Thoughts About Ugly Betty Episode 4.15

So much could have gone wrong with last night’s episode of Ugly Betty, 4.15 – Fire And Nice.  If I am guessing right (based on the set photos I’ve seen that match this episode), it was filmed months ago, before anyone knew the show was being cancelled (at least out here in fan-land).  It was a set-up episode, so it could have very easily had a middling plot the way many movies which are the 2nd in a trilogy become.

But, this episode was not a mess. It worked very well.  This may have been the first episode in a LONG time where almost every character had well written lines and was likable,

The night definitely belonged to Vanessa Williams and Mark Indelicato, though.  Both of them went out of his/her way to keep us on our toes.

Twice, a scene was set up where it looked like Justin was coming out.  These scenes depended greatly on Michael Urie, whose understanding and confusion as Marc the Mentor was perfect.  Justin did not come out – instead he confessed that he thought he started the fire, because he was smoking to impress someone named Lily.

They also managed to fit in a video of Justin lip-syncing Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance, which was hilarious.

Wilhelmina played against type as well – she went out of her way to impress old boyfriend and “regular guy” Don.  Seeing Vanessa Williams dressed down (at least for Wilhelmina) was a treat.  There was a very funny scene where she and Don ran into Betty and the world’s most annoying fireman, and Don suggested they eat together.  Betty took full advantage.

I’m already tired of Amanda and Daniel and their friends with benefits arrangement.  It would appear that Amanda is, too, because by the end of the episode, she had honed in on Claire’s long-lost son Tyler.  This of course gets to Daniel in the worst way.

Speaking of Claire’s two sons, Daniel finds out Tyler is his (half) brother – not only that, but progeny of the much hated Cal Hartley.  I thought Eric Mabius played this just right, between anger and bewilderment. 

I can’t decide if Tyler’s going to end up a bad guy.  Knowing the writers, it’s entirely possible. 

I love, Love, LOVED Bobby’s parents.  When Hilda found out they thought she was a slut and went off, they went off right back.

Big Spoiler after jump

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Is Tennessee’s Most Famous Weird Law An Urban Legend?

Pick up any “weird law” book, or navigate to any site listing “weird laws”, and you’ll find some variation of the following about Tennessee:

It is unlawful in Tennessee to shoot game animals from a moving vehicle. Except whales.

My kids absolutely love this strange fact about landlocked Tennessee.  So do I.

Unfortunately, I’m wondering if it isn’t true.  Or some weird extrapolation.  I can’t find the whale exception ANYWHERE in Tennessee Code Annotated. (Granted, I haven’t read every word – who could? – but no reasonable search turns up anything remotely resembling whales).   Here is the base law, TCA 70-4-109:

70-4-109. Hunting from aircraft, watercraft or motor vehicles unlawful — Penalty — Exception for persons confined to wheelchairs. —

(a)  It is unlawful to chase, hunt, or kill any wild birds, wild animals or wild fowl in the state of Tennessee from any craft propelled by electric, gasoline, steam or sail power, or airplane or hydroplane or from any automobile or motor vehicle, unless otherwise provided by law, rule and regulation or by proclamation; provided, that under no circumstance shall this subsection (a) be construed as authorizing the legalization of hunting from an automobile or motor vehicle while under power.

(b)  Notwithstanding subsection (a), any person totally and permanently confined to a wheelchair as certified by appropriate documentation to the executive director may hunt or kill any wildlife from a stationary automobile or motor vehicle during the lawful hunting seasons; provided, that it is unlawful for such person to shoot directly across or over any road, path or other right-of-way; and provided further, that any such persons shall be accompanied by another person who is not so confined at all times when hunting, and that such person shall retrieve all game taken in such hunt.

(c)  A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

[Acts 1951, ch. 115, § 36 (Williams, § 5178.65); 1979, ch. 237, § 1; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 51-416; Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 113; 2005, ch. 109, § 1.]

 

Now, I figured the “unless otherwise provided by law” clause to mean that there was an actual exception for whales somewhere in TCA.  There is an interesting section about “nongame mammals” in the definitions in 70-8-103, but that deals with species protection, not shootin’ whales.

A more likely scenario is that whales don’t fall under the definitions of “wild birds, wild animals or wild fowl” in Tennessee law, but that’s no fun.  I was hoping for an actual, codified exclusion for whales.

Are there any lawyers, law students, Tennessee judges, or lawmakers who can clarify this for me?  Is one of the most endearing facts about my home state not a fact at all?

