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Bored to Tears By the "Ugly Betty" Season Finale? You're Not Alone.

You know when the highlight of an episode is a super-saturated flashback to Betty getting selected as a "human shield" in a high school game of dodgeball that you're in for a snoozer of an episode.

Such was the case last night with the season finale of Ugly Betty ("Jump"), which didn't so much as advance the plots as it did end the series' sophomore season with some rather unbelievable "twists" and forced Betty to once again choose between former true love Henry--who, as we all know impregnated his ex-girlfriend and moved to Tucson--or new love interest/sandwich maker Gio, who apparently can afford to pay his rent on his apartment and his prime midtown location-based sandwich shop AND jet off to Rome for a month. (Apparently he keeps down his costs by being the sole employee.)

Personally, I wish she'd ditch both Gio and Henry and move in with Christina (Ashley Jensen), who sadly didn't even appear in the season finale. I understand the executive producers' desire to shift the focus back to Betty but rather than just downplaying Marc, Amanda, and Christina (all of whom I find infinitely more interesting and compelling than Betty's family), we get a subplot about Hilda finally making a move on Coach Diaz (Eddie Cibrian), only to find out he's still married... and then snogging him on the basketball court anyway. Yawn.

I find Gio's interest in Betty hard to believe. Not that Betty isn't cute and spunky, but because a guy like Gio would never, ever pay any attention to someone who looks like Betty. I'm sorry but it's true. Nor would he invite her to go to Rome for a month with him when they haven't so much even been out on a date. That's to say nothing about the fact that I find it hard to believe that self-absorbed Daniel would suddenly surprise Betty with a first-class deus ex machina--sorry--I mean first-class tickets and accommodations to Rome for her and Gio. It just completely took me off page there and was so over-scripted as to better even the playing fields between Gio and Henry's proposals. (Don't even get me started on Henry turning up to propose to Betty and then wanting to force her on a plane back to Tucson.)

Was le petit Daniel absolute adorable? Oui, but haven't we had enough drama in the last few weeks with unexpected Meade spawn, what with Wilhelmina's announcement about Bradford's baby? I actually liked that the writers were daring to make Daniel unsympathetic with his reaction to the discovery that he had a son, but they quickly reversed this by having Daniel bond with the boy over shared passions for baseball and supermodels.

Meanwhile, Alexis--who has nothing to do nowadays on the series--suddenly turned on Daniel for no reason and awarded former best friend-turned-nemesis Wilhelmina control of Mode while ousting Daniel altogether. Was this really all the writers could come up with for the once-fantastic Alexis Meade to do?

I understand that the overall creative word du jour for Betty is "heart," but does it mean that it has to be at the expense of "fun" as well? I miss this being a series that could balance soap opera dramatics, hysterical comedy, and touching pathos in the little moments that define our search for identity in the city. Instead, we're tiptoeing back into cloying territory here, but at least no one was shot this season finale during a song and dance number. (Ahem.)

All in all, a pretty unremarkable season finale before the series decamps Los Angeles for new digs in New York City. Will the move spark some creative uptick with Manhattan providing a nice new inspiration for a series that's in desperate need of reinvention? Who can say. But regardless, I hope that next season is better equipped to juggle the funny, the fierce, and the feelings: the real reasons we started to watch Ugly Betty in the first place, because this Betty definitely needs a (creative) makeover.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Ghost Whisperer
(CBS); American Gladiators (NBC); Friday Night SmackDown! (CW; 8-10 pm); Grey's Anatomy (ABC; 8-10 pm); Cheaper By the Dozen (FOX; 8-10 pm)

9 pm: Moonlight (CBS); Dateline (NBC; 9-11 pm)

10 pm:
NUMB3RS (CBS); 20/20 (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Eddie Izzard on BBC America.

Why not kick off your Memorial Day weekend in style with three back-to-back comedy specials starring The Riches' Eddie Izzard in all his cross-dressing glory?


Rae said…
I agree completely. The whole thing was one big ole' yawn. And the cliffhanger with Betty's choice was just kind of ridiculous. Do any of us really believe she's going to choose Henry and Tucson? I really hate it when shows expect us to buy that a character is going to make a decision that we KNOW wouldn't work for the show to continue. (Not that I really think she'd choose Gio either. Whatcha wanna bet we come back and she decided to take a trip on her own instead?)
Anonymous said…
All I can say is that Marco Pennette must be laughing his ass off at how awful this show has gotten. Worst decision ever was to axe him.
rockauteur said…
The media made such a big deal about Lindsay Lohan... I know she is due to come back in 5 or 6 episodes next season but this was nothing more than a glorified cameo that is meant to be Loha's comeback... Umm they should have spent a little more time setting up what her role will be next season.

I'm thankful that they are downgrading Rebecca to recurrnig because her character is useless!

Personally I don't care who Betty chose... but how much you want to make a bet she chose Italy.. with her sister?
Anonymous said…
Honestly...I just don't care anymore and don't think I'll be tuning in next season. Unlike the "Office" finale, this final episode did nothing to win me back after a long, painful season.
Kevin Sole said…
Would have been happier to of seen LOST.

Anonymous said…
Yeah, I have to agree it was pretty boring, especially for a finale. The 'cliffhanger' was such a letdown. Who will she pick? Obviously can't be Henry, so who cares? Did love Daniel,jr. though. He was super cute. I like Gio the character, but I too have a hard time believing he would go for someone like Betty. Still, love this show because when it's on, it ON!
Anonymous said…
Wow, a lot of criticism here. I even partially agree. The love triangle-story is just so boring and it's obvious that she chose to travel to the Grand Canyon where her mother never had the chance to take a holiday. I'm also a bit disappointed by how they handled Alexis's character. Although I understand her decision, there is no way in hell that she would make that decision with all the development she has been having this season. It's like they bend the character only to have some drama.

BUT: I must say I actually enjoyed most of the second season. Sure, there were some let-downs like the finale or the we-visit-Broadway-episode, but overall I think that they had a good second season.

They just lost themselves a bit in the love triangle, but it looks like the finale was the very end for that storyline. As for Betty's family, I think her family is important.

I'm not quite happy Hilda's current storyline, but I prefer it when the family gets included. In the beginning of the season we had very little of the Suarezs. Though I'm also a bit sad about seeing how much depth Amanda and Marc lost since they're back from their hiatus. Christina has always gotten very little screen time, she's the most underused character of the show and I hope that changes next season when they got rid of the love triangle.
Anonymous said…
She chose henry and moved to Tuscon. And next season will be called "The Adventures of Mark and amanda"

Damn...I just woke up.
Anonymous said…
Your insane! the finale was GREAT! duh she didnt go to Tucson! I hoped Betty would choose Gio but i doubt she will. So disappointed in Alexis! She can't fire Daniel! Also, theres no way that Daniel and Daniel jr. r related. wish they were, but no chance. as for lindsey lohan, ew, but we'll just have to see how it turns out. im sooo watching next season!!!!!

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