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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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.


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.)

Bad News And Good News

So, here’s the bad news.  I will no longer be posting recaps and news about the show Ugly Betty here at Shoot The Moose.  You just won’t find that here anymore.

That’s because of the good news.  No, I didn’t just save a ton of money on my car insurance with Geico.  It’s better than that.

I get to finally add a “also writing at” category on my sidebar. I’ve been dying to tell you guys, and now that it’s official, I can.  To help you get your Ugly Betty fix, go to my new site: Ugly Betty News .   I am writing it for b5media – which means that Busy Mom and I are co-workers!

I didn’t want the whole world to know my real name (Slartibartfast), so I’m using a pseudonym (Tom – how vanilla is that for a fake name?). 

Y’all come on over to Ugly Betty News, and please place it in your blogrolls, readers, etc.  My goal is to make it THE blog for Ugly Betty news, spoilers, show recaps, rumours, and celebrity photos.  I have put a LOT of work into this site so far, and I hope it shows.  This is a brave, new world for me.  I get to be a fanboy, and catty, and a critic, and a celebrity reporter.  Quite a change from around here, huh?

I’d just be pleased as punch if y’all come along with me on this journey.

Hat Tip to Brittney .  Wait, a hat tip isn’t enough – I bow low to you, fine lady.

Two Lists

List one: Things I am absolutely sick of or bored with.

The Dixie Chicks and their feud with country radio.
“Live Like You Were Dying”
That Center for Science in the Public Interest Guy. Pssst. Dude. News Flash: you’re going to die. I just wanted you to know that. One day, you’re going to die. If I weren’t so bored with him, I’d love to see a Coblian analysis of this guy and his crusades.

Stacy Campfield – not even Aunt B can make him interesting to me anymore.
Pacman Jones
Anna Nichole Smith
The Geico cavemen
School Fundraisers.
Did I mention Pacman Jones?

List two: Things I can never get enough of.

Jaws (only the first one)
Born To Run (the Album)
My wife’s presence.
Lean Cuisine Barbeque Chicken pizza
Jesus (the one who physically rose from the dead and was therefore, God)
Coblian Philosphy.
The key of “A”
Blogger meetups.
Brick House
The laughter of my children
Watching TooToo put the smackdown.
James Taylor
Searching For Bobby Fischer
Seeing the Holy Spirit at work
Going to Titans games with my brother
Harmonizing with Susie, Mark, Vince, Brooke and Katy.
Ugly Betty

You good people.

I’m sure there’s more I could add to both lists, but that’s enough for now.

God Bless America

America Ferrera, that is.

Ugly Betty Cast

(From Yahoo Photos)

I don’t watch award shows, so I had no idea that Ugly Betty won a Golden Globe for best Television Comedy, and America Ferrera beat out some very big names to win best actress in a musical or comedy series.   Much coolness.

Miss Ferrera is the heart and soul of the cast, and this cast may be the best ensemble on television today.  The writing is top notch as well.

Congratulations America and cast of Ugly Betty!

Ugly Betty – WOW!

It’s bedtime for me so I can’t go in depth, but if you’ve been following the show, and if you have not yet seen this last Thursday’s Ugly Betty, go to ABC’s website and watch it NOW!

 It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine).  My goodness, there were so many plot turns!

 I don’t have time right now for a proper review, just GO SEE IT!  I’ll try to say more tomorrow.

Ugly Betty Is Back!

Last night was the first new Ugly Betty episode in a long time. Let me just say, it was a surprising delight, and I absolutely LOVE the direction in which they are taking the show (if only temporarily).

This was a flashback show (there were only a few “set up” scenes at the beginning and end) – yet instead of taking the cheap way out and showing old footage, the producers wisely took this opportunity to fill in a few holes in the story.

We get answers to the whole “Ignatio can’t get his medicine” storyline, and we also get a glimpse of what melted Betty’s heart enough to make her open to getting back together with Walter. We also see the first meeting of Betty and Henry from Accounting (which was hilarious), and a side to the Bradford/Betty relationship that had never before been revealed.

If you remember, when the season “paused”, Betty had pretty much gained everyone’s acceptance and she was even looked up to. Well, it felt strange, but the flashback went back to Betty’s first weeks at Mode (part of the storyline is her puny first paycheck). It seemed weird to see Amanda, Marc and Wilhemenia being mean to Betty and actively undermining her. Of course, what they are really trying to do is undermine Daniel.

There is a plot turn, (which is kind of unbelievable in my mind), where Daniel has been cut off from Bradford’s money; his father is trying to teach him a lesson and he’s broke. He has to entertain a prominent Japanese minimalist designer on his own dime (of which he only has about $370). Of course, the company pays for a limo and many bottles of champagne, so why Daniel has to pick up the dinner tab but not these other things is unexpained. But, it’s a small thing.

We also learn that very few of the staff at Mode make very much money – one of the biggest “payouts” of working for Mode is the “swag”: the designer clothes left over from old photo shoots. There’s a wonderful free-for-all that takes place once they allow the staff into the “closet”. This also set up the most touching scene in the episode.

