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Dear Crabby: What is the biggest waste of time during a show?
Dear Couch: Musical montages, however the writers redeem themselves, so pipe down and pass the lime Tostitos before I open a can of salsa whoop ass on ya!
We open this Ugly Betty with Betty living up to her name in that sideshow freak dress with the poofy 80s sleeves. Nice, Betty. Hilda has selected a lot of knock-off merchandise for the boutique part of her business, because nothing says legitimate salon like the one on the enclosed back porch of your house with a bunch of “Plada” sunglasses. “My customers won’t know the difference,” Hilda quips. Yeah, but I bet the police have triple digit I.Q.s, and they matter a little more.
Betty is kvetching (you heard me) about how she’s now paying double in her apartment because hello, she was too stupid to make Amanda pay for anything. Didn’t Amanda just give her a big bag of money after the party where she made out with Betty’s himbo? Betty must have blown it on that dress which continues to look like Pucci puked.
Betty has been “dropping hints” all week about the rent, which is the passive aggressive way of doing what Hilda tells her to say: “Where’s my rent, bitch?” I’m with Hilda on this one. Did she get extensions? Her hair looks longer. Oh, and Betty keeps her cash in the cookie jar. Good thinking, because that’s the last place thieves will ever look. Next time, try a Tampax box. No robber would look there. Well, now they might, you know, if they are fans of the recaps.
While Betty is giving Hilda excuses about Amanda’s tough life, Amanda comes bobbing in with her arms full of bags. “Look how much money I saved!” I am totally in touch with that emotion. But methinks cashmere will not pay the rent.
On the way to work, Betty mentions the rent is due the next day and she needs Amanda’s half but poor Amanda is short on cash this month and no, she can’t return sale items. Maybe Betty could sell them on eBay? Betty complains that it’s bad enough that she has to go “downtown” to pay her creepy landlord (it’s called a check and the post office, look into it), but she can’t keep covering Amanda’s half. Seems like she might have wanted to have this conversation on day one of roomie time, but maybe we should just leave it to Judge Judy?
Back at the office, Wilhelmina is avoiding Connor like a 7th grade girl, asking Marc to run interference so she can get to her office without running into Connor…which she does, of course, including a “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya,” comment. Godammit Willie, pull yourself together. He was probably too drunk to remember you trying to seduce him, I know I was.
Christina comes into Willie’s office to see if she wants to go to the doctor’s today for the 7th month checkup. Willie has a lot on her mind right now and can’t be bothered by her dead baby daddy’s baby right now. Christina should know the details are always left to Marc! However, I’m thinking Willie doesn’t want to go because Christina is sporting a Princess Leia double-bun in the oven hairstyle. Unless those have hidden Bose earphones, they have got to go.
Connor comes barging in asking Wilhelmina something, then asking if he’s interrupting. Dude, she has two people in her office that she is clearly talking to, try to get the order of your manners right next time. “I have a marketing presentation at Ralph Lauren this afternoon, it would be great if we could do it together,” he says to Marc’s guffawing. Yes, this episode is really going to take us back to junior high. Also, explain to me why their CFO is doing a marketing presentation? This company’s org chart must look like a freakin’ snake ball, I swear to God.
Betty walks into Daniel’s office trying to make him go blind with her dress (seriously, Daniel should spend the three grand and get an image consultant pronto), reminding him that she starts her editor training soon. Since she wrote “BETTY STARTS YETI” in six inch letters of bright red crayon in Daniel’s daytimer, he’s pretty well informed. She asks Daniel for any overtime but due to budget cuts there isn’t overtime anymore…and given how many hours a week Betty works, it was probably the overtime itself paying for her apartment. The upside is that they need pitches and stories for their website and would be willing to pay for that if Betty is interested. Clearly Daniel has been hypnotized by the swatch dress from hell. Or the green belt. It can’t be easy being green around that monstrosity. And I’m talking about the dress, not Betty.
