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“Ugly Betty” pulls audiences in for a second season of spirited scandals

Courtesy of ABC

With a heightened pace and more intense storylines, ABC’s so-called “dramedy,” “Ugly Betty,” is back for its sophomore season.

In its first season, the show comically introduced unaesthetically pleasing assistant to the editor-in-chief of top fashion magazine, Mode, Betty Suarez (America Ferrera). Betty is loveable and reliable, which is important to her boss, Daniel Meade (Eric Mabus). Daniel just seems incapable of staying out of trouble and battles sex and drug addictions. He learns halfway through the first season that his deceased older brother, Alex, is not actually deceased but has undergone a sexual reassignment surgery and is now Alexis (Rebecca Romijn). How brilliant to have a supermodel play a transsexual: It pushes the comfort zone of many male viewers.

The show somehow stays balanced even with all of Betty’s family’s share of nonstop drama. Hilda, Betty’s older sister, is a young mother to the fashion-savvy Justin. A gorgeous Queens girl, Hilda pushes the Mode norm for beauty and independence. Justin’s father, Santos (Kevin Alejando) comes back into the picture later in the season. Santos and Hilda also become engaged towards the end of the season.

The largest issue in Betty’s family is the immigration status of her father, Ignacio (Tony Plana). Ignacio is an undocumented immigrant who entered the country with his late wife over thirty years ago. He was “red flagged” by the government and was forced to go back to Guadalajara, Mexico to wait for his visa.

This storyline was beautifully executed despite the touchiness of the topic, because viewers were able to empathize with Ignacio and at the same time see a new perspective on this hot political topic.

Betty’s love life goes from rather stagnant with Walter (Kevin Sussman) to full speed when Henry (Christopher Gorham) enters her life. Betty and Henry’s relationship never fully takes off because Henry’s ex-girlfriend, Charlie (Jayma Mays), moves to New York from Tuscon, Arizona. This tragically means Henry and Charlie get back together despite the constant sparks between he and Betty. The end of the season reveals Charlie is pregnant, but that Henry is unaware that she had been cheating on him.

The second season premiere, which took place Sept. 27, semi-resolved the cliffhangers that audiences had been agonizing over since May. These resolutions included the latest update on Betty and Henry’s pseudo-relationship; whether Ignacio was able to return to New York and if he was safe; the outcome of the bad accident with Alexis and Daniel; and whether Santos survived a shooting that took place at a convenience store.

Writers/producers Silvio Horta and Marco Pennette have managed to create a versatile template for the show in which they are able to discuss social issues and at the same time handle them with grace, ease and comic relief.

This past premiere, Betty is forced to wear an eye patch after an intense collision with a mini billboard that said “Love Hurts” while ranting about how she must forget Henry, which really proved this show has a hands-on comedic approach towards sensitive topics.

The tender moments of the show come at rather unexpected times and cause the viewer to empathize with the character’s various situations. This was the case when an unexpected moment in a recent episode revealed Hilda’s sadness, bringing many viewers, very unexpectedly, nearly to tears.

Although almost every character on the show is a stereotype, the writers have given them refreshing, unexpected sides to their personalities. Viewers are able to relate to the quirks that each of the characters possess.

The show is incredibly addictive due to the ultra mean, yet endearingly hilarious, commentary between characters. As the show shifts to what ABC’s website calls a ” dramedy,” the only worry a viewer has is the loss of character interaction. So far, characters are all dealing with their major life issues, and rarely interact in the new season. Let’s hope the show’s producers can revamp that hilarious aspect of the show.

Betty and her crew must deal with issues that people of all walks of life in the United States are now facing, from undocumented immigration to homosexuality. All the while, Betty still manages to make it to Mode Magazine everyday.

Viewers should only watch this show if they are ready to devote every Wednesday night to Betty and her crew, because “Ugly Betty” will pull viewers into each hilariously tender and heartbreaking episode. New episodes air on Wednesday nights at 8/7c.