'Ugly Betty: Season 3'
(America Ferrara, Eric Mabius, Vanessa Williams, et al / 6-Disc DVD / PG / 2009 / ABC)
Overview: Join Emmy(R) and Golden Globe(R) Award winner America Ferrera in the acclaimed comedy that will have you laughing out loud and cheering for TV's favorite fish out of water. It's a year of change for Betty and her friends at Mode. With the future of the magazine up in the air, a new roommate and the ever-changing carousel of office relationships spinning faster than ever, Betty's life is full of surprises. On top of it all, Betty's move to the big city has her wondering whether she truly belongs in her new fast-paced world.
DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, 'Ugly Betty' is definitely not episodic. The conflict in one episode almost always carries over into the next. Some of the arcs are very long. Most are relatively short, going over 3 or 4 episodes. I'm sure some of this is in way of a compromise with ABC. My major concern with the show has been the increasing triviality of the arc. The events on the show more and more have little or not import.
It is as if in attempting to satirize Latin American soap opera all they are concerned with is doing something reasonably outrageous, not something that takes us more deeply into the characters. Perhaps not all will agree with me.
But I found in Season Three that I was coming to care less and less what happened to the major characters. I came to feel a disconnect because things didn't seem to change to a believable degree. I mean, take the way Betty dresses. Yes, yes, I know. She is supposed to be different. But she works at a frakkin' fashion magazine! I know the title of the show has "ugly" in it, but America Ferrara's wig and glued on eye brows and clip on braces is getting a little tiring.
I suppose that what I am complaining about is that the show hasn't really managed any substantial character development over three seasons, despite the story details that we are given each week. I suppose I'm also a bit put off by the ease with which they dispense of important characters. Some of these have been effective, but some just seemed casual.
The elimination of Rebecca Romijn was especially troubling (though she was not pregnant when she was written out of the show, her departure did eliminate the need to either explain how the transsexual Alexis or at least how to hide her pregnancy), which seemed to be primarily a cost cutting move.
Ashley Jensen also departed the show, though in her case it appeared to have more to be her choice. She was reputedly not terribly happy about the move of the show to New York (the show was shot in L.A. the first two seasons). And the show suffered from not having any kind of adequate replacement for the departure of Henry and Gio from the show.
I suppose the way I can express my overall disatisfaction with the show is that I no longer have any kind of sense that anyone in charge of the show has any kind of vision about where the show is going. It isn't, in short, a show telling a story, despite its embrace of the long story arc; it is telling stories.
It has failed to transcend in any way the soap opera format. I even found myself unmoved by Daniel's marriage to a woman who was dying. I can handle a lot of melodrama, but that was too melodramatic even for my taste. [RM] This is a Widescreen presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Coming Home to New York City — Ugly Betty moves from sunny Hollywood to chic New York City! There’s energy and excitement in the air as exclusive time-lapse photography records the ground-up recreation of Betty’s sets at legendary Silvercup Studios, and as cast and crews talk
about their new adventure. Fans can take part in the show’s first momentous first day in
Manhattan, from wardrobe fittings with Patricia Field right up until the director calls “action.”
Look Who Keeps Popping Up — Besties Michael and Becki host hilarious pop-up video commentary that runs through an episode.
Betty Bloops and Alternate Takes — The writers and cast of Ugly Betty share their favorite unaired moments!
Deleted Scenes — Every Betty fan’s dream come true – a collection of informative, never-before-seen moments from the show reveal additional story arcs, character development and fun tidbits.