And guess who shows up? Daniel’s crush, Molly. This episode is like junior high. He smartly shuttles Betty out the door so Molly doesn’t lose her lunch over Betty’s magenta hosiery and smoothly says, “What’s up?” She’s hitting up Connor’s “rich jerk” friends (nice marketing) for money what with her working at the public school system of New York and constantly being out of Plada markers. The catch? Connor can’t make it tonight to help with the auction, so could Daniel step in? Kissy kissy!
Oh good, Betty is complaining to Christina about being out of money, thanks to having to cover Amanda all the time. Wonder if she’s considered sitting Amanda down and having this talk besides the one-on-one on the way to work? Betty says she hasn’t eaten since yesterday due to a cash flow problem, but really Betty, couldn’t you live on your reserves for a few weeks?
Betty is bemoaning the fact that this was supposed to be her dream apartment but it’s not. She wants to go out and have fun, but fun costs money so what’s a girl to do? Uh, next time make a smaller step and move to Brooklyn? Continue to live at home? Christina says she came to New York she was poor but she was able to have fun and it “usually didn’t cost me a cent.” That’s because being a barfly usually doesn’t cost you anything but dignity, and since you don’t have any of that, surrogate for Satan, I can see how it worked out for you.
During the web meeting, Betty pitches her idea for “A Day in Manhattan on Zero Dollars.” Knowing Betty, it is probably going to involve recycling the garbage you find on the ground. She reads off how one of the museums is free every day and includes super-fun things like pottery, basketry, boring-try….Amanda makes the snore noise and says she thought the idea was to have fun in the city, “not put yourself in a coma.” Betty suggests feeding the squirrels in Madison Square Park to which Marc (and I) reply, “Or you could feed my brain a bullet.”
Betty, completely pissed, says, “Well maybe Marc and Amanda have better ideas?” Of course they do, they are hip and cool and living on food stamps in Manhattan. Amanda says she crashed the Tom Cruise movie premiere (I thought she said she was doing fun things?) and the after-party. “You’d be surprised what you can get away with,” she says.
“Like what?” Connor says. Don’t you have to read a spreadsheet or check ROI or something financial like that? I seriously would have shit if any finance directors sat in on our marketing brainstorming meetings. Get back to your mother’s basement, Connor, and put your graphic calculator to work!
“Well, I haven’t paid for a meal or drink in years…my bar tab is like $10,000,” Amanda boasts. Sort of like my student loan, just much, much, much more.
“Now that’s an article for our website!” Connor says. Spreadsheet! SPREADSHEET!
Betty and Amanda have sold the first article to the site and Betty is pissed it wasn’t just her idea. It’s like Kimmie all over again, but Betty, get with the program. You are like an old, brown shoe that needs some jazzy shoe polish. Roll with it!
Later, Betty is on the phone with Hilda, Justin, and Papi telling them about how she came up with a great idea only “Amanda glommed on” and now they have to work together. It’s like she’s Lisa Simpson and Amanda is Bart. Things are always more fun with Bart, people. They tell her to enjoy it but she’s all Debbie Downer about it. Wah-wahhh. Amanda shows up and says, “Let’s grip it and rip it.” Sounds like a commercial for a leg waxing product.
Daniel is in the hallway deciding on which tie “brings out his eyes,” and his mother is all up in his business per usual. She says it obvious he and Molly like each other, then she slaps Daniel. “She’s engaged, Daniel, and not just to anyone. Engaged to your friend and a senior financial officer of this company,” she says. Wait, isn’t Connor doing marketing now? Or if he’s “a” senior financial officer then there are others? Why did they need him? Snake ball, why must you taunt me so?
