Written by Alexis Quinn
Despite the outrageous plotlines and mediocre acting, Ugly Betty is one of those shows you can’t help but watch—it’s so bad it’s almost good. And this season is no different. Even with a primetime budget and well-known cast, the show stays true to its telenovela roots as an adaptation of the Colombian telenovela Betty la fea, mimicking the production value of your everyday soap opera.
This season, Ugly Betty is full of changes. After moving production from California to New York—where the show actually takes place—Betty (America Ferrera) is back and has some tough decisions ahead of her. After turning down a wedding proposal from Henry (Christopher Gorham) and a free trip to Rome with Gio (Freddy Rodríguez), Betty opts to take a cross country road trip by herself in an attempt to claim her independence; she swears off of love (but later ends up falling for fellow journalist), moves out of the Suarez house (but moves back before the end of the season) and seeks a promotion at Mode.
Although the show doesn’t fail to entertain, it’s really, really hard to take seriously. With appearances by Linday Lohan who plays Betty’s childhood nemesis and manager of Flushing Burger (where Betty’s dad now works) and the reoccurring role of Rebecca Romijn as a transsexual seeking control of Mode, it definitely reeks of daytime TV. This season is hard to keep up with if you haven’t watched the show in the past or done your research, but it’s worth watching just to see what all the hype’s about.
Each episode of Ugly Betty is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image is extremely crisp, which shows off the bright, vibrant colors of the show; Betty’s eclectic outfits, and the show’s quirkiness in general. Although there are four episodes per disc, the quality is much better than what appears on broadcast television.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track works well, and despite obviously voiced-over scenes, the dialog always matches up properly and is front and center. The music in each episode fits well with every scene and adds to the show’s novella/soap opera feel.
Look Who Keeps Popping Up – A video commentary of the episode “The Sex Issue” with a seemingly entertaining video commentary by Michael Urie (Marc) and Becki Newton (Amanda) which includes a count of unknown facts and sexual references and appearances by Mark Indelicato (Justin), Vanessa Williams (Wilhelmina), and even America Ferrera (Betty).
Coming Home to New York City – This feature focuses on the show’s move from California to New York and includes the story behind the move and how the decision came about.
Mode After Hours – Webisodes – These webisodes feature Marc and Amanda goofing off at Mode once they’re off the clock. This feature seems kind of unnecessary and adds nothing to the show, but might be entertaining to hardcore Ugly Betty fans.
Audio Commentary – An audio commentary by Executive Producers/Writers Tracy Pout and Jon Kinnally and Co-Executive Producer/Director Victor Nelli Jr.
Everything about Ugly Betty may scream tacky and amateur, but it seems as though that’s kind of the point. Personally, this isn’t a show I’d want to sit down and watch on a regular basis, but if you’re looking for a guilty pleasure, this is it. If anything, Betty’s outrageous outfits will keep you entertained.