Episode 8

The deal with Fashion Group

Betty, Armando, Mario, Kenneth, and Gabriela are all meeting in the conference room to finalize the details of the deal with Fashion Group. Everyone agrees that the deal is a fantastic idea… Gabriela explains that she and Kenneth will be in charge of all the production for the American market and ask the EcoModa group to facilitate things for them by providing offices, secretarial staff, a car, chauffeur, etc. Mario Calderón proposes they all go out to celebrate. Betty says she can’t, she has a daughter and has to get home early. Gabriela asks her how old her daughter is, and when Betty tells her 9 months, Gabriela adds they will have to look for a nanny to look after the child so Betty can go out with them. Armando interrupts and says that this won’t be possible because Betty’s mother looks after THEIR child -his and Betty’s [Beth: ok, points to Armando for pointing out he and Betty have a relationship, but regardless, i don’t see what Betty’s mother looking after the child has to do with it not being possible to get a nanny…]. Gabriela is amazed when Armando clarifies that he and Betty are married, but Betty tells her she’s surprised Gabriela didn’t know, since the whole world knows [Beth: no, all of Ecomoda knows. but Gabriela and Kenneth aren’t from Ecomoda, or even from Colombia. since both Betty and Armando wear wedding rings, it’s a little surprising that Gabriela, given her supposed instant attraction to Armando, didn’t notice that right away, but it’s not necessarily all that surprising they wouldn’t know Betty and Armando are married to each other if Betty was introduced only as Beatríz Pinzón, and not Beatríz Mendoza or Beatríz Pinzón de Mendoza… so i’m a bit surprised at Betty’s attitude here. of course, it does highlight the fact that the Fashion Group people apparently can’t be bothered to take the time to research their prospective business partners prior to meeting with them, which actually would worry me more than a bit, but apparently this hasn’t occurred to anyone of them…]. Betty rises and after making her good-byes, leaves. Mario tells Armando it looks like they’ve got the night free since Betty didn’t say she didn’t want him to go out. Armando excuses himself and goes to look for Betty. Mario says it looks like it’ll be just the three of them for dinner as Armando won’t be able to go. Armando looks for Betty in her office but she’s not there.

Aura María’s preparations

Over in Hugo’s workshop, the Cartel (minus Mariana) is helping Aura María get ready. Sandra asks her about her plans for when she marries Freddy, since clearly the couple can’t live with her and Mariana. What Sandra’s really worried about is getting another roommate to share the expenses… Betty arrives and tells them what went on in the meeting and in particular about the dinner suggested by Mario, and how she’s not going [to the dinner] but she’s not bothered if Armando goes. They all tell her to trust him to behave himself. Armando arrives and tells Betty he’d like to speak with her alone.

Armando and Betty - going out to dinner

Armando is desperate to make it clear to Betty he had no idea Mario was going to suggest going out [Beth: Armando knows Mario. Betty knows Mario - neither of them should have been the least bit surprised Mario would suggest such a thing. in fact, it’s a pretty natural thing to suggest, given the circumstances - i’ve seen it happen at my work on many occasions. Betty should not have been surprised or even offended by this. unhappy, because it’s Mario, yes. but surprised - definitely not. i think we can see what the writers are trying to set up here, and once again in this series they are ignoring premises and characterizations they were at pains to establish during BLF or even earlier in this series, just in order to accommodate an otherwise unworkable plot premise. which sucks]. Armando also tells her they have to accept that this kind of engagement is going to happen after doing a deal like the one they just made with Fashion Group and there’s nothing bad in it. Then he tells her that Mario should go out with Gabriela and Kenneth and EcoModa will pick up the tab. Betty thinks it’s strange Armando isn’t going to go. He says no it isn’t, he knows she can’t stand Mario and he doesn’t want to make her uncomfortable - he prefers to go home with her, and doesn’t want to go out without her. She asks him if he’s looking for her permission and he replies no, not her permission. But her authorization, yes. Betty tells him to go ahead, he has her vote of confidence. She gives him a kiss and leaves, apparently very content (she gives him one of her famous half-winks) and heads for the workshop [Merci: It has to be admitted that Armando behaved himself like a champ and was very sincere in everything he said to Betty. Beth: yes, but he should’ve insisted that Betty accompany them. yes, i know i know - Mario. but you know what? Betty is the President of Ecomoda and she should be there. and she knows it. or at least, the Betty in BLF knows it. these writers ought to be shot]. Betty returns to the workshop and her happiness leaves her as she tells the Cartel about Armando going out; obviously she is not as sanguine as she pretended to be to Armando. Armando returns to the conference room and says that as soon as he takes care of a few things they can go out. Mario is surprised Armando’s been given permission and starts talking like a little kid. Armando remarks that Mario has language problems and gives him a punch in the arm to make him stop clowning around. When Armando’s gone, Kenneth, Mario and Gabriela discuss how this is the first time since he got married that Armando has gone out without Betty [Beth: this is getting extremely aggravating. Kenneth and Gabriela, by their own admissions, not only didn’t even know Armando and Betty were married, they didn’t even know who they were until they met them -remember, they actually knew so very little about Ecomoda -a company with whom they were contemplating doing business!! (but that’s a whole ‘nother rant)- that they didn’t know Freddy was lying when he claimed to be president of Ecomoda!! so how are they going to know the first thing about Armando and Betty’s marriage?? and Mario hasn’t seen or talked to Armando since before he got married except for just within the last day or so, so what does he know about whether Armando’s been out by himself or not since he got married??].

