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July 30, 2014

How to turn Ugly Betty around next season

by Erin Martell, posted May 29th 2008 1:24PM
America FerreraUgly Betty definitely avoided the sophomore slump, but something was missing from the show's post-strike episodes. Elements that made the first season great were left out of the second part of season two. Fortunately, Ugly Betty only needs to make some small changes to return to its former glory. Feel free to add your own suggestions to my list.

Bring Cliff back - It's nice to see Marc do something besides taunt Betty or do Wili's bidding. Season one's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" proved that Marc has a heart, and his relationship with Cliff continued to explore that sensitive side. Marc found love by looking beyond surface beauty, which is what the show is all about. The post-strike episodes favored Betty's love triangle at the expense of the other characters' relationships. Why have so many well-written relationships if you're only going to focus on one or two? The fantastic ensemble cast had better get more screen time in season three.

More time at Mode - This will be a lost easier to accomplish, now that Wilhelmina Slater has returned to the Mode offices. "Jump," the season two finale, reminded me that random Mode silliness, like a charity softball game with the staff of Elle, leads to a lot of hilarious moments. Season one featured these storylines more often, while this season had a lot of scenes that took us out of the Mode world (I thought that Betty's Wicked field trip would never end). I'd like to see more episodes like "Secretaries Day" and "Fey's Sleigh Ride" (my all-time favorite). Both episodes relied heavily on the Mode characters for humor, but still had plenty of solid away-from-the-office scenes.

Give Gio a chance - I understand that Betty probably chose herself at the end of this season, but that shouldn't take Gio out of the running for good. Season two gave us dozens of reasons why Gio was a better match for Betty than Henry was. I can't imagine that the writers would build up so much support for Betty and Gio and not follow through on it. My main concern is that the third season will leave things up in the air for a while before letting the romance develop. I'd rather see Betty and Gio go out on a date ASAP.

Give us villains that we can root for - Even Wilhelmina needs a break sometimes. Alexis hasn't been consistently evil--she can't decide if she's a villain, a loyal member of the Meade family, or a vulnerable transgendered person. Since the show is part telenovela, I'd like to see more characters that love to be bad. Nick Pepper was a reliable jerk, but he might get phased out along with Rebecca Romijn, who plays his boss. Jayma Mays' Charlie was more of a pain in the butt than a villain. I'm ready for Betty to have her own worthy adversary, like the Meades have Wili. This is where Lindsay Lohan could really shine next season. We already saw her being horrible to Betty in a flashback, so why not make her a grown-up mean girl? Ideally the show's newest villain would be a series regular, but Lohan would be a step in the right direction.

Keep up the Betty-Claire interaction - One thing that I loved about season two was the relationship between Betty and Claire Meade. I've always thought that Claire was a perfect mentor for Betty; Betty even confessed that she admired Claire's life and career. In many ways, Claire took the place of Sofia Reyes this season (before Sofia betrayed Daniel, of course), giving Betty advice and tough love. The scenes between Judith Light and America Ferrera are always genuinely touching. Both actresses totally get the show and know how to pull off the positive dialogue without being too cutesy.

Get back to basics - I fell in love with the show's message of acceptance and loving yourself as you are. This theme was present during season two, but it didn't get as much attention this time. There were exceptions, of course. Justin went through a rough identity crisis during his mourning process, and Marc learned to love someone who wasn't his usual type. After "Zero Worship," however, the message was replaced with baby drama and relationship issues. Yes, the show has soapy content, but the overall theme is what makes Ugly Betty stand out. I can watch love triangles and melodrama on many other shows; I love Ugly Betty for its positive message.

What would you like to see more of on the next season of Ugly Betty?

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marisolace

I agree on all points, really, aside from maybe more Mode. The place is great, but it doesn't have to be a central thing.

As for Gio, I'm all for giving him every chance in the world, but they shouldn't go on a date ASAP. Let it linger for a while. Hell, it's like he said, nobody -wants- him to be the rebound guy. The date kind of defeats the purpose. Romantic tension might be cuter than them suddenly in a relationship, you know?

