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Ugly Betty on DVD: Season 1 • Season 2 • Season 3

"Ugly Betty" The Complete Third Season DVD Review

Buy Ugly Betty: The Complete Third Season from Amazon.com Ugly Betty: Season Three (2008-09)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Silvio Horta / Repeat Writers: Henry Alonso Myers, Sheila Lawrence, Silvio Horta, Bill Wrubel, Tracy Poust, Jon Kinnally, Peter Elkoff, Brian Tanen, Cara DiPaolo /
Repeat Directors: Victor Nelli Jr., John Terlesky, Tom Verica, Michael Spiller

Regular Cast: America Ferrera (Betty Suarez), Eric Mabius (Daniel 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)

Recurring Characters: Rebecca Romijn (Alexis Meade), Ralph Macchio (Archie Rodriguez), Bernadette Peters (Jodie), David Rasche (Calvin Hartley), Lauren Velez (Elena), Sarah Lafleur (Molly), Alec Mapa (Suzuki St. Pierre), Daniel Eric Gold (Matt Hartley), Julian de la Celle (Daniel Jr.), Christine Baranski (Victoria Hartley), Derek Riddell (Stuart), Eddie Cibrian (Coach Tony Diaz), Val Matt Emmich (Jesse), Lindsay Lohan (Kimmie Keegan), David Blue (Cliff), Christopher Gorham (Henry Grubstick), Freddy Rodriguez (Giovanni "Gio" Rossi), Grant Bowler (Connor Owens), Max Ehrich (Randy)

Notable Guest Stars: Mark Consuelos (Det. Averaimo), Barry Bostwick (Roger Adams), Lenny Venito (Phil), Mark Badgley (Himself), Max Greenfield (Nick Pepper), Kevin Kilner (Dr. Mervin Farber), Alexander Chaplin (Fabian), Nikki Blonsky (Teri), Liz Smith (Herself), Michael Stuhlbarg (Heinrich), Mo Rocca (Host), Steven Schirripa (Frankie Burrata), Lawrence Saint-Victor (James), Brennan Brown (Miles Foster), Billie Jean King (Herself), Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Herself), Joy Behar (Herself), Robert Verdi (Himself), Rachel Maddow (Herself), Nigel Barker (Himself), Antonio Sabΰto Jr. (Himself), Rachel Dratch (Penny and Mindy Meadows)

Running Time: 1032 Minutes (24 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Chinese; Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
DVD Release Date: September 22, 2009 / Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Season 3 Airdates: September 25, 2008 – May 21, 2009
Six single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s)
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with Cardboard Slipcover

Buy from Amazon.com • Buy Seasons 1-3 from Amazon.com

By Kelvin Cedeno

It can be difficult to keep a television series going. The first season tends to be experimental as the creators try to figure out what works and what doesn't. By the second season, the results of the experiments allow them to play to their strengths and take characters and scenarios further. That season is usually a good indicator of where the series will be headed. By the third year, the creators (should) be familiar with their universe and face the challenge of neither repeating themselves nor betraying the established canon. ABC's "Ugly Betty" confronted such a challenge in its third season, balancing the new with the familiar.

The series' third season once again centers on plucky young heroine Betty Suarez (America Ferrera). After all of her relationship ups and downs of the past two years, she vows not to get entangled in any sort of love life. This mantra doesn't last too long when not one but two potential boyfriends cross paths with her. This is far from her only problem, however. At home, her father Ignacio (Tony Plana) develops a relationship with his much-younger nurse. Her sister Hilda (Ana Ortiz) gets into two different relationships with layers of baggage. And it becomes more and more difficult for Betty to be there for her family when her job at Mode magazine requires more and more responsibility.

When one of the "Player" biker chicks falls ill, Betty (America Ferrera) takes it upon herself to fill in. Betty (America Ferrera) consoles Daniel (Eric Mabius) after an embarrassing Easter egg hunt fiasco meant to save Mode magazine.

Speaking of Mode, things are as catty and complex as ever. Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) and Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius) continue their power struggle over the magazine, but they surprisingly find themselves on the same team when they're attracted to two people who happen to be engaged: suave financial advisor Connor Owens (Grant Bowler) and sweet girl-next-door Molly (Sarah Lafleur).
Betty's best friend Christina McKinney (Ashley Jensen) is still carrying Wilhelmina's child and heir to Mode, but it may be harder to give him up than anticipated. Meanwhile, assistants Marc St. James (Michael Urie) and Amanda Tanen (Becki Newton) continue to use Betty as a means of entertainment. The time comes, however, for them to rely on their dependable target for help.

After a well-made but slightly frustrating second season, "Ugly Betty" for the most part returns to form in Season Three. The major issue with the sophomore act was that it became so wrapped up in all of its interweaving storylines that Betty herself was short-shrifted, not given much substance outside of her tiresome on-again-off-again relationship with Henry. This time around, Betty's love life is downplayed in favor of her work and family woes, and the series is the better for it. America Ferrera once again rises to the challenge of being the glue that holds all the plot lines together, and she does so with seemingly effortless tact. The rest of the cast, both new and returning, also turn in memorable performances. These range from the outrageous (Michael Urie and Becki Newton) to the more grounded (Tony Plana and Ashley Jensen), with some roles falling in the middle (Vanessa Williams and Ana Ortiz). Somehow, all of these gel together smoothly, even when their isolated threads run into each other.

