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Ugly Betty on DVD: Season 1Season 2

"Ugly Betty" The Complete Second Season DVD Review

Buy Ugly Betty: The Complete Second Season from Amazon.com Ugly Betty: Season Two (2007-08)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Silvio Horta / Directors: Victor Nelli Jr., James Hayman, Michael Spiller, Matt Shakman, Wendy Stanzler, Tricia Brock, Tucker Gates, Henry Alonso Myers, Rodman Flender, Gary Winick, Ron Underwood, Linda Mendoza

Regular Cast: America Ferrera (Betty Suarez), Eric Mabius (Daniel Meade), Rebecca Romijn (Alexis Meade), Vanessa Williams (Wilhelmina Slater), Tony Plana (Ignacio Suarez), Ana Ortiz (Hilda Suarez), Judith Light (Claire Meade), Christopher Gorham (Henry Grubstick), Ashley Jensen (Christina McKinney), Becki Newton (Amanda Tanen), Michael Urie (Marc St. James), Mark Indelicato (Justin Suarez), Alan Dale (Bradford Meade)

Recurring Characters: Freddy Rodriguez (Giovanni "Gio" Rossi), Alec Mapa (Suzuki St. Pierre), Jayma Mays (Charlie), David Blue (Cliff), Eddie Cibrian (Coach Tony Diaz), Gabrielle Union (Renee Slater), Lorraine Toussiant (Yoga), Rick Fox (Dwayne), Julian de la Celle (Daniel Jr.)

Notable Guest Stars: Victor Garber (Professor Barrett), Eden Espinosa (Elphaba), Megan Hilty (Glinda), Marlo Thomas (Elaine Winthrop), Victoria Beckham (Herself), Mo'Nique (L'Amanda), Eliza Dushku (Cameron Ashlock), Bow Wow (Himself), Omarion Grandberry (Himself), Caroline Aaron (Judge Biotch), Paul McCrane (District Attorney Weitz), Barry Bostwick (Roger Adams), Gene Simmons (Himself), Betty White (Herself), Larry King (Himself), Lindsay Lohan (Kimberly), Robbie Myers (Herself), Joe Zee (Himself), Naomi Campbell (Herself)

Running Time: 765 Minutes (18 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008
Season 2 Airdates: September 27, 2007 – May 17, 2008
Five single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with Cardboard Slipcover

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By Kelvin Cedeno

Like the second installment of a film series, the sophomore season of a television show tends to be the most telling. First seasons often let the cast and crew experiment to see what works and what doesn't. By the second season, the right footing is usually agreed upon. The challenge that then emerges is to raise the stakes and develop the characters in a new way.
"Ugly Betty" not only had to achieve this after a wildly successful first season, but it had to do so with a writers' strike looming.

In its second season, "Ugly Betty" deals with the title character's (America Ferrera) relationship with Henry (Christopher Gorham). With an ex-girlfriend Charlie (Jayma Mays) pregnant with his child, Henry has difficulty juggling his roles as a boyfriend and as a father-to-be. Things aren't easier for Betty either, as Mode sandwich-maker Gio (Freddy Rodriguez) catches her eye.

The ever-conniving Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) continues her plan to own Mode via her upcoming marriage to Bradford Meade (Alan Dale). Christina (Ashley Jensen) is unexpectedly dragged into this, while Daniel (Eric Mabius) and Alexis (Rebecca Romijn) try to fix what's left of their broken family. As all of this unfolds, Amanda (Becki Newton) searches for her birth father and comes to an unexpected conclusion.

Gio (Freddy Rodriguez) and Betty (America Ferrera) have a confrontation as Marc and Amanda look on. Marc (Michael Urie) listens as Amanda (Becki Newton) expresses her desires of a father and her newly-inherited dog stares off vacantly.

"Ugly Betty" debuted with a surprising amount of confidence and quality. As such, its second season doesn't veer too drastically in style or tone. This is a positive thing considering how sharp the writing is. There's nary an episode that doesn't inspire at least one laugh, and the actors understand the importance of comedic timing. Being more of a dramedy than a comedy, though, requires weight and sincerity in the emotional scenes, and everyone on board once again delivers. This is aided by the fact that many of the supporting characters have been given more to chew on.

Unfortunately, that asset simultaneously becomes a detriment. Because the show juggles so many different storylines and characters, Betty herself nearly becomes a supporting player in her own series. Her character arc is mainly focused on the love triangle between her, Henry and Gio,
and, as such, she feels a little less proactive. Another strength of the show that also becomes a weakness is in the dramatic department. The series' soap opera roots become more apparent than ever since many major plot lines and twists are a bit too outrageous. Some of these (like Wilhelmina's scheming and the search for Amanda's father) are given the tongue-in-cheek tone needed. Others, such as most of the Meade family dynamics, feel rather contrived. Thankfully, the genuine performances help sell these better than most soap operas could.

Even with some outlandish storylines, "Ugly Betty" remains a strong show. Its cinematography and production design feel very cinematic and less claustrophobic than other programs. The scripts feature a wealth of comedic gold, and the cast acts as a sturdy bridge between this and the more heavy-handed drama. Its generally consistent quality throughout the two seasons it's been on the air ensures a well-deserved growth in fans in the years to come.

