The Husband:

Sorry about the delay on my Ugly Betty posts, but episodes 9 and 10 of this season were pre-empted here on the West coast despite airing in the rest of the country, and I simply just didn’t get around to downloading and watching them until yesterday, leading to watching episode 11 last night four days after its original air date. And since Thursday, now that Bones is joining the Fox line-up that night and Private Practice was moved to its post-Grey’s spot, Ugly Betty will not be my first viewing priority of the night. (Don’t forget about all of NBC’s comedies, Survivor and Smallville, also on that night. Thank god I don’t watch CSI or Supernatural or ER, or I’d lose my damn mind on Thursday nights. What? America’s Best Dance Crew and Celebrity Rehab Sober House are also starting this Thursday at 10? Dammit!) But with that out of the way, let’s jump right into the world of Betty Suarez.

I haven’t really checked out the “popular opinion” of regular UB viewers, but I have been very satisfied with the last few episodes. Why? Because I like the show best when it’s about the publishing industry and where Betty fits in, or if she even does at all. While I also tend to love the episodes focusing on Betty’s romantic forays – as well as Hilda’s, oddly enough – it seems that no viewers will be happy until Betty ends up back with Gio, which is entirely understandable. Sometimes some of the other guys in her life just feel like placeholders, and I get why that would rub a lot of people the wrong way.

Its like Stylista, only not horrible.

YETI: It's like Stylista, only not horrible.

But the world of publishing! Whee! Three episodes ago, Betty learns of the illustrious YETI  program (Young Editors Training Initiative) and has only 48 hours to put together an entire magazine proposal as well as a letter of recommendation, and after failing to produce a worthy fashion mag in that given time, she takes her family’s advice and makes a magazine called B, which is designed for women who may not have all the money and glamour of what something like Mode advertises but do lead healthy and social lives. (Or, at least, that’s what I think it was. I’m still kind of unclear.) Worried that she will lose to Marc – who is also in the running, has an entourage and designed an entire magazine (complete with a special piece by David Sedaris, who I can assure you would never contribute to such a prospective magazine or to Marc St. James) – she is surprised to be the one person chosen from Mode to participate in the program. She then learns, sadly, that she was pretty much accepted merely to fill a minority quota, so she refuses the position to let Marc be accepted. Daniel, who has been too busy lusting after Connor’s fiancée Molly to care much about Betty and YETI, finally comes through and tells YETI that Betty also worked for Player Magazine, and thus she and Marc can both be in the program.

In the next episode, Betty begins to balance YETI with her regular work, and now that she and Amanda, despite their differences, live together and have to be close, they are paired together for a special magazine feature where they do what Amanda always does – rely on others for everything in her life, and show how somebody can do things around town that would ordinarily rack up thousands of dollars but somehow they come out paying for absolutely nothing. Including getting clothing samples and free meals as well as buying items that they know they will return within 30 days, the girls seem to be finally hitting it off, but when a pair of two con artist men dine-and-dash, and thus sticking Betty and Amanda with a very expensive restaurant bill, they have to think fast and finally drop the name Mode and lie about doing a feature on the restaurant in order to get out unscathed. A success there, Amanda soon learns that the men also robbed her purse, which included every last bit of Betty’s money in order to pay for the apartment. Luckily, Daniel loves the article, gives them an advance and decides to make the column a recurring feature. And feeling guilty, Amanda gets a humiliating job, and thus she continues being my favorite character on the show, what with her psycho character mood swings that only make sense within the crazy colorful world of UB.

Stick with me, kid, and Ill show you how to freeload like a pro.

Stick with me, kid, and I'll show you how to freeload like a pro.

In last week’s episode, Betty encounters a new teacher at YETI played by none other than Bernadette Peters (a.k.a. the Bern) and is put off by her tough teaching style, wherein all of the YETI editors have until the next class to attain 40 new contacts via networking. Betty’s not the most social person, so Marc and Amanda bring her to a bar and give her advice on how to network properly. (My favorite bit of this advice? Break the ice with the other person by offering up juicy but ultimately meaningless gossip.) Having a tough time reaching 40, Betty finally meets with Teri (Nikki Blonsky alert!), her equal at competing fashion mag Elle, and they hit it off, until the next day when Betty realizes that Teri, while Betty was in the bathroom cleaning up a mess she left on herself, peeked at Betty’s BlackBerry and intercepted a very important vintage dress that was to be on the cover of Mode. In order to not get crazy fired, Betty gets clever and uses one of her earlier new contacts, a dude at a catering service who just happens to be catering that night’s Elle party, and she and Marc steal the dress back. While I’m sure this was a one-time thing, I loved Blonsky in the episode and I like the idea of Betty having a true equal as a villain at a competing fashion rag, one who dresses as poorly as she does, and would provide some really great publishing world drama. Alas, the show has bigger fish to fry.

The Bern will totally school yo ass.

The Bern will totally school yo' ass.

As for the Daniel-Molly-Connor-Wilhelmina love square, Willie (sort of) blackmails Daniel into pursuing Molly further when she catches he and Molly on security camera having a non-physical but intimate moment in the fashion closet at Mode in order for Willie to have Connor all to herself. Daniel finally gets Molly alone at Wilhelmina’s cocktail party and gives her an ultimatum – admit that you have feelings for me, but if you don’t we’ll never talk again – that she rejects. That night, however, a depressed Daniel finds Molly on his stoop, declaring she finally broke up with Connor after a four-year relationship, so he and Molly make out when Connor and Wilhelmina have their own makeout session at her place.

As for the Suarezes, Ignacio is worried that Betty, taking advice from the Bern, is putting too much of her career before her family, and scolds her when she has to leave Hilda’s party intended to christen her now-legal hair salon business. When Betty finally returns hours later after dealing with the stolen vintage dress and ignoring several calls from Hilda, she finds that nobody is home. Finally calling Hilda back, she is crushed to learn that her father is in the hospital, having had a heart attack. To be continued…

Where is the show going? Not really sure, as I don’t really consider any of the love square to be of much interest, and now that I hear Ashley Jensen is opting out of returning to the show next year, her drama involving being Willie’s surrogate mother isn’t going to last much longer, but right now I’m very interested in UB as long as it can keep up some of the professional intrigue that…intrigues me so much right now. Without that element, I think the show loses a great deal of its energy, and that’s a complete shame.

And I don’t usually notice these things, but is Betty now satisfactorily more of a fashion disaster than she was during the first few bits of this season when people were worried that she was dressing too well? It seems that way to me, but I really don’t know much about that kind of thing, and as my wife does not watch this show, I can’t exactly ask her, now can I?

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