Claire slaps him again. “I’m not blind or stupid,” she says, “but I do know a thing or two about infidelity.” Claire, all’s fair in love and war, it ain’t over til it’s over, and finally, shut the hell up. Molly’s engaged, not married, she can still get out of this without a lot of division of assets. It would have been awesome if he had punched Claire back. I’m going to send her a bottle of Bailey’s and see if we can get the old Claire back. Daniel promises to be good which means he and Molly will be swapping saliva by the end of the show.
Wilhelmina and Christina come out from the doctor’s office and Willie is in no mood. Good thing she’s having a kid, they totally leave you alone. She says she doesn’t want to know the sex of the baby because she wants to be surprised. Or she doesn’t care, same dif. Her phone rings and Marc says, “The Thunder from Down Under wants to know when you’ll be back, what should I tell him?” Uh, tell him when she’ll be back, it’s not like she’s on a black ops mission for Christ’s sake. Tell him to go read a spreadsheet and she’ll call him when she’s back in the office. And tell him his nickname sounds like it should be used on a case of the clap.
But wait – Willie continues acting like a spurned junior high cheerleader (bitchy meets insecure) and she wants to take Christina out for a drink. She’s Scottish, she and the baby can handle it people. My mother smoked and drank while pregnant with me and I turned out fine, other than the fact that I write obnoxiously bitchy recaps under a pseudonym.
Okay, so here’s where they start to lose me as a viewer – the musical montage. I always think of this as a way for the writers to sort of fill up 5 minutes of viewing time without really working, but I will tell you this: they totally make up for it by the end of the show. Therefore, I will keep my complaining to a minimum. Ha, just kidding.
We see Amanda and Betty at a makeup counter with Amanda asking for more free samples and Betty adding things up on the calculator Henry left her. Amanda runs through the store trying on clothes with the plan to return them within 30 days after wearing them and gets Betty in on it with a really soft scarf. Oh, Betty, you are so easily bought. At an art gallery, they down some champagne and hook up with some Eurotrash they will trick into buying them dinner. Betty doesn’t want to go but mostly it’s because she’s a dullard. She should consider herself lucky Euro and Trash want to take them out.
Back at Wilhelmina’s ice palace, she raises her glass and says, “Here’s to the bundle of…what do they say? Joy?” Listen, anything that leaks from every orifice and demands your time 24/7 is not something joyful, it’s hellful! FULL OF HELL! Christina calls her out and says Willie hasn’t shown any interest in this kid except for it’s stake in the Meade media empire. Then she says, “You weren’t even going to come with me to the doctor’s until Connor wanted you to go to that meeting….what is going on with the two of you?” Dun-dun-dunnnn!
“You babble when you see him…and you’ve been avoiding him…ever since you got back from Key Largo,” Christina says. Isn’t that a song? “Did something happen?” She thinks, “You like him!” I know, she should totally pass him a note between the marketing and budget meetings, what with him going to both now. Willie says she might as well give up having a man around. Yes, Willie, kids do ruin everything. Christina says, “I wouldn’t do that, cause you’re having a boy.” Way to ruin the surprise!
At some hoity-toity restaurant I’m not cool enough to even view through windows, Betty and Amanda are talking about the time Betty worked at Player and rode her motorcycle into that vat of women and Jell-O or whatever goop it was. “This champagne tastes so…expensive,” she says. Where, I ask you, is her double-wide, she has that much class. Betty tells them she enjoyed her food but her Debbie Downer face tells another story. She excuses herself to go to the restroom.
In the bathroom, Betty calls her sister with a “moment of crisis.” Betty, just borrow a quarter and put it in the machine and something with wings will come out. No, wait, she’s upset because she’s having fun on someone else’s dime and she feels guilty. The pope would be proud of your Catholic guilt. Hilda tells her she needs to go have fun but be careful. “You live in the city but you don’t actually live in the city.” Good point.