Christina hid away a very in-demand Gucci bag, just for Betty. When she gives the bag to Betty, Christina tells her something along the lines of “I feel that fashion is good for the soul; it makes you feel more worthy as a person”. Ashley Jensen, who plays Christina, played this scene so well, it melted my heart. You could tell she didn’t quite believe what she was saying, yet she felt such friendship for Betty that she convinced herself it was true. I got all of this from a momentary “look” in Jension’s eyes. Her acting was that good.

Very little of the home family in this episode, but we do get to meet the pharmacist (who is MUCH hotter than Gina Gambrero IMHO). Justin was great, as usual in his limited role.

How Betty saves the day was predictable, in a general way, but not in specifics. During the last commercial break, my family had a heated discussion about where they were taking the designer for dinner. In other words, they had us “hooked”. Good writing, and the choice of restaurants turned out to be hilarious.

There was no parental advisory this week. Good work, writers!

To John H

Sorry I’ve been negligent in posting timely Ugly Betty reviews. Holiday schedules and the creeping crud are keeping me from normalcy. I’ll probably get to it Friday, because that will be the first time I’ll have to re-watch the episode.

I will say this though: there is no way Betty permanently moves to MYF . That would mean that all the current co-stars would no longer be co-stars, so I think something’s going to happen to bring her back to working for Daniel.

This past episode also highlighted a philisophical argument I’ve been having with Hollywood and pop culture in general about the nature of love. I believe very strongly that love is and active verb, that love is something that we “do” – but Hollywood insists on portraying love as something that “happens to us”. I blame the perpetuation of this myth for at least half the divorces we see today. But I’ll save that argument for another, seperate post – probably around St Valentine’s Day.

Finally, (and this may seem strange coming from such a right-winger), I’m convinced that Marc and Justin are the most entertaining cast members of all. Especially Marc. I LOVE the catty thing he does with his eyes to show displeasure or bemusement. Yes, the whole thing with Wilhemenia giving him the SUV was very predictable, but the way he hid from the supposed hit man was hilarious.

More on Friday…

Best. Ugly Betty. Ever.

If the 11/16/06 Ugly Betty (“Four Thanksgivings and a Funeral”) is any indication, this show is in for a good, long run. The comedy is back! There were two moments where we were laughing so hard, we missed something important and had to rewind (more on that later).

Granted, the drama was still there (Betty and Hilda REALLY get into it, bringing back way too many stressful holiday memories for me), but this week, it wasn’t the whole show.

It’ll be hard to tell you about the two best moments without giving too much away, but here goes. As was set up last week, Justin’s father comes over for Thanksgiving dinner (in return he agrees to provide the $5000 Hilda needs to retain the immigration lawyer for her father). He brings Justin a gift of an entire New York Jets uniform, whick Justin misconstrues as a “costume”. There is something SO funny that happens with the “protective cup”, all I can say is you HAVE to go to and see this episode for this moment alone!

The other wonderful moment involved Amanda and Marc. Amanda had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving (her “date” had to do something silly like be with his wife and kids), and Marc really didn’t want to go home to his family because apparently he’s still in the closet and didn’t relish the thought of spending the weekend talking about his non-existent girlfriend. So, the two of them decide to sneak into Wilhemina’s office, get drunk, and watch the Macy’s parade.

This sets up an incredibly funny sequence where both of them are trying on designer dresses and dancing around the office. I can’t describe how funny this is, you’ll just have to see it.

In the meantime, Daniel is pining over Sofia (Salma Hayek), and apparently “something happened” between them that has not been shown on screen (I actually like this). But Sofia has a boyfriend, the absolutely perfect “Hunter”. Daniel actually agrees to go to his father’s Thanksgiving get-together because he knows Sofia will be there (unfortunately, with Hunter). The rest of the episode has Daniel trying to compete with Hunter, which of course is impossible when you’re dealing with a hunky, Scandanavian model who works with the Peace Corps.

Finally Wilhemina has a sweet moment with Nico, who comes back to New York for the holiday. She makes a home-cooked meal as a surprise; in order to accomplish this she calls Martha Stewart for directions (Please, producers, don’t do this again – it really seemed out of place!)

Two things happen that advance the mystery backstory: 1) Marc and Amanda, in their drunken stupor, call the “mystery lady”, mistakenly thinking she’s Wilhemina’s lesbian girlfriend. Now, mystery lady and Wilhemina both (mistakenly) think that somebody is onto them. 2) Bradford hires a second hit man to dispose of the first hit man, which he does by “burying” him alive in Faye Summers’ crypt, which they have discovered, is empty.

All in all, this was the best episode so far – it hit all the right notes and had a great mixture of drama, comedy and mystery. The producers are being pretty daring, going from a ‘Devil Wears Prada’ feel, almost to a ‘The Birdcage’ farce. The over-the-top comedy carries the risk of offending both gay and religious sensibilities, but they pull it off. My stomach still hurts from laughing.

Episode Parental Advisory: The “gay” theme was in full force, although, as usual, only implied. I can’t tell you how masterfully they straddle the line (and believe me, I’m Mr right winger – I’d cut my kids off in a second if the line were ever crossed). Marc and Amanda wonder out loud if Wilhemina is a lesbian. There, again, is one usage of the word “B**ch” (is this like a drinking game thing? There has been exactly one “B**ch” utterance in every episode. Do they have a quota?). Marc and Amanda spend almost the entire episode drunk. You may also have to explain to the kids why Justin is mistaken about the protective cup.