How to turn Ugly Betty around next season
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?