Betty comes back to the table to find Euro and Trash gone, off to make some phone calls. Rut-roh. Betty tells Amanda that she was skeptical about their evening together, but she’s had fun. They toast each other with expensive champagne just as their evening crashes and burns. The waiter brings over the check and says, “The gentlemen said you’d take care of this.” Betty looks at the bill and gasps. “They stuck us with the bill!” Just pay it with Daniel’s card and get the hell out of there. He won’t notice.
Amanda recommends doing a dine-and-dash and Betty explains that it’s illegal. The waiter comes back over and Betty asks to see the manager. I’m guessing she’s going to offer to pay off the bill by doing the dishes. For the next ten years.
Back at Mode, Molly shows up asking for her money. Honey, you should wait until you get to the hotel for that. “Is that sweet and sour?” she asks, adding, “Can I?” Yes, because you are wearing white so that would be the perfect thing to shuttle down your throat with chopsticks you have no clue how to manage. Daniel has apparently cancelled on her so she asks for a bigger check. Once again, klassy. Whoa, there it is, sweet and sour all down her dress. Didn’t see that coming except we all totally did. Someone get a Shamwow and clean her up.
He tells her that at least she has time to go home and change. Or she could have used the time to eat at home. “I’m a kindergarten teacher,” she says, “I’m always covered in paint, paste and puke.” Holy shit, I am so glad I have dogs. There is nothing appetizing about the three Ps she just mentioned people. I wonder if there is an outfit she can borrow from Mode? Everyone else does!
Back at the restaurant, Betty has grown some cajones and decides to see what she can get away with. She introduces herself to the manager and says they will be writing articles for the site about all things hip and cool and trendy and yadda yadda, and (cajones at the ready), “We’ll be featuring you prominently this month,” she says, as she hands her the bill with what looks like a library card in it (seriously, what credit card is white? I’ve seen silver, gold, blue, and I’ve even been in the presence of the mythological American Express Black Card – held by a total douchebag I knew, but I was totally impressed…but white? Help me out here).
The manager looks at Betty. Betty looks at the manager. Amanda looks at the manager. Amanda looks at Betty. Betty falters. A drip of sweat runs down her face which I thought the manager would pick up on, but instead the manager says, “Why don’t I take care of this?” Betty can’t believe it. Outside, they pat each other on the back about how smooth they were and how they are really going to promote the restaurant (I should say so, Suarez!). They decide to head home.
But Amanda can’t find her wallet. She’s pretty sure Euro and Trash stole it. But it gets worse. She had the rent money in there too because she was going to drop it off at creepy landlord guy for Betty. And yes, that’s gone too. Betty freaks out. Seriously, just ask Daniel for the money. Betty tells her that’s all she had and Amanda’s like, “Let’s just go to an ATM,” because money just comes from machines. But that was all Betty had in her account (which again begs the question, why is she paying in cash? How safe is that? Is the landlord providing her with receipts, because Judge Judy hates cash transactions without receipts).
“I can’t pay my rent this month,” Betty tells her. Amanda says, “We’ll pay it next month – what are they going to do, kick us out?” You mean like they did the last time you didn’t pay your rent? She’s got the acumen of a hamster. Then Betty freaks all out on Amanda saying that it wasn’t just tonight, it’s everything. “You really don’t take responsibility for anything, do you? Not when you run up my bills, or when you let your dog pee on my clothes (wait, what?), or eat all my food,” to which Amanda blames on an imaginary guy named Bad Ronald. “There is no Bad Ronald! Only BAD AMANDA!” Betty walks away. D’oh. And they were having so much fun.
Betty runs home, mostly to see if Papi has rented out her room, and he has to talk her off the edge (and he rented her room to a family of illegals, so it’s kind of awkward. Ironically, they all found work, unlike Hilda). She’s complaining to Papi about Amanda, and he says that maybe he and his wife raised Betty to be too responsible. Maybe Amanda has something to teach her. Like girl-on-girl action? Ew.
