Betty walks down the hallway of a TV studio, frantically looking for Daniel. She finally sees him, sitting on a couch onstage with Sofia. But, despite Betty’s pleas that it’s an emergency, security tells Betty that they were warned to keep her away. They pick her up and pull her offstage. A crazy, confusing opening, indeed. What could Betty have done to be banished so harshly? Is Daniel mad at her?
To find out the answers, the show flashes back to 24 hours earlier. And thus starts what is probably my favorite episode ever of Ugly Betty. There was intrigue. There were plot twists. There was a gentler, kinder Wil (well, for a brief moment at least). There were Amanda and Marc at their catty best. And while there was no Cute Henry, at least there was no Boring Walter. And best of all – strippers and armadillos! This episode was Ugly Betty at its best, so let’s get to it!The episode starts out with Daniel and Sofia in bed together. Daniel made breakfast for Sofia, and tells her to eat all the way to the bottom for a surprise. Much to her disappointment, the surprise is papaya, her favorite fruit. Question: What kind of a surprise is fruit? Answer: A really lame surprise. Other things Daniel thinks are surprising: eggs in omelets, number of digits in a phone number, puppies. Needless to say, Sofia is disappointed. After all, she wanted a ring. But Daniel says that they should savor their time together. He gets out of bed, leaving a disappointed Sofia. Although in his defense, if you’re expecting a giant diamond ring, little else wouldn’t be disappointing.
Meanwhile, Betty arrives for her first day at MYW. She is greeted by an equally dorky girl, who I don’t think was given a name in the episode, thus she will hereafter known by the politically correct name: The Dork. The Dork loves Betty’s sweater vest. The Dork also loves working at MYW and working for Sofia. In short, The Dork is really kind of annoying. And this might be crazy, but I found The Dork very familiar, and while I can’t find confirmation of this anywhere online, there is a part of me who suspects The Dork was played by the same actress who plays Amanda.
Thoughts?! Anyway, Betty settles into her new desk, right across from The Dork, and immediately feels at home.
Meanwhile, Wilhelmina is in bed with Texas Ted. And I am totally loving these two together. They just got back from spending the holidays together in Texas, where Wil did crazy things like step in cow poo while wearing her Jimmy Choos. But these two can’t get any making out done, because Wil’s phone keeps ringing. Ted gives her a Texas analogy about roadrunners and armadillos, which just makes me think of Ross Perot. And there’s nothing that makes me want to make out less than thoughts of Ross Perot. But it obviously didn’t have the same effect on Wil, because she throws her phone away and the kissing commences. Yay!
Meanwhile, in Queens, Ignacio meets with his immigration case worker, Constance. Constance explains that he needs proof that he came to America in 1977. Ignacio takes great offense at this and gives her a lecture about how hard he’s worked, and how his wife is buried in America. While I sympathize with Ignacio’s situation, is it really a surprise that the government just won’t take his word for it? Anyway, Constance gets mad and leaves, telling Ignacio to find a new attitude. As soon as she’s gone, Ignacio gets on the phone asking for a new caseworker.
Back at MYW, Sofia is holding a staff meeting. Attending are Chubby Girl, Asian Girl, Indian Girl, Wheelchair Girl… well, you get the point – I love reducing people to nameless stereotypes. I mean, the show does. I mean, MYW is the opposite of Mode. And just to drive the point home, the MWY girls eat food freely! (and they are all girls – no smelly boys at MYW) And they laugh! (probably because there are no boys!) Why, this place is muy loco! Is it wrong that I prefer Mode? I mean, sure, I like to eat, but Mode seems way more fun. The people at MYW look like they sit around talking about… well, I was going to try to write something funny, but I got bored just thinking about what they’d talk about, but it probably has to do with how you don’t ever have to shave your legs when there are no boys around.
In the meeting, we learn that Sofia will be appearing on the morning show “Rise and Shine America” to launch MYW. But she tells her staff not to send over an advance copy of the magazine because she hasn’t decided on a cover yet. Then Sofia finds out that they need a last minute replacement for a fish out of water story. She gives the assignment to Betty – but this isn’t just any old story. She wants Betty to write about her time at Mode. And she needs it the next day.
Betty follows Sofia into her office telling all the reasons that she can’t write the story — she wasn’t treated very well, she isn’t ready to revisit those wounds. I’m pretty sure the answer I’d give would be this: “Do you want to write a story for a major publication or not? If you do, shut your tamale hole and start writing.” But Sofia just suggests that she can use her emotions to make the article real. OK, that’s another way to go.
But then Sofia gets all choked up. She tells Betty that she’s losing Daniel. Sofia is convinced that Daniel will never propose to her, and she’ll just be one in the string of his women. Betty tries to reassure her. And then, as soon as Betty leaves the room, Sofia lifts her head, checks her makeup and laughs. Hmmm…. I’m no detective, Watson, but methinks something funny is going on here!
