absolutely be about what we believe in, and not change according to the whims of those who are around us. However, the words Hilda uses were a little grating. “You’re perfect”, she tells her son. What? Justin’s perfect? Those of you who follow my reviews regularly know just how much I love that character, but I’ll be the first to tell you that neither he, his mother, those who created him nor anyone else (myself included) is perfect.
This is a concept we have taken way too far, the fruits of which we are reaping now in the form of over confident and arrogant people all around us who don’t listen to anyone because they are being who they are. No, no, this is not a rant, I promise! But just think about it. While we should never change the essence of who we are, but shouldn’t we at least accept that we aren’t perfect and always be on the look out to improvement? The way Hilda was presenting the facts to Justin was to say that he’s perfect, therefore he doesn’t need to accept anything from anyone. Can’t Justin simply turn around and say: “Well if I’m perfect, then I don’t need you”?
Enough seriousness for now – I will definitely come back to this on a future post!
Here are some of the little details from this episode that I loved:
- Mark calling Connor Male-hilmina;
- Hilda, after Betty asks for two spoons to drown her sorrows in food: “Two spoons, never a good sign!”
- Mark, taunting Betty about her magazine: “Oh yeah, what is it called, Clashing Patterns Digest?”
- The ‘Da Vinci Code’ moment, when Betty steps into the YETI judging room, with the deep music in the background and her heels resonating cavernously;
- Daniel wearing a little bit of colour this week; loved hot dark purple shirt I spied!
- I’m not sure if I like the more colourful Wilhelmina though. I love the clothes on Vanessa Williams though – wow, that woman is beautiful!
- Betty high on coffee, with her big fat frizzy hair filled with knick knacks;
- Daniel, when he broke Betty’s silence: “Ha! Got you to talk, you can’t go back now!”
- Hilda referring to, euh, the ‘girls’ as the ‘pointer sisters’;
- Molly telling Daniel: “The macaroni earrings you made are surprisingly wearable.”
- Daniel telling Betty: “I know that in 20 years, I’ll probably be your assistant.”
One last thought… My favorite moment was at the very end, when Mark called Betty right after she heard from Daniel that she made it into YETI. Then, at the end of their conversation, Daniel calls for Betty and Wilhelmina calls for Mark, and Marks rolls his eyes at Betty. That was an absolute fabulous moment.
Now, what would a Mark-Betty alliance do? It’s obvious that Mark has some brains under that lovely mop. Perhaps they could work together like Daniel and Wilhelmina now do? They could REALLY rock that metaphorical Mode boat, couldn’t they. Maybe even start a competing magazine? Or… Take over?
Such a great episode. Too bad life isn’t tidy like in Ugly Betty, i.e. that you don’t always get what you deserve, be it good or bad. But it does give hope, and it certainly makes you smile.