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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Betty comes to an end, sans the Ugly

    Last night marked the series finale of a fantastic four year story.  ABC's Ugly Betty, after scoring high enough ratings to move off of Friday nights, was abruptly and unfortunately canceled shortly thereafter.  What makes the cancellation seem criminal was that Betty's current season was shortened by two hours, giving the show's team even less time to tie everything up.  They managed to, but only by rushing and packing plot thickly into the last few hours.

     True to Betty style, everyone got a happy ending in "Hello Goodbye".  Amanda (Becki Newton), in the course of a mere three episodes, got to know a man she realized was her father, and he was glad to be in her life.  Marc (Michael Urie) didn't officially get a promotion, but it seems like he'll be a major creative drive for Mode magazine from now on.  Speaking of Mode, Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams), the show's resident villainess, not only turned over a new leaf, but got her heart's desire in both her career and her personal life.  Hilda (Ana Ortiz) was married to a man who treated her right and bought her a home in Manhattan, much to her son Justin's (Mark Indelicato) delight.  Justin found acceptance of himself.  And even Ignacio (Tony Plana) being left alone seemed happy about it, glad to see his daughters do something with their lives.

     Of course, the title character daughter, Betty (America Ferrera, who turns 26 on Sunday, what a crappy birthday present!) got her dream job and moved across the Atlantic to London.  And new more stylish glasses, to match her better wardrobe and braces-less smile, as she has slowly been transformed away from ugly duckling by the time they filmed her swan song.  Though she revisited a couple of the men who stirred her heart over the years, in the end she was left single.  Sort of.  Although it had to be quick, Daniel (Eric Mabius), her boss of the last four years, came to realize his feelings for her, quit his job, and moved to London, too.  He didn't try to stop her from fulfilling her potential, the sole man who only ever wanted her to bloom.  It was perfect, and thankfully the writers didn't rush that, merely teasing at the beginning of the relationship without getting into it yet.

     Sadly, there were some glaring loose ends that just couldn't be tied up.  Most involved the Meade family.  Alexis's (Rebecca Romijn) absence was glaring, nor did Claire (Judith Light) have time to figure out her new family situation to my satisfaction.  I hesitate to hope for a feature film, chances seeming slim, but surely there could easily be happenstance enough to get the entire cast over to Britain and do a fitting follow up?

     As the picture faded out, the title appeared on the screen, and then the Ugly faded away, leaving only Betty.  That would be the name of the dream movie in my mind.  Given the constraints, it was the best finale fans could have hoped to have seen.  The sadness comes with the knowledge of such unfulfilled potential.  The show, not Betty herself.  She got hers.

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