Betty heads off to Mode to conduct interviews for her story. Marc only has a moment, as Wil is due back any second. He tells Betty that he was thrilled when she came to work at Mode, because it was someone new for him to make fun of. He also shows her a screensaver he created with embarrassing pictures of her. She agrees not to tell anyone about the pictures she found on him on www.dudecruise.com as long as he erases the pictures of her from his computer. Marc agrees. This leads us to Major Issue Totally Ignored by the Writers: What was Betty doing at dudecruise.com?! Have the writers been ignoring the “Betty spends evenings alone in her room in Queens surfing gay hookup sites?” storyline that we’ve all been longing for?
No time to ponder all this, because Wil is back. The whole office snaps into action. Marc cries out what may be my favorite line of the night: “Move it! The shark is in the box!” I don’t know what it means, exactly, but I love it. Just stop and think about a shark in a box and you will understand.
Wil gets off the elevators wearing jeans and boots. She is relaxed and happy and even admits to having shopped at an outlet mall.
Wil doesn’t care about an upcoming meeting, or even about a guy named Steve who called with some secret information on Bradford. But she is thrilled when she gets a present – an armadillo from Ted. Personally, I’d ben looking for replacements for those poo covered Jimmy Choos. But Wil has become a whole new person, apparently, and gives the armadillo a place of honor in her office. Only moments later, though, Fey calls to tell Wil that they need to talk in person.
Betty continues her interviewing. Amanda admits that she hated Betty at first, because Betty took the job she wanted. Betty then moves on to Daniel, who says that Betty helped him grow as a person. Boring! But when Daniel thanks her for helping with Sofia, Betty turns into Blabbermouth Betty and tells him that Sofia was downstairs crying, thinking that Daniel is having second thoughts. Betty recommends that he take action if he doesn’t want to lose her. Yay! What would this show be without Betty Buttinsky!
Wil has lunch with Texas Ted. She tells him how much she loved the armadillo, and she will keep it to remind her of what is important – having someone to share her life with. He warns her that he has baggage, including 3 ex-wives and a current wife. But Wil says that she’s willing to give it a shot if he is. I’m on your side, Wil, but is it really a safe bet to lay all your heart’s hopes on dream on the married guy with 3 ex-wives? In the next episode: Wil sets her romantic sights on Elizabeth Taylor.
Betty’s outside getting a hot dog for lunch when she sees Sofia getting out of a cab. And then sees Sofia give some money to Hunter. And then sees Hunter go into The Boylesque. What is the Boylesque, you ask? A gentlemen’s club exclusively for model / race car drivers? Hardly! It’s a male strip club!
Betty, scandalized, goes to Christina. She worries that perhaps Hunter is not actually a model / race car driver at all. And this is when Christina does exactly the right thing – she announces that it’s time for them to investigate themselves. That’s right – Boylesque, here we come!
Meanwhile, Wil goes to see Fey, who is still all wrapped up in bandages. And, incidentally, is still not Rebecca Romijn. Fey doesn’t care about Wil’s Texas adventure. She is upset that their plan to take over the magazine has stalled. Fey warns Wil that if she isn’t her ally, she will be her enemy and there will be no place for her. But Wil, still in love, seems unconcerned. She’ll always have her armadillo.
Daniel brings Sofia to his childhood home, explaining that before they move to the next step, she needs to meet both of his parents. And this is when Claire makes her grand entrance. She really is the boss! Clair immediately whisks Sofia away to show her baby pictures of Daniel. Really? Are baby pictures the most embarrassing thing they could come up with? How about showing Sofia Daniel’s empty bankbook and telling her how he squandered his entire inheritance?!
Then some boring stuff happens. Important for plot, sure, but still kind of boring: In Queens, Hilda and Ignacio look through boxes for proof of the year he came to America. Constance is furious at Ignacio for asking for a new caseworker and Hilda asks him to be nice and try to get on her good side.
Meanwhile, in the Meade mansion, the family talks about the death of Daniel’s brother (OK, that’s less boring than it is sad). And Bradford says that he thinks that the Meade family luck is changing since Daniel met Sofia. And this is where my detective skills kick in again – Why does Sofia look so worried? Is it possible the show is very subtly hinting that Sofia is up to something?!
OK – now back to the really good stuff – Betty and Christina at Boylesque! They are almost immediately approached by a pirate stripper. Um, awesome! Sadly, the pirate stripper’s only function is to point them to Hunter, the cop stripper. Just like real cops, he wore no shirts and really tight Speedos. Betty offers Hunter her lunch money for the week, $20, for some information. This is where I get distracted wondering where Betty can get 5 lunches for $20, especially since New York doesn’t have Del Taco or even Taco Bell. But before Betty can do anything more, Hunter leaves for someone with more money. As Christina points out, he’s a whore.
After dinner, the Meade family and Sofia relax by the fire. Sofia seems to think that the Meades are the perfect family. Which they are… if you can overlook the cheating and the shooting at each other and the fact that their son is a whoremonger. But despite it all, Claire and Bradford still rely on each other. Sofia wants what they have, she says, except for the cheating. I guess it’s implied that she means without the shooting and dead kids, too… And Sofia doesn’t realize that Claire’s big concern is whether or not her grandchild will have a Spanish name like Paco. Claire, apparently the one halfway perceptive one in the family, also suspects that Sofia is hiding something.
