Have you ever walked into a 2 hour movie with only half an hour left to go? It is not a picnic. The same can be said of a television show that is entering its fourth (and final) season and you haven’t watched a single episode. That’s the situation that presented myself with Ugly Betty. However, I have always found myself up to the challenge and we’ll step into this adventure with our head held high.
In the final episode of season three, we see Molly (played by Sarah Lafluer) is dying. Betty (played by America Ferrera) and Marc (played by Michael Urie) are fighting over the position of associate features editor which is now vacant. The winner, Betty is decided on a coin flip conducted by Daniel (played by Eric Mabius) and Wilhelmina(played by Vanessa Williams). But as Betty settles into her new position, her boyfriend, Matt (played by Daniel Eric Gold) breaks up with her.
Matt lets her know that he will be her boss since he took a vacancy also at Mode magazine. Wilhelmina is not exactly job secure either as she has issues with Calvin(played by David Rasche) and Claire (played by Judith Light) who are investor and owner, respectively at Mode. Meanwhile, Wilhelmina enters a room in her room, drops a glass and asks “What Are You Doing Here?” to a character that is not shown.
In the last scenes, Claire is burning an adoption notice which could only mean she did not have an abortion as she told Wilhelmina. Daniel comes home but only finds death as Molly has passed away. The show ends with Daniel and Betty in a tearful embrace over Molly’s unfortunate passing. I’m completely lost, I admit it. But without fail, we shall continue into the fourth season with all new stories and intrigue (dramatic music interlude).
Season four begins and Betty is finding difficulty in adapting to her new job. Her boss is her ex-boyfriend Matt who is still bitter over the breakup. Betty has a new officemate named Megan (pronounced Meegan and played by Smith Cho)) who can’t stand her and the rest of the people in the department resent Betty because of her special relationship with Daniel, Editor-in-chief. Matt has his own problems and sleeps with the receptionist, Amanda (played by Becki Newton) basically on the rebound as he has not dealt with his feelings toward Betty.
In the cliffhanger from the last season, the person Wilhelmina sees is her daughter, Nico (played by Yaya DaCosta). It seems that Nico is involved in some nefarious doings and needs help from her mother. Daniel is still having trouble with the death of Molly as he sleeps with Amanda (apparently, this is a common plot device) and starts a relationship with a girl named Natalie (played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler) who is in his therapy group.
On Betty’s homefront, her sister Hilda (played by Ana Ortiz) is dealing with her relationship to Archie (played by Ralph Macchio) who is running for public office. There might also be an old flame, Bobby (played by Adam Rodriguez) running about. Justin (played by Mark Indelicato), Hilda’s son is being questioned about his sexual orientation and tries to find friends at his high school. But the real question of season four? Is Betty ever going to get her braces taken off? It’s been four years for pete’s sakes.
So, this show actually lasted four seasons and eighty five episodes? In fairness, this show was struggling in the third and fourth season and they finally decided to give it the heave ho. I guess the initial gimmick of a show about an “ugly” girl (who isn’t ugly at all) working at a fashion magazine can only get you so far. Truth be told, the actors and actresses make the surroundings around Mode a pretty funny place. But from the episodes I watched in the fourth season, it is hard to tell if there is any direction to what they are doing. It is one tired fashion joke after the next.
America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams are perhaps the strongest in character but even I found that Vanessa in particular just wasn’t evil enough for me. America has a long future in this business but hopefully her Ugly Betty days won’t leave her stereotyped (doubtful). Another quibble of mine, could they have done more with reoccurring character Calvin Hartley? David Rasche is an awesome actor and was completely wasted here. The show never felt up to par of many other hour long dramas because they never could decide if they were trying to be funny or serious.
The video is the standard 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation. Yes, even Ugly Betty gets the HD treatment. And no, she’s not ugly at all (let’s get that bad joke out of the way). Color is excellent, and there are no real problems I could find. As expected, there really isn’t any dark scenes at the vibrant Mode magazine, so there is no chance to find any of the usual assorted video problems.
The sound is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Stereo Sound. This is not a sound effect laden show, but they do a decent job of making it as robust as a set show can be. Dialog is nice and clear even with a few of the assorted speech patterns by the characters of the show. Conversations stay in the center and hardly ever deviate. Subtitles are included for the French and the Spanish speaking populace.
- Automatic Trailers: ABC, Scrubs the 9th Season, Cougartown Season 1, and The Last Song
- ABC Starter Kit: Ugly Betty 4:34: ABC was nice enough to include this featurette which tells you a bit about the show you are watching if you are a first time watcher (this would be me). Helps out with major characters and tells you some about what the show is about. Watching it through a couple of times does help, but nothing can replace three seasons of material.
- Deleted Scenes 1:24: Deleted Scenes appear on each disc. The two contained here are Conner Checked Out and The Steam Room.
- Deleted Scenes 1:58: The three contained here are I’m Available, What is Level 5?, and Breathe.
- Mode After Hours 15:56: This was done as one of those webisode series. Divided into four parts, the characters of Marc and Amanda are after-hours at Mode magazine. This is actually funnier than the show as Marc and Amanda do all sorts of things (they probably shouldn’t) at the magazine headquarters.
- Deleted Scenes 1:38: The two contained here are Elevator Chatter and Male Models.
- Betty Goes Bahamas 8:30: Michael Urie and Becki Newton out of character are in the Bahamas and go on a cast finding mission. Relatively funny, but should have been longer and more thought out.
- Betty Bloops 6:32: Good assortment of bloopers and other funny happenings at Ugly Betty.
- Deleted Scenes 3:44: The three contained here are Guy Talk, Wedding Planning and Going Too Far.
- Audio Commentary – “All the World’s a Stage”: This commentary is with Actors Michael Urie and Mark Indelicato. Ever wanted to listen to two actors go full on flame while they are watching their favorite tv show? This commentary is right up your alley. Even the Human Torch is telling them to calm down. Anyway, I guess they did this commentary for this episode since Mark had his infamous kiss scene with the character of Austin(played by Ryan McGinnis). Yeah, I really didn’t hear about it either.
Rumors are that they still want to make an Ugly Betty movie. I guess the rationale is that if it worked for Sex and the City, surely it would work for Ugly Betty. Except SaTC was a much better and longer lasting show. Ugly Betty is a good show when it sticks to comedy but usually fails when it tries to take a much more serious tone. Many of the actors and actresses are quite talented but are brought down by questionable writing.
The disc package should delight many fans. There is a great wealth of extras (which really showcase Michael Urie and Becki Newton) as well as more than capable video and sound. Honestly, I can’t recommend this show to newcomers. However, most of the people reading this review love the series and I could tell them that Betty dresses up as a hot dog in one episode and you would still watch it. Oh wait, that happened. Needless to say, the fans will certainly eat up this final season. Thanks for reading.
The Butterfly Effect (Part 1 of 2)
The Butterfly Effect (Part 2 of 2)
Blue on Blue
The Wiener, The Bun and The Boob
Level (7) With Me
The Bahamas Triangle
The Passion of the Betty
Back in Her Place
Chica and the Man
Fire and Nice
All the World’s A Stage
Million Dollar Smile
The Past Presents the Future