June 03 2008 at 10:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jen1

I love Gio and Betty together. Gosh, they're perfect and I just know that when they do go on that fateful first date, it'll be just as! I think Betty chose herself at the end too, but I think that the episode gave us many clues to believe that Gio is the one that's in her heart now. She told him twice that she wanted to go with him to Rome; she told Henry nothing. She couldn't. It would be what he didn't want to hear and so she said nothing, but with Gio, she said it: "OK. Yes, I'll go to Rome" (then Gio's *sigh*, seal with a kiss!) and then "No, Gio. I do." (then Henry shows up). So, I'm very confident that Betty will choose Gio eventually and I too hope it's very much sooner than later. Please, please! It's true, there's so much wonderful build-up to Gio. He's proven himself to be her perfect match, her supporter, one who puts her before himself. He's always thinking of her. I love the way he looks at her, *g*. And I can't wait for the moment when she tells him in no uncertain terms that, "Yes!" she feels the same. I need spoilers, lol!

June 02 2008 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
david

the strike was the worst thing to happen to UB. the pre-strike eps were great! but after the strike it wasnt the same. the eps were horrible. i didnt care for any of them and i didnt like the finale. just bring me back my Betty.

May 29 2008 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anna

I agree mostly with what you said but I dont so much agree with the whole bring in more MODE. I missed some of the Suarez house dynamics this season. Nothing really happened with Papi and last year with his Constance and immigration stuff = hilarious!

I also don't entirely agree with the whole bringing back the message of loving who you are. I adore the message but I think it was lost long before Zero Worship (which by the way was definitly about loving yourself. 0-worship was seriously needed at that point).

And if you havnt heard, 2 producers were fired after the strike because they were changing the show too much. Silvio Horta (creator) has said many times that the last post strike episodes (5) and the new season will be refocussed on Betty giving her point of view with the main theme of keeping HEART. I actually thought the last 5 episodes were perfect...they wern't crazy over the top (expect Renee, but since they started they story line before the strike, they had to end it fast). I actually cried at the end of Betty's Baby Bump where Betty obviouslly decides to leave Henry after his baby is born. Also, in the episode after that,we see a little Betty and her problems. That episode was so amazing.

May 29 2008 at 11:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lucyfan62

I do hope they bring Cliff back more often, and I pray they don't lose Judith Light with the reduction of time Rebecca Romijn is getting next season. Claire needs to be there for Betty and we need to see her and Wili have a cat fight in a lily pond!

May 29 2008 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt

You're so spot on with this, I totally agree.

I do think that if they're not going to use Amanda as much as they did Season 1, then they should give the girl her own show. Perhaps they should give her a show of her own anyway. Or add her to Samantha Who? It's been a while since I've seen a relatively new actress have such great comedic timing, she's just wonderful.

I think they also f'ed up by what they've done with Alexis that's driven Romijn to cut back her status with the show. I was totally a fan of Pepper Dennis, because I think Romijn is not only amazingly beautiful, but is oddly a good actress, especially in the Alexis role, but they've decided to give us a steak without any meat, and it's probably the best for her to leave (sorta).

If they give Lohan a storyline, I'll wait to judge until then. I'm protective of who they ad, didn't even like Gio for a bit (tho now I do, he's just too lovable). For all we know, Lohan could be quite good in the role.

I agree though, I *love* the Claire/Betty interactions, I think that brings about the "basics" you mentioned. It challenges Betty to grow and accept her as herself rather than what she thinks she needs to be. Being a young professional myself, I relate to that sense of finding yourself within your career. I'm sooooooooo glad they added Judith Light full time, she's too fantastic!

May 29 2008 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott Schrantz

"I'm ready for Betty to have her own worthy adversary"

I thought this is what Marc and Amanda were supposed to be. A rivalry at the lower rungs of the company to mirror the Meade-Wili rivalry. But lately they've been getting their own storylines, and hardly have time to throw a Chalupa joke Betty's way.

May 29 2008 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz

I agree with all of these points. I hope the writers listen!

May 29 2008 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
keithnl

I think alot of these things are going to happen in the next season, what with the move to new york.

I say that but the casting of lohan in a seven episode arc, still bugs the hell out of me despite assurances to the contrary.

May 29 2008 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to keithnl's comment
sarah

i concur. throwing Lohan in the mix really doesnt do it for me. having her in a random flashback is one thing, but thats the only place she should stay.

thanks for bringing up Marc's relationship. i thought i was the only one who missed the St. James - St. Paul interactions.

and please, God, more Amanda!

May 29 2008 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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