Back at Wilhelmina’s house of glass and knives, she says she’s thinking about naming her son Abalar, or maybe she said Avatar. That would be cooler. Christina suggests Haimish. Willie says, “Why not Angus.” Why do they hate this baby? Wilhelmina admits she didn’t want to know the sex of the baby because it was easier to think of it as an “it” than a “son.” No worries, Willie, I’ll think of it as an “IT” until it turns 18.
Christina’s phone rings and she says, “Daniel….a size 6?” Oh he is not! “Well, just look on the rack to the right,” she tells him. OR CHECK THE TAGS, DIPSHIT. Willie wants to know what’s up and Christina says Molly needed a dress for her event. “Interesting…” Willie says.
Back at Mode Daniel says to Molly, “Take your pick.” She pulls out a strapless red dress that seems a little too puffy in the mid-section, but she is wearing sweet and sour, so anything is going to be a step up. She decides to dress right in the open hallway/closet. Good thinking. He tells her not to have her picture taken in it, since it’s going on the next cover. She takes her hair down. “Is it too much?” she asks. Yes, Molly, too much fabric around the middle.
And then…Daniel is helping her with the dress…she looks at him…he looks at her…he leans in…she leans in…and then she pulls a Connor and pulls away. Those two are total teases! “Thank you for the dress,” she says, running out. Poor Daniel. He should go bang a model to take his mind off of things.
Betty comes home to an empty apartment. Did Halston run away? She looks at the scarf Amanda made her get and then opens her computer to write her story. Hope she gets a bigger percentage of the freelance money than Amanda does.
The next day, Daniel reads her article and tells her it’s great. “It’s exactly the kind of piece we need for the website. People are going to eat it up. It’s so much more than just what to do…it had a moral…seems like you guys had a blast.” Yes, except for the whole getting robbed thing. Daniel wants Betty to work with Amanda on this as a regular feature on the site. Hmmm. “Have fun, just make sure to stay out of trouble.” And stay out of those horrible mismatched outfits.
He puts her story aside and sees the chopsticks on his desk. Their cleaning staff sucks! He throws them away and gets back to work, meaning he starts downloading porn to take his mind off Molly McButter.
Betty heads up to the reception area and asks where Amanda is. The receptionist says she left early and in the background we see Amanda fly by.
She doesn’t want to talk to Betty but Betty grabs her and suddenly something flies off Amanda…could it be…flair? Yes! It’s her nametag! And she’s wearing a striped shirt! “I’m a freak!” Is that a Friday’s uniform? Because their burgers rule!
“Amanda, did you get a second job?” Betty asks. Turns out she did. Amanda says last night wasn’t Betty’s fault. Well, mostly it wasn’t. Amanda admits it was mostly her own fault. “I would say it was 70-40 – me,” Amanda says. Brainiac. “The thing is, you’re right. I should care more about what’s important to you. Like paying my half of the rent.” Betty admits to having had fun and thanks Amanda for it. Amanda heads off to work.
Willie is watching surveillance video of the Mode closet and of Daniel and Molly almost kissing. Which also means she’s seen Molly mostly naked. Yikes! Willie is ecstatic. “See how Daniel looks at her? It’s the way Betty looks at a cheeseburger.” Ha, and cheap shot. Leave those to the recappers, Willie! Looks like she’ll be using this as a wedge she’ll be hammering between Connor and school marm. “I’m back in the game!” she says.
Amanda comes home all gross from work to find that her wife (aka Betty) has dinner on the table and ready to go. She figured Amanda might be “tired and a little hungry.” She got her a gift, too, a Plada wallet to replace the one that was stolen.
“Thank you,” Amanda says. This is why I forgive the writers for the music montage – they are doing a great job developing not just Amanda, but the other characters as well. Who ever would have guessed Daniel had depth? Pas moi, people, pas moi.
Next week? Betty’s ready to start her new life but Hilda’s at the hospital – is it Papi or Justin? My money’s on Papi. Hope he has some of that insurance we’ve all been promised!