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Poisoned Perfume, Temporary Insanity, and Love Triangles: Catching Up on "Ugly Betty"

Hola, Ugly Betty fans!

I've been meaning to write about Betty lately but have gotten sidetracked among the strike news and a slew of other first-run fare, but after last week's superlative episode of Ugly Betty ("Zero Worship"), from first-time Betty scribe Dawn DeKeyser, I had to write something. Last week's episode was like a breath of fresh air in a Queens subway station. Unlike the melodrama that has put the series into a bit of a nosedive for me lately, this episode was everything that Betty has been missing for a while and was effervescent, slightly tart, and filled with heart.

Sure, there were things that irked a little bit, like that Mode fashion show with "real women" which could have been rewritten slightly to tone down the sappiness and the exposition about whether Daniel or Alexis rigged those scales was a little clunky, but I overlooked those minor quibbles because the episode did what Ugly Betty hasn't done in a long time: it made me laugh. Hell, I wasn't even bothered by Ignacio and that's saying a lot.

Marc and Amanda continue to be one of this series' strongest points. These two are so pitch perfect, so deliciously self-absorbed and catty that every time actors Michael Urie and Becki Newton appear on screen, the series' energy skyrockets. And while it's highly improbably that Urie's Marc would still be able to gain access to Mode magazine or Fey's secret sex room now that he doesn't work there, I'm so hungry for another Marc-and-Amanda fix that I am willing to overlook this for now. After all, like chocolate and peanut butter, this gruesome twosome are best enjoyed together.

Did I say how much I loved their interaction with guest star Annie Potts, here playing a psychic who predicts that Betty will lead Amanda to her biological father? Classic.

This week's episode ("Odor in the Court") finally ended the ongoing Claire Meade murder trial storyline with an unexpected twist that involved all of the characters (including the utterly annoying Gio), a bottle of poisoned perfume engineered by Fey to drive Claire to insanity, and an plausible explanation for why Claire killed her rival by having her brakes cut. Was it melodramatic and over the top? Yes, but it worked within the confines of the series and allowed for an eleventh hour reprieve for Claire.

I'm actually excited to see where the writers take the Meade matriarch now that she's been cleared of all charges and is a free woman once again. And, as long as they don't turn her into a boozy mess after the death of her husband, I'm excited to see her try to take the reigns of the Meade publishing empire and possibly go toe-to-toe with Wilhelmina.

Betty's poison-induced-insanity was a little overdone for my liking (the tomato-eating scene with Gio in particular) but it did allow for some nice moments for the supporting cast, like the scene in the hospital in which Betty's family push their way to get to her. Having Marc not burn Fey's secret diary pages was a nice change from his scummy behavior lately (destroying a priceless Jackie Kennedy garment in order to force Christina into carrying Wilhelmina's baby), especially as I never imagined a day when Marc would prove to be a moral compass for Amanda.

How random was it to see Barry Bostwick turn up and appear to channel Henry Winkler's Barry Zuckerkorn?

As for Betty's ongoing love triangle with Henry and Gio, I'm kind of getting to the point where I don't want her to choose either of them. Gio just irks me to no end and, as for Henry, their relationship has become so cutesy and, despite making Charlie a cheater, his casual abandonment of his pregnant ex-girlfriend for Betty doesn't make him all that sympathetic in my eyes, though we're meant to think he's a living saint for going to visit the woman carrying his unborn child.

What do you think? Should Betty stay with Henry, date Gio, or strike out on her own again?

Next week on Ugly Betty ("A Thousand Words By Friday"), Betty agrees to an assignment from Daniel to interview a man she believes is an important novelist, only to learn he's written a series of books about picking up women; Daniel finds a new love interest in Renee (guest star Gabrielle Union), only to learn that they have a surprising connection to each other; Marc and Amanda plot to reach out to Gene Simmons, whom they believe to be Amanda's biological father.


The CineManiac said…
Personally I love Henry, and I have to say earlier in the season I got fed up with Betty telling everyone he got another girl pregnant. Because frankly he got his girlfriend pregnant. Then he started dating Betty, after finding out his girlfriend was a cheater. Which doesn't make him a bad guy, and I'm glad he's supporting her through the pregnancy and wants to be there for his kid.
But it is getting a bit old, I'd like to see Betty choose someone and stick with them, and at this point it could be anyone.
And Gio doesn't bother me as much as he bothers you.
Last week's episode was by far the best of the season. Which is ironic since it was script from a new writer. It had the perfect amount of zany hijinx and laughs, mostly compliments of the wonderful Marc and Amanda who really should have their own show. ("Marc & Mandy" perhaps?)

This week's ep was back to tiresome melodrama. Though, like you, I am happy that the murder case is wrapped up and interested to see what they now do with Mommy Meade.
Anonymous said…
I love Henry, and am just awaiting the ep where they figure out a way to keep him in NY for good. I don't mind Gio, but he's no Henry.

I really liked the way they wrapped up the Meade trial (though, I was pretty sure Marc hadn't burned the diary pages). He and Amanda are definitely my favorite part of every episode.

Last week's was great, for sure. The scene w/Betty & Amanda was very subtle and moving - surprising in a sea of broad.

OMG - your Henry Winkler/BB comment made me laugh out loud. Hilarious!

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