Now we’re back at the strip club. Betty returns with more money and Hunter admits that Sofia paid him to pretend to be her boyfriend. Buttinsky Betty, in full force, immediately calls Daniel with the news. But before she can share, Daniel reveals that he just proposed to Sofia. Betty congratulates him and hangs up.
Meanwhile, Wil gives Ted a pair of Ferragamo shoes. Presumably not from the Ferragamo Armadillo line. But Wil sees that Ted’s bag is packed. He explains that he talked with his wife and owes it to his kids to try to fix his family. You’d think that they’d have had that talk before he spent Christmas with Wil instead of his kids. But Wil takes it all in stride. Ted leaves, and Wil goes in to work at Mode, dressed in high fashion again. And I have to admit that while I did enjoy the thought of Wil finding love, I really prefer high-fashion bitchy Wil.
Betty confronts Sofia, who already knows that Betty found out about Hunter. Sofia explains that she knew Daniel’s reputation, and as a single girl she wouldn’t have been able to win him over. Then the Dork interrupts, saying that Daniel is waiting for Sofia in the car downstairs. Sofia tells Betty that they are going on the air to announce their engagement. When Buttinsky Betty invites herself along, Sofia orders her to stay and finish the article.
After Sofia leaves, Betty sees The Dork and Wheelchair Girl looking at a picture of the MYW cover. Turns out, the cover features Sofia and Daniel. Betty tries to read the accompanying article, but the others are under strict orders to keep it away from her. Betty manages to grab it away and makes a break for the elevator. Way to go, Betty, you can outrun the girl in the wheelchair!
Finally safe in the elevator, Betty starts to read. Turns out Sofia’s article is how to get any guy you want to propose to you in 60 days. Sofia’s advice includes: peak his interest (You know, by taking off your shirt in the elevator. Note: This works better when you have a rack like Salma Hayek’s ); give him a taste (Kiss him, or try having sex in a photo booth); make yourself unavailable (Have a finace who is a race car driver / model. Being a stripper is optional.).
In the studio, Sofia and Daniel are about to go on the air. And this bring us to where the show starts -with Betty being carried away by security. Unable to do anything, Betty watches as Sofia explains that she created MYW to fill a void — there are no magazines that make a modern woman feel empowered. You know, because the best way to boost a young woman’s self esteem is to teach her how to trap a man into an engagement. If only Gloria Steinem had thought of that when she founded Ms. Magazine.
Sofia then announces that she’s newly engaged to the most notorious bachelor in NYC, and she got him to propose to her in 60 days. Daniel smiles humbly but starts to look a little confused. And that’s when Sofia holds up the magazine and reveals that the entire romance was simply to get the cover story. Daniel is stunned, especially when Sofia admits that she was never in love with him.
They break for commercial and Daniel walks off the set. Sofia chases after him, explaining that he’s done the same thing to countless other women. I’m not advocating Daniel’s womanizing ways… But let’s compare: a) Seducing someone into saying they love you and asking them to marry, but then breaking the news that it was only for a story on national television. Or b) Being a cad who hooks up with girls but never calls. I know which one seems more callous to me.
Daniel sadly leaves Sofia behind. Buttinsky Betty tries to help out, but Daniel ignores her. Daniel goes to the Meade house. Bradford announces his plans to fire Sofia. But Daniel says that he should sign her up for a long-term contract. After all, her stunt will guarantee big sales for MYW. He learned from his dad that it’s just business. So this is the time when Daniel decides to be a businessman?! Really? Couldn’t care about the business for high pressure photo shoots or important clients, but now he’s all business. Well, we’ll see how long this lasts… I hope Daniel doesn’t become…. A shark in a box!
Sofia returns triumphantly to MYW. Betty immediately confronts her, furious that Sofia manipulated and lied to her. Sofia says that while she lied about Daniel, she didn’t lie about Betty’s potential. Betty gives Sofia her article, saying that while the people at Mode may be superficial, at least they know it and don’t pretend to be anything else. And then she quits. Yikes, bold move, Betty. Or maybe she’s just decided to take on that particular brand of MYW feminism and find a husband instead of work.
Back in Queens, Ignacio gives Constance a copy of a lease from 1977. She thinks that will help his case. Ignacio then apologizes for getting off the wrong foot and gives Constance a “World’s Best Immigration Worker” tin with candy in it. She hugs him and thanks him profusely. She promises to see a lot of him in the future.
Back at the office, Sofia gets on the elevator with Amanda. Amanda hits her over the head with the purse and although we don’t get to see it all, we do get to hear the sounds of whoop ass as the elevator goes down.
Betty goes back to Mode. She learns from Marc that no one knows where Daniel is – he left the interview and went directly to JFK. Betty is left standing alone in the Mode hallway.
So that was the show. As I said in the opening, I totally loved this episode. The plot finally move forward, but there are still a lot of questions. Was there some romantique interest by Constance for Ignacio? Is Sofia gone for good from the show? Will Betty go back to MYW? What will happen with Fey’s return? Will next week finally bring us Rebecca Romijn? Will Betty use Sofia’s article to snag Cute Henry?