UGLY BETTY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
America Ferrera as BETTY SUAREZ
Eric Mabius as DANIEL MEADE
Alan Dale as BRADFORD MEADE
Tony Plana as IGNACIO SUAREZ
Ana Ortiz as HILDA SUAREZ
Ashley Jensen as CHRISTINA MCKINNEY
Becki Newton as AMANDA TANAN
Mark Indelicato as JUSTIN SUAREZ
Michael Urie as MARC ST. JAMES
Vanessa Williams as WILHELMINA SLATER
Studio: ABC Studios
BY KEVIN CARR
Back when “Ugly Betty” first debuted on ABC, I held back from jumping on the bandwagon. Sure, it was a cute show, but it started out as nothing more than a Latina version of “The Devil Wears Prada.” Over its first season, it gained a following and was pretty entertaining.
What bothered me then, and what bothers me now, is that it is in danger of being a victim of its own popularity. The core character of Betty, who has plenty of unresolved issues, has become a shining hero. Keeping her fresh image and friendliness is becoming a challenge as the second season moved on.
Most noticeably, Betty suffers from the “Ross Syndrome,” named for what David Schwimmer faced on “Friends.” Ross was a great character that most guys could identify with. However, soon he got so many hot chicks that no one liked him any more. The girls thought he was a man-whore, and the guys resented that he was getting more tail than ever before.
Similarly, Betty may still have no fashion sense, a tin grin and a terrible haircut. But into the second season, she’s fighting off two guys who want to be her boyfriend. How much sympathy can we have when she’s got two cute guys after her?
This hints at the soap opera nature of the series, which is the focus of the second season. More characters are given the spotlight – like Daniel’s transgender brother/sister Alexis Meade (Rebecca Romijn) and the Betty triangle of Gio (Freddy Rodriguez) and Henry (Christopher Gorham). Sadly, my favorite characters Amanda (Becky Newton) and Marc (Michael Urie) struggle to find a piece of that spotlight.
Another storylines that piqued my interest was a more appropriate use of Christina (Ashley Jensen) as Wilhelmina Slater’s (Vanessa Williams) surrogate baby mama. In the first season, Christina was annoying and didn’t fit well into the show. Now, with her selling her soul (and body) to the devil, she’s got some interest.
“Ugly Betty” manages to be outrageous with its sexual undertones but still be something you can watch with your mother. It’s a bubbly, cotton-candy show and remains a fun, mindless escape. If it can hold down the preachy moments, of which it has many, then it will continue to be good.
The DVD comes with a nice selection of bonus features, including a set tour with Becky Newton and Michael Urie, a tour of the Suarez home, a spotlight on Wilhelmina Slater, bloopers and deleted scenes. My favorite special feature are entire episodes of the Mexican soap operas shot for the show. You can watch them with the original Spanish language or with bad English dubbing. They’re hilarious.