UGLY BETTY: THE COMPLETE FOURTH AND FINAL SEASON
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The fish-out-of-water comedy about an awkward girl from Queens who makes it into the world of fashion publishing comes to an end. We see Betty getting some respect in the magazine world while Daniel recovers from the death of his wife. Mrs. Meade is pioneering her own magazine while Wilhelmina Slater is still scheming to control Mode Magazine. See the stories wrap up, including the story of Hilda’s love interests and Justin coming to terms with his sexuality.
WHAT I LIKED
For as in-your-face “Ugly Betty” is with its presentation, there is a certain warmth of the characters. Certain ones (namely the second-tier cast) have become caricatures of themselves, but at least they’re fun to watch if you don’t mind glaring stereotypes.
At the very least, Betty was finally developing a sense of fashion, which seemed to be too unrealistic for her to not in previous years. But such is the bane of any ongoing series.
This fourth season of “Ugly Betty” is billed on the box as “From Poncho to Honcho,” and it features the final transformation of Betty Suarez from ugly duckling to professional businesswoman. When all is said and done with this season, the series finale is sweet enough to end the run. A lot of the characters and stories have swerved around so much, it’s hard to keep track of who you want to win or lose, but there is a satisfying end.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
While I thought “Ugly Betty” was charming in its first season, the show lost serious focus as we entered into the third year. At its heart, “Ugly Betty” is a comedy, but it delved into overly morose subject matter, like the death of Justin’s father and the death of Daniel’s wife in previous seasons. I wish it had just stuck with the comedy.
My biggest problem with “Ugly Betty,” though, was its faux progressive nature. I read an article about how it was groundbreaking for Latinos and homosexuals, which is utter b.s. This is not the first time we have had Latinos on television speaking Spanish, cooking Mexican food and talking sass in the New York boroughs. Likewise, it’s not the first time we’ve had bitchy gay characters with a taste for high fashion and a flamboyant nature.
Instead, “Ugly Betty” lived on its stereotypes, undoing the real progressive work of a show like “Will & Grace,” which presented homosexuals as regular people. And I can’t think of a show that hasn’t thrown in plenty of Latino stereotypes with its characters. I don’t mind this necessarily, but it shouldn’t be hailed as being progressive.
The DVD set includes several audio commentaries, deleted scenes and a blooper reel. There’s also a slate of “Mode After Hours” webisodes like what we saw on the season three DVD, as well as a featurette “Betty Goes Bahamas” about the cast heading to the islands to film an episode.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the show and anyone who doesn’t mind glaring stereotypes masquerading as social commentary.