The Husband:

Another year, another season of Ugly Betty. Now entering its third over-the-top wacky and colorful season, I finally warmed up to its charm only recently, having earlier been somewhat put off by just how screwball and dramatic it all was. My “3.5-stars-out-of-5” amount of like for the show started off with gravitating toward Marc and Amanda, respectively Wilhelmina’s flamboyantly gay personal assistant and the magazine’s head receptionist. Within the melodramatic halls of Mode Magazine, they kept the show light and fluffy, a sort of resident Laurel & Hardy. Becki Newton (Amanda) especially has a delightfully goofy way about her, unlike the slightly overrated Vanessa Williams, whose weekly performance as the evil Wilhelmina Slater resembles not so much a wicked witch out of a Disney film so much as she does a mental patient with unpredictable mood swings.

Contrary to popular opinion, I thought the show picked up in its second season as it steered away from the telenovela on which it was based and finally found its own uniquely American voice. Betty’s romance with accountant Henry and her flirtations with sandwich guy Gio introduced something the show hadn’t yet seen: emotional complexity and subtlety. When it got too unbearable, either by character idiosyncrasies or the absurd amount of tension and conflict the show is so happy to create, there’s silliness right around the corner to ease everything down. The show also became enraptured with New York City itself, finding ways to make it work as a character and not simply as a setting, so the shift of actual behind-the-scenes production from Los Angeles to NYC this season works wonderfully.

Really, though, it’s all very silly. And though it technically airs before Grey’s Anatomy, I like to watch it after as a bit of a palette cleanser. (Having a DVR is fun!)

Betty tries really hard to follow-up the introduction of Major Badass on Greys Anatomy.

Betty tries really hard to follow-up the introduction of Major Badass on Grey's Anatomy.

In the season premiere, Betty returns to her family in Queens after a very long vacation in the Western United States with her friend, a welcome relaxation in her life after finally turning down the advances of Gio and refusing her hand in marriage to Henry. (Really, raising a baby in Arizona with your ex-girlfriend and being married to someone in NYC? You think that was going to work? Really?) She is surprised to learn that Daniel, her boss, has been removed from his position as editor-in-chief of Mode by his own tranny sister Alexis. (I happen to love the casting of Rebecca Romijn as a former man, as the actress towers over pretty much all of her co-stars.) Where is he now? Editing Mead Publications’ Maxim¬-like guys magazine Player (the “number 3 non-nude men’s magazine in the country). The show takes this opportunity to portray the men who work at such a publication as immature, goofy, misogynistic assholes (probably true) and all the women assistants as hot and dumb (slightly less likely). Betty takes her time in fitting in at the company, and only does so after embarrassing herself at a Player-sponsored outdoor event where Betty, covering for an injured model — injured by an eye-full of Silly String thanks to Daniel’s newly discovered French son’s shenanigans — accidentally drives a motorcycle into an inflatable pool of bikinied models, and realizes that the video of said accident should become a viral video and bring Player some needed publicity.

Daniel: Ginger, show Betty the lay of the land.
Ginger the Hot Player Secretary: I was once voted ‘Lay of the Land.’

Betty needs any money she can get, though, because she has just been tricked into buying a Manhattan apartment that is, to put it mildly, a fixer-upper. Leaky ceilings, noisy neighbors, naked old people in the apartment across the alleyway, rot everywhere; it’s not the kind of place Betty wanted for herself when she decided to become a more independent woman and find her own place. But things start looking up when her family helps her clean the place up, as well as Betty finding that her noisy neighbor is actually a hot emo musician. It’s like I always say: nothing gets a girl over a sandwich guy like the sweet soothing sounds of a hot emo musician that found your lost keys.

Meanwhile, Betty’s father has finally decided to join the American workforce again, taking a job at a local fast food chicken joint. Unfortunately, his manager is Betty’s old high school nemesis, Kimmie (Lindsay Lohan), a cruel, heartless bully who immediately makes Papa Suarez’s life hell. When Betty and Hilda get wind of this situation, they show up at the restaurant and start a foodfight, salads and fried things flying everywhere. Later, though, Kimmie admits that she is simply jealous that the former victim of her taunting, Betty, has such a better life than her now.

” . . . And I’m pretty sure I have Lyme disease. Never have sex in the woods on fire island.” –Kimmie

Right now, Ms. Lohan is bad on this show. Really bad. I know she’s been having her ups and downs in the tabloids and in her career for the last…several years…but I would hope that in upcoming episodes she realizes that she’s on a fairly high-rated show and could stand to maybe not phone in all of her dialogue. Like the actors on this show or not, they give it their all, and LiLo is sticking out like a sore thumb.

Um, should somebody tell Lindsay that doesnt belong in the deep fryer?

Um, should somebody tell Lindsay that doesn't belong in the deep fryer?

Yeah, there was some hullabaloo about Wilhelmina messing with Mode and tricking Alexis into cutting funding for her and Daniel’s mother’s new upstart magazine Hot Flash, complete with an appearance by Regis and Kelly mocking said magazine, but that plotline has been lacking energy since a few episodes into last season. Somebody needs to inject some life into the entire business/betrayal hodgepodge, because right now it’s taking a backseat to a story about fried chicken chefs.

So far, I’m pleased with most everything the new season has to offer, and even if it starts to drag, I know that this wild show will have something completely different up its sleeve in about three weeks. It always does.