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July 26, 2014

Ugly Betty: Grin and Bear It

by Erin Martell, posted Oct 19th 2007 12:40AM

America Ferrera and Victor Garber

(S02E04) I felt like I was watching a bizarro version of Ugly Betty this week. Betty was a cheater, Justin belched, and the guy from Dawson's Creek was an insensitive jerk! What's next--Hilda dressing conservatively? There were several unpleasant surprises in this episode, but Gio's absence probably made some of the viewers happy. It's always difficult to watch the episodes where obstacles are set up for each character, but how else can there be a happy ending later on? Still, it took a while to get over the shock of seeing Justin wearing his Dad's leather jacket and hearing him say things like "Whatevs."

Season Two has been full of new Mode faces, and we were introduced to another one in this episode. There wasn't enough time to form a complete opinion about Kenny from Accounting. All we know is that he likes to rap and is kind of an eavesdropper. He didn't quack once, though, so I'm giving him a chance. Sheila, Wilhelmina's disciple from the season premiere, was back. I didn't realize that Wili was planning on leaving Mode once she married Bradford, and that Sheila was next in line for the Creative Director position. Will Sheila figure out Wili's plan to destroy Mode and make way for Slater? I'm guessing that she'll play a larger part in the Meade power struggle in future episodes. Why else would they cast Illeana Douglas in the role?

I think that I experienced deja vu during the Alexis-faces-discrimination scenes. Wasn't this already covered last season with Jerry O'Connell? This plot mostly served to bring Alexis and Daniel closer together and give Wilhelmina an opportunity to sabotage the magazine. At first I wanted the old, overly competitive Alexis back, but I'm willing to put that on hold until she and Daniel can band together to stop Wili's wedding. Hopefully Alexis hasn't forgotten how to destroy her enemies. It would be nice to see the Meade siblings bond over something besides magazine publishing, too.

Amanda's search for her biological father led her in an unexpected direction. How fantastic is it that Wilhelmina used to be Wanda, Fey Sommers' frumpy assistant? No wonder she can't stand to look at Betty. It must remind her of the bad old days before she was the toast of the fashion world. Amanda's list of possible fathers was more than a little strange: Ted Kennedy, Warren Beatty, and Ricardo Montalban, among others. While it's doubtful that any of these men would play the role, I really hope that they get a cool guest star to play Amanda's father. Any ideas?

What have they done to my sweet little Justin? Talking back, drinking beer, and kissing girls--what happened to Justin the Intern? I knew that Santos' basketball would lead to something horrible, and I was right. Henry had no luck with him; perhaps Marc needs to pay a visit to the Suarez house. I'd rather read "Queen of My Own Prom" than watch Justin become a delinquent and make out with a tween hoochie.

Betty might need to stop watching American Idol if she wants to improve her writing. She was making Idol comparisons left and right when describing her "Finding Your Voice" class. Sometimes I think that Betty is destined to be a misfit wherever she goes. The only place she ever fit in was MYW, and she ultimately chose to leave that job. Still, it's hard to believe that the only friend she would have in writing class is the post-breakup emo guy. Victor Garber's portrayal of the brutal, hyper-critical professor was excellent. None of my college professors ever gave students mean nicknames like Clappy and Crappy, but I'm sure those kinds of people are out there. Wouldn't Betty's earlier college experiences have prepared her for a teacher like this? On a side note, her guilt nightmare with Poquito was hysterical.

The results are in, and Henry is, indeed, the father of Charlie's baby. Boo! It was so sad watching Henry cling to his dream of being with Betty. It was even harder to witness Henry's frustration after failing to reach Justin. He referred to nine as a prime number, for heaven's sake! Part of me believed that the baby plot was going to get wrapped up early in the season, but I guess we're in a for long wait to see how the issue gets resolved. Keep the faith, people!

Funniest quotes from "Grin and Bear It":

  • "She left for Dusseldorf with my heart in her backpack." --Unnamed emo guy in Betty's writing class
  • "If you have nothing to write about, try killing yourself. If you fail, you'll have something to write about. If you succeed, your troubles will be over." --Professor Barrett
  • "Like Simon Cowell, but with a Pulitzer." --Betty's description of Professor Barrett
  • "Friends don't let friends wear glitter before noon." --Amanda
  • "Anna Nicole Smith. Bam!" --Alexis' idea for Mode's new cover girl
  • "I was a simple girl with an evil plan." --Wili
  • "And the gays? Couldn't have an Oscar party without them!" --Luke Carnes, hater of the week
  • "When Fey started puking up her breakfast, she was thrilled. Until she realized she was pregnant." --Wili, telling the story of how Amanda came to be
  • "Catch you later, calculator." --Henry
  • "You really shouldn't be wearing clothes like that until you're...ever." --Henry, to Justin's (sigh) girlfriend
  • "Holy Rosie, Oprah, Martha!" Marc, on seeing the mock-up of Slater

Next week--Henry is ripped, Claire sets her sights on Wili, and Justin gets arrested. Seriously, Henry is ripped!

Who should play Amanda's biological father?
Ted Kennedy14 (5.9%)
Warren Beatty53 (22.3%)
Ricardo Montalban58 (24.4%)
Some other Studio 54 regular.113 (47.5%)

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icecream-5602

i think the ugly betty 2 is becoming more complecated, betty is not the comfidente girl we loved before. i just don't like this very much. besides, willi is not as beautiful as the last season.

October 21 2007 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scotty

As to Amanda's father, I thought the writers were suggesting that it might be Halston. Was he in the magazine photo?

October 20 2007 at 9:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dwacon_com

The surrealism fits -- especially with the "bizzaro" twists...

October 19 2007 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tee

I am loving this season! Unlike so many other programs, I never regret the hour I spend watching this show.