(BTW, in researching this, I found the most wonderful document that puts together all the laws concerning animals in TN, from the University of Tennessee colleges of Law and Veterinary Medicine .  Check it out, although it’s a little dry.  Still, you can learn the most wonderful and obscure things looking at it).

To The Readers Of Ugly Betty News

Regular Shoot The Moose readers (both of you), bear with me a minute.

For those of you who got here by searching for Ugly Betty News, I owe you an explanation for that site’s sudden disappearance, and I wish I had a better venue from which to provide it.  But, it is what is it.

So, here is what happened.  On February 16, I was informed by the company for which I wrote Ugly Betty News that they were severing my contract, per the terms.  I found out later that the company had nixed the entire Entertainment department, which was sizable.  We were locked out of our blogs, so there was no chance of properly saying goodbye.  I was able to post a couple of tweets about it, so SOME of you might have gotten word what happened.  I wanted to send out a mass email to the biggest regular commenters at the site, but unfortunately, most of you posted with bogus email addresses (as you probably should).

The next day, the UBN domain no longer pointed to UBN, but to the replacement site for all the Entertainment channel blogs.

And that was that. 

It sounds so clichéd.  The last post I made at UBN was a revisiting of the possibility of Liza Minnelli appearing on Ugly Betty (as we now know, that isn’t going to happen).  Had I known that it would be my last post, I would have said something more profound.  I would have said goodbye.

This is how ghosts must feel.

Ironically, the cancellation of Ugly Betty had been quite good for Ugly Betty News, business-wise, up until our own “cancellation”.  The readership there spiked to record levels on  the day of the show’s cancellation announcement, and it didn’t decline much after that.

We – you and I – did an amazing thing.  We built an informative fan/news site which featured intelligent discussion minus the mean-spirited gossip.  It was a long shot from the beginning. I worked my butt off, and you guys kept coming back and bringing your wonderful thoughts to the comments.  We were part of a larger Ugly Betty community, which WE helped will into being (notwithstanding the ship wars, but even that was done with the context of a greater Ugly Betty community.)

We were seen as a conduit between fans and the show.  Ironically,although the many in the cast read UBN,  I NEVER had any contact with the producers, until right before UBN got axed, and I’ll be doggoned if I didn’t give Mr. Horta my b5Media email address, which is no longer valid. Was he going to invite me to the wrap party, or issue a cease and desist?  We’ll never know 🙂

After all those years of work, once I got the sad notice, I decided to check and see just what I (we) had done.  I hadn’t checked in many months, but typing in the phrase “Ugly Betty spoiler” on Google returned Ugly Betty News as the number one result (with many more links in the top 15).  Beating out EOnline.  Beating TVGuide.  Beating Entertainment Weekly.  Even beating Wiki-freaking-Pedia, who is always number one on every search for anything.  Many other search terms revealed the same result.  All this with NO help from the network.

(This is where I get to say: ABC, your media relations with bloggers SUCKS, more than any other network.  You seriously need to revisit your asset access policy.  We had the number one Ugly Betty site in the world, we proved our professionalism time and again, and you refused, to the end, to treat us like “media”.  It boggles the mind.  Your loss.  There, that feels better, although I guess blogging for ABC is now out of the question 🙂 ).

So, I’ll be fine.  If I choose to seriously blog again, I know how to do it now, thanks to the wonderful people (I’m looking at you, Arieanna) who gave me a chance and taught me the ropes.  Who knows where I could go?  Politics, parenting, cooking, travel, maybe even entertainment again.

Regardless, I am almost over my period of mourning, so watch out, world.

So, to the faithful readers of Ugly Betty News I say thank you for all your wonderful contributions and readership.  As the show itself winds down, we have to go through another long, sad goodbye.  But, I’m glad we get to have that.  I am sorry that UBN just disappeared on you.  Had I had any control over the situation, it would have been done differently.

I will miss you, dear readers and commenters, most of all.  But, we will meet again, somewhere, somewhen.

Sincerely,

Tom Landers

Writer – Ugly Betty News

(PS, if you want to hang out here, I intend on ramping up the post frequency at Shoot The Moose again.  Slartibartfast IS Tom; I am who I am, pseudonym or not.  Many of you, I think,  will be surprised at my personal life.  I don’t fit the mold of the typical Ugly Betty blogger.  BUT, you’ll get to meet my family, find out about life in Nashville, and get some good recipes.  I WILL be posting about Ugly Betty as well – reviews, not recaps – since I no longer have contractual restraints.   Because, regardless of the business side of things, UBN was always a labor of love.)