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September 30, 2014

Ugly Betty: Secretaries Day

by Julia Ward, posted May 4th 2007 1:55AM
Ugly Betty Secretaries Day
(S01E21)
I wish Ugly Betty's Christina could sit down with The Office's Pam and tell her the same thing she told Betty - "You can take care of yourself, princess." How original. How wonderful. How like real life.

As a television viewer, I have been tortured by a countless number of inevitable, yet doomed romances. Maddie and David on Moonlighting. Diane and Sam on Cheers. Jim and Pam on The Office. I desperately want Henry and Betty to get together in a way that probably doesn't reflect well on my own state of mind. (Seriously, I do get the difference between fiction and reality.) Yet, it's okay if Henry and Betty don't end up shacking up together in Jackson Heights and having tiny nerdlings because, as Christina pointed out, Betty's going to be alright either way. That's a lesson all little princesses need to learn, and with the kiddie juggernaut that is the Disney Princesses, I'm glad Betty's out there to deliver its message of self-reliance and inner beauty. It also manages to dole out a few lessons on class, sexuality, ethnicity and how to be both a decent and fabulous person. Seriously, how can a show be so family-friendly and so subversive at the same time?

Well, on to the goods. There was so much going on this week that I needed to break it down.

Betty and Henry's Middle Ages Throwdown
I'm usually not one to use text message abbreviations in my writing, but OMG WTF? Would Nick Pepper not be fired? Throwing a roll at Betty as she was a second away from winning plane fare to save her dad from being deported was one thing, but beating Henry to a bloody pulp? What the hell? I was so happy to see Betty take him down, but what a jerk. I actually enjoy seeing a super straight, frat boy character like Nick in the Mode environment, but I couldn't believe his behavior.

I was glad to see Charlie stand up for herself instead of nebbishly standing by while her boyfriend curried favor with Betty. I'd be pissed, too. My personal sympathies, of course, lie with Betty, but you can't always get what you want. You can, however, get people jousting and mocking serving wenches - always a good time. If it were The Tudors, they'd all be naked.

Wilhelmina's Take-Over
Man, she's good at being bad, and apparently so power hungry that she'd have Marc punch her in the face. Ouch. That's never fun - when someone asks you to "punch them as hard as you can." If I had a nickel... Anyway, we also learned that rich people wear hats when they visit people in jail, and Claire has been made someone named "Yoga's" bitch.

Alexis' Broken Heart
I finally felt genuinely sorry for Alexis. Those Meade kids are one messed-up, lost bunch. As Betty says, they have everything, and yet, they can't figure out their own problems. What her father did to her is just plain cruel. Is she, however, planning on murdering Bradford? Or, just having a "problem eliminated?" Maybe, he'll be kidnapped by the Others and wind up on the Lost island where he can confront Desmond.

Daniel's Sex Addiction
This is the one note that rang completely false to me. I was already wary when Daniel's playboy behavior got kicked up to full-blown sex addiction, but I went with it. After all, his mom is an alcoholic. It's not beyond reason that he would have some kind of addiction - one that has apparently shifted from sex to pills. I thought they might be pain killers until that awful film speed-up at the end. Were they supposed to be amphetamines? I remember an episode of Hotel with the same plot except they called the pills "Black Beauties." It didn't end well. At the very least, Daniel could become a very successful long haul truck driver on his new drug of choice. I'm getting really tired of Daniel not maturing even a bit. I know the show is part telenovela so they've got to keep the melodrama intact, but come on, cut the character a little slack.

Hilda's Cosmetology Exam
Speaking of maturing, however, Hilda was ready to get all growed up thanks to a forceful, important lecture for Ignacio that summed up the whole episode nicely - about being an adult, taking responsibility, etc. Hilda went right to town and clipped those acrylics off. Fortunately, she gave herself a manicure later. Excellent use of "Eye of Tiger." Whatever they paid for the rights, it was worth it.

Amanda's Acting Career
Amanda's acting reel. Genius. Her repartee with Marc this week was excellent. Someone's got to be mashing up just their scenes on YouTube, right? Anyone got a little extra times on their hands? I need a montage.

A few of this week's bons mots:
Marc: "I'm not going stag, hag." Amanda: "Buy your own beer, queer."
"That's great for Charlie and salmonella." - Betty
"Barbara didn't cut her nails to play Yentl. Why should you?" - Justin to Hilda
"She's allergic to pants." - Daniel on his next model date
"Brush it high, or say goodbye." - Hilda's cosmetology teacher
"Hey, grandma." - Marc and Amanda's latest nickname for Betty

Wilhelmina Quip of the Week: You are so white sometimes.

Ratings-wise, I would give this episode a 7, but I'm going to have to subtract a point for Daniel's new drug habit. I'd add half a point back in for introducing the general public to the prison lingo "toilet wine," but we can't do decimal points. So, a 6, it is.

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Jim Kosmicki

the speedup at the end was odd -- but I'm betting on the pills being placebos -- simply giving Daniel something to think about and believe in besides the sex.

May 14 2007 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
orimental

I loved the Middle Ages promo vid starring Amanda. It's like a throwback to Becki Newton's Olive Garden commercial.

May 05 2007 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nicole

Does anyone know what the song that was that played at the end of the episode is called?

May 05 2007 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C.A

Pretty good episode.. I loved it when they kept saying "Hi grandma" to betty

May 04 2007 at 9:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
M2B

I love Betty & Henry; I wish writers didn't think the only way to create tension is to keep people who are clearly in love separate. there's something sad or cynical, that we wouldn't be interested enough to tune in to watch a functional, happy couple. although I wanted Betty to call Nick a "bee-atch" when she jousted his sorryness.

May 04 2007 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julia Ward

I agree, Michelle. Shifting your addiction from one thing to another isn't at all unusual. I'm just disappointed that after a season under Betty's influence that Daniel's character hasn't grown as much as I hoped he would. I also thought the "pusher" scene with the Psychology magazine guy was pretty lame. That was so Lifetime Movie of the Week/After School Special - not Ugly Betty. I hope Helen Hunt doesn't guest star, get into angel dust and jump out a window. (I refer you to the classic Angel Dusted circa 1981.) ;)

May 04 2007 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allan

You are so right Michelle(5).

I used to be totally addicted to shoe shopping until I discovered Krispee Kreme donuts.

Now, who cares about shoes? I can't even see my feet.

May 04 2007 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michelle

Actually Daniel's shift from sex to pills does ring true because most addicts have been known to trade one addiction for another in an effort to curb the more dangerous habit or to simply avoid facing the underlying problem. So while I agree that the shift is rather abrupt, it is far from a rare occurrence.

May 04 2007 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allan

Julia, dear, you are so right about Nick's behaviour: it was far too over the top. as was the willingness of his fellow workers to stand by so passively. Not even the Mode crowd is that bizarre. A definite misstep, though everything else was great fun.

May 04 2007 at 3:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BabyLove77

Wilhelmina Quip of the Week should be:......"I need visible bruises, damn it!"

You've got me glued to the TV set just trying to figure out what you'll use each week! I love it!

May 04 2007 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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