It seems to me that Betty's challenge this season is keeping (and perhaps defining) her integrity while pursuing her passions. I think is a struggle many people face when obstacles bump into their desires. And I think it's fitting that while Betty isn't Mode shallow, she is realizing that she is just as imperfect as her co-workers.

By the way, I didn't know what was more shocking, Betty passing off the essay as her own, or her inability to see the stories she had to tell? She watched her ister and nephew grieve over Santos while her father was in Mexico, unsure if he would be able to return to the United States. And did I mention that she did it while her heart was breaking over Henry? If that is not gritty, then I don't know what it!

Speaking of Henry, I am glad that he has some competition! Last season Henry helped Betty realize that it is not enough for someone to care for you, you have to have things in common. This season, Henry is drama and entering into a completely different life phase than Betty: fatherhood. Enter Gio, who, like Betty, is pursuing his dreams. Plus he sems to like her and is unattached. I cannot see why Betty shouldn't give him a try. Henry created this problem. Just because Betty liked him, doesn't mean she has to deal with it.


October 19 2007 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kris

I'd just liek to remind people that Justin did not change his personality overnight. Last episode Henry said they couldnt take a Paternity test until her 14th week. Girls typically find out their pregnant at 6 weeks, the season premiere happened 3 weeks after. So thats 9 weeks which means this episode happened around 4-5 weeks later. I know it isnt very consitent seeing how it was Betty's first day at the writing class and she signed up for it like five weeks before. I don't know, they seemed to make it like the episode happened at different timelines when they didn't. Bit confusing but, what can you really do?

October 19 2007 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
christina

Thank you #4. I agree with you but I don't think you have to be a writer to understand what's going on... Do people expect characters to stay exactly the same when dramatic things happen to them?? The show is making it blatantly obvious to the viewers why some of the characters are reacting the way they are... They pretty much explained why Betty chose to not read her original paper. Although Betty is a strong girl, she does get tired of people laughing at her, especially at her job. She thought that she would get a lot of respect in her writing class but she quickly realized that wasn't going to happen, so she panicked: she wanted to impress her classmates and teacher with something dramatic and wanted to do whatever possible to gain respect from them.

And my goodness people, Justin's father was killed in one of the most unexpected and horrific ways! His dad that he recently reunited with was killed and people expect Justin to be the same person that we all grew to love?? Characters sometimes evolve and change when the worst things happen to them. Characters aren't suppose to stay the same throughout the entire run - they're going to experience certain things that will infact change them. I think what Justin is going through is just a phase - something that won't last very long - but he is still experimenting and trying to deal with the fact that he lost his father and is trying to get a little of him back by trying be the person that his father was - or - be the person his father once wanted him to be.

I do find it odd when people react this way when characters don't behave the way they normally do. I would rather watch a show where characters progress and change a little when defining things happen to them rather than watch a show where the characters stay the same throughout the entire series.

For instance I spent 4 years watching Smallville and I swear those characters are the same people that they were from season 1 to season 4! None of the characters progressed at all. All of that scary stuff that they experienced and still none of them changed, not even a little bit? I heard that the show got better in season 5, but still, I got tired of seeing Lana act the same way in every episode. I rather watch a show like Ugly Betty or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer where you actually see the characters evolve, progress, or develop from season to season.

October 19 2007 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Becker

But this show is all about excess. If Justin were to just slowly or subtly "decline" into the world of macho straightness, wouldn't that violate the nature of the show? Justin especially is all about performing (more so than just being dramatic), which is one reason I really like the idea of Marc being the one to bring him out of it. A little irony there, the biggest performers trying to be true to themselves. However, I wasn't a big fan of taking Betty down the plagiarizing route either; I assumed she'd have broken right away at the first pang of guilt, and it actually made me uncomfortable to see her trying to weasel out responsibility.

October 19 2007 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gubbyatwork

I said loyal fan...my first comment about not being a fan much longer was when it was still fresh in my tortured brain. I would never stop loving this show...even if it goes all dark and twisty. But I want the old Betty and the old Justin back soon. I will shut up now.

October 19 2007 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gubbyatwork

Ok...I may not think like a writer, but I do think like a viewer. I didn't think it was believable that characters became such drastic dopplegangers. Betty behaved so out of character, I was wondering if it weren't an imposter. She lied, cheated, stole written work from another person. And for no good reason except to avoid ridicule and censure...are you sure that's Betty Suarez? I remember her as the person who stood up to that kind of adversity since day one (granted with a few moments of doubt here and there) at Mode and that she had made it through a full college education as a writer prior to this time. Her going back to take writing courses seemed a tad reaching to me. She had been writing prior to this (has everyone forgotten her article from when Ms. Hayek was doing a guest role?) and with some success. She has also been the touchstone keeping Daniel motivated and on the path of right. Now all of a sudden we're supposed to believe she's digressed to committing plagiarism? Nope, not even this loyal fan.
And Justin's transformation of grief is just too unrealistic for me to take it seriously. Even though I will admit he does have a flair for the dramatic. I just didn't think they should have taken it so far. Perhaps he might have started hanging out with people like that, maybe gotten pulled by the lure of his father's memory to engage in a more subtle way. But the beer-swilling, girl-kissing, disrespecting, leather-jacket version of Justin was too much, too soon for plausible direction. It was reminiscent of Fonzie doing the whole motorcycle jumping thing. People knew he was too cool to bend to that type of grandstanding and the numbers dropped like a rock in the ocean. I just don't want to see the things I admire in these characters go down the drain. I hope they will resolve these slip-ups quickly. It's really painful to watch.

October 19 2007 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
greg

kissing a girl...........YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 19 2007 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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