Secret meetings are a tradition of Mode employees, and Marc (Michael Urie) and Amanda (Becki Newton) carry this on with Betty (America Ferrera) to determine how to oust Kimmie. Unable to come to a mutual decision as to whether Betty or Marc should fill the vacant editing position, Daniel (Eric Mabius) and Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) flip a coin and examine the results.

The storylines take characters further than they've gone the previous two seasons, but that ends up being a double-edged sword. It's nice to see two-dimensional individuals like Marc, Amanda, and Wilhelmina given more depth and range to keep things from getting too predictable and stale. At the same time, though, the show loses some of its bite mid-season when softer sides are exposed simultaneously. Thankfully, the cattiness returns in full swing by year's end, and to help matters, the show finally figures out exactly what to treat seriously and what to poke fun at. While there were plenty of tongue-in-cheek storylines in the first two seasons, certain soap opera-like arcs were treated a little too dramatically. Here, there's self-awareness at how ridiculous such stories can be, and they're treated in a delightfully campy manner.

"Ugly Betty" remains a series that's both funny and touching, juggling both with more ease than most other primetime dramedies. With a talented cast, diverse characters, sharp dialogue, and a distinctive visual flair, the show makes its presence well known. There are times where it borders on betraying the rules laid out by its characters, but it reins things in well enough to remain consistent. With a more proactive heroine in tow and more complex storylines, Betty's upcoming seasons will hopefully continue the exceptional work seen here.

Episode summaries can be found below and contain spoilers due to the show's serialized format. The ten standout episodes are marked with a star ().

As Christina (Ashley Jensen) recuperates from a tumble down some stairs, Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) decides to milk the free publicity for all its worth. Gio (Freddy Rodriguez) temporarily puts aside his vendetta against Betty (America Ferrera) to watch Daniel and his son get into a disagreement.

Disc 1

1. The Manhattan Project (42:44) (Originally aired September 25, 2008)
Inspired by her summer trip,
Shop now for Merchandise from Ugly Betty!
Betty has a new outlook on life and makes the decision to buy her own apartment. Wilhelmina's choices over the direction of Mode culminate in Daniel opening his own magazine.

2. Filing for the Enemy (43:05) (Originally aired October 2, 2008)
Unhappy working at Player magazine with Daniel, Betty is tempted to become Wilhelmina's assistant at Mode. Daniel has more difficulty getting custody of Daniel Jr. than he expected.

3. Crimes of Fashion (43:03) (Originally aired October 9, 2008)
Betty investigates the night of Christina's accident in an attempt to clear Daniel's name. The relationship complexities between Hilda and Tony (Eddie Cibrian) suddenly find themselves out in the open.

4. Betty Suarez Land (42:42) (Originally aired October 16, 2008)
Gio returns to Mode, but despite Betty's efforts, can't forgive her. Daniel attempts to hide Daniel Jr. when the grandparents make an impromptu visit.

Kimmie (Lindsay Lohan) shows off her old yearbook to Amanda (Becki Newton) and Marc (Michael Urie), embarrassing Betty photos and all. In one of many split-screen phone call scenes, Betty (America Ferrera) finally manages to reach Daniel (Eric Mabius) while he's away on a meeting.

Disc 2

5. Granny Pants (41:53) (Originally aired October 23, 2008)
Kimmie (Lindsay Lohan), a high school bully from Betty's past, is hired as Betty's assistant. Daniel signs up for a dating service and is shocked to find out who he's matched with.

6. Ugly Berry (42:03) (Originally aired October 30, 2008)
Kimmie and Betty compete for control over the new issue's cover shoot. Wilhelmina hires Connor, who has an unpleasant history with Daniel, as Mode's financial advisor.

7. Crush'd (43:06) (Originally aired November 6, 2008)
Amanda moves in with Betty, complicating Betty's efforts at getting Jesse's attention. Marc makes a big mistake in his relationship with Cliff that results in an abrupt proposal.

8. Tornado Girl (42:36) (Originally aired November 13, 2008)
While Daniel and the other figureheads go away for a retreat, Betty tries to stop the printing of the latest issue. Hilda's occupational license is denied, forcing her to open her salon undercover.

Daniel (Eric Mabius) visits Molly (Sarah Lafleur) at her job but doesn't get to participate in show and tell. Betty (America Ferrera) looks on as a miserable Ignacio (Tony Plana) has his cough checked by Dr. Farber (Kevin Kilner).

Disc 3

9. When Betty Met YETI (43:00) (Originally aired November 20, 2008)
Both Betty and Marc apply for a spot at YETI (Young Editors Training Program),
but it won't accept two applicants from the same magazine. Wilhelmina finds herself falling for Connor while Daniel is drawn to Connor's fiancιe Molly.

10. Bad Amanda (41:50) (Originally aired December 4, 2008)
Betty and Amanda are paired together for an article on spending money out on the town without actually paying. Daniel tries to distance himself from Molly to avoid any temptation.

11. Dress for Success (43:05) (Originally aired January 8, 2009)
Betty runs into difficulty balancing her work life and home life, particularly when she's betrayed by a colleague. Wilhelmina and Daniel work together to split Connor and Molly apart.

12. Sisters on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (43:01) (Originally aired January 22, 2009)
Betty arranges a doctor's appointment for Ignacio after he experiences some post-heart attack symptoms. Wilhelmina becomes so distracted by Connor that Marc must fill in for her during a pivotal meeting.

Buy Ugly Betty: Season Three from Amazon.com / Buy Seasons 1-3

Continue to Page 2 >>

Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-3
Page 2: Discs 4-6, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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Reviewed September 24, 2009.