The Complete Second Season arrived on DVD with a slightly lighter supply of episodes due to the Writers Guild of America's 2007-08 strike. Episode summaries follow, but beware of potential spoilers that stem from the series' serialized format. Five standout episodes are marked with a star ().

One-eyed Betty has to settle for an accompanying pigeon (not parrot) in "How Betty Got Her Grieve Back." In "Family/Affair", Amanda (Becki Newton) becomes the not-so-proud owner of her mother’s dog. Betty’s professor (guest star Victor Garber) demands to know why no one else in the class can turn in a paper like Betty’s alleged story in "Grin and Bear It."

Disc 1

1. How Betty Got Her Grieve Back (42:09) (Originally aired September 27, 2007)
Betty experiences a streak of bad luck and is in denial over her feelings for Henry. Wilhelmina abuses her power at Mode as Daniel and Alexis recuperate in the hospital. Upset over who could be her father, Amanda goes on an eating binge.

2. Family/Affair (43:00) (Originally aired October 4, 2007)
When Betty catches Wilhelmina with a security guard,
Wilhelmina strikes a bargain that could get Ignacio back home. Alexis wakes up from her coma with a case of amnesia. Amanda inherits a hideous dog from her deceased mother.

3. Betty's Wait Problem (42:57) (Originally aired October 11, 2007)
Betty grows interested in Gio, the new sandwich man, despite her annoyances with him. Claire decides to come out of hiding in order to approach Bradford. Meanwhile, Wilhelmina uses the annual Black and White Ball to make a special announcement.

4. Grin and Bear It (42:52) (Originally aired October 18, 2007)
Betty uses a Mode article involving a bear attack for her creative writing class. Alexis struggles in her first day back at Mode, especially when a new advertiser arrives. Amanda's discovery about Wilhelmina's past leads to a clue about her father's identity.

"A League of Their Own" shows Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) flaunting just how happy she and the Meades (Rebecca Romijn, Eric Mabius, and Alan Dale) can be together. Henry (Christopher Gorham) and Betty hide their relationship under an office table as "Something Wicked This Way Comes." It's "A Nice Day for a Posh Wedding" as Bradford and Wilhelmina get ready to exchange their vows in front of a large audience.

Disc 2

5. A League of Their Own (43:00) (Originally aired October 25, 2007)
Having trouble avoiding each other, Betty and Henry attempt a platonic friendship. Hilda and Justin both cope with their loss in vastly different ways. When Wilhelmina attempts to bring the Meade family together for her own purpose, Claire decides to take action.

6. Something Wicked This Way Comes (42:54) (Originally aired November 1, 2007)
Daniel gives Betty two tickets to Wicked as a reward for getting over Henry. To hide the fact that she hasn't, Betty takes Gio along. An older female advertiser flirts with Daniel. Hilda begins a new job that Justin isn't very keen about.

7. A Nice Day for a Posh Wedding (42:29) (Originally aired November 8, 2007)
Wilhelmina prepares for her glamorous wedding, but butts heads with her attention-seeking bridesmaid. Much to Ignacio's dismay, Betty and Henry take their relationship further. Christina's husband returns in need of a serious favor.

8. I See Me, I.C.U. (40:33) (Originally aired November 15, 2007)
Daniel has difficulty forgiving Betty for keeping Wilhelmina's secret from him. Bradford's stay in the hospital gives the Meade family time to reflect on one another. Even with all the emotional turmoil, Wilhelmina continues her scheming to own Mode.

The Suarez family (Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, Mark Indelicato, and America Ferrera) admires their Christmas tree in "Giving Up the Ghost." Daniel and Alexis don’t really seem "Bananas for Betty." Their main concern is beating each other in a life-altering paintball match. "An Odor in the Court" causes Betty to seek medical attention when her personality goes haywire.

Disc 3

9. Giving Up the Ghost (42:59) (Originally aired November 22, 2007)
When Wilhelmina uses her special Medusa X virus to wipe out Mode's files,

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the team scrambles to make their deadline. Betty and Daniel attempt to get a teenage celebrity out of rehab for reshoots while Alexis flirts with the printer to buy more time.

10. Bananas for Betty (42:27) (Originally aired December 6, 2007)
Jealous of the excitement Gio and Hilda get on their dates, Betty tries to coax Henry into similar activities. Wilhelmina finds herself with unwanted publicity after injuring Betty White. Alexis and Daniel's sibling rivalry culminates in a paintball match.

11. Zero Worship (42:27) (Originally aired January 10, 2008)
Betty is uncomfortable with the impression Mode is making on Justin's friends. Wilhelmina's master plan to take over Mode runs into a major complication. To find out more about her father, Amanda visits a psychic.

12.Odor in the Court (42:59) (Originally aired January 17, 2008)
Claire is put on trial for the murder of Fey Sommers. After trying on a mysterious bottle of perfume, Betty finds her personality altered. Christina is torn when asked to take part in Wilhelmina's plan, the benefits of which would help her husband.

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Continue to Page 2 >>

Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-3
Page 2: Discs 4-5, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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Reviewed September 16, 2008.