The engagement of Aura María and Freddy

Freddy’s brilliant solution for getting the ring off Jenny’s finger is to get an anti-inflammatory to inject in her finger, and if this should fail, to use a handsaw to cut the ring off. Jenny wouldn’t let them inject her with anything and even less would she give permission for them to use a saw. They were hiding in Gutiérrez’s office trying to resolve the problem but didn’t get any where. Then Freddy called his grandmother for her advice and she recommended trying face or hand cream, or water and soap. Neither of these two suggestions worked and Freddy got caught red-handed by Mariana in the women’s restroom trying to get the ring off of Jenny’s finger. The rest of the Cartel helps Aura María get dressed so she’s ready for the Big Moment when she receives a proposal of marriage. In the hallway, Freddy tells Aura María that he loves her, that she’s the only woman he’s ever loved, and that he wants to get married as soon as possible. She asks about the ring and he starts to babble. Aura María tells him no ring, no engagement. At last, Mariana emerges from the women’s restroom with Jenny, who proudly shows off the ring she’s got jammed on her finger. Aura María gives Freddy a slap on the face, and Sandra another. Sofía and Bertha each smack him in the belly, and Mariana finishes it off with a punch in the arm. The uproar is such that Betty, Armando and the rest come out to ask what is going on. Aura María is sobbing disconsolately and everyone finds out about the problem. Kenneth is very pleased that Aura María isn’t engaged. Betty grabs Armando by the arm and pulls him away from the rest to ask that he please get the Fashion Group people out of there, it’s embarrassing they should see this. Armando agrees, gives her a kiss, tells her he loves her and that he will call her to check in throughout the night. When they are ready to leave, Kenneth says he’d rather not go - Colombians are real party people and he’d prefer to make a few calls before going to the hotel to rest. Gabriela tells Kenneth to take the car and chauffeur. Mario says he doesn’t have his car, and Armando states he has his and Betty’s car but they can’t take that (meaning, because Betty will need it). Betty says it’s not a problem, she can ask Nicolás to take her home. Armando double-checks that this won’t be a problem, gives her another kiss, and says good-bye to Betty, telling her he will call her…

In the EcoModa garage en route to the dinner…

Armando opens the back door of the car for Gabriela but Mario starts to make himself insufferable and to say that Gabriela ought to sit up front only Armando doesn’t want her to because he doesn’t want anyone to see him with a woman who isn’t his wife. Armando is about ready to kill Mario. Gabriela jokingly says that she and Mario will sit together in the back and make Armando play chauffeur. Armando takes Gabriela to the passenger side and tells Mario to sit in back. Mario says his fanny is too big to fit in Camila’s car seat and Armando tells him to stop talking nonsense. Then Mario takes out the baby’s diaper bag and asks if it’s his (Armando’s) briefcase or if he has problems with incontinence. There is a noise when Gabriela sits down since she’s sat upon a couple of Camila’s toys - Henry from Sesame Street and a Furby which Armando says is the baby’s favorite. Then he is shocked to notice that Gabriela is stepping on Camila’s favorite doll, Rosita (the one that Armando uses to talk with). Armando collects all the toys and gives them to Mario, who starts to talk with the puppet Rosita. Gabriela asks him to be quiet and tells Armando that he (Mario) will pay for it all when he has children of his own. Mario tells her he’s not going to have children because they’ll turn out like him. But later he changes his mind and says he will have children, that it would be really great because that way he’d have someone to share adventures with. Gabriela says it would be better if he doesn’t, and when he dies they ought to cremate him so he can’t be cloned. Armando is horrified at the thought of two Mario Calderóns in the world. Mario, who is even more insufferable than Freddy, tops them all by putting the baby’s pacifier in his mouth.

Back on EcoModa’s second floor…

We see and hear Kenneth speaking in English on the phone regarding the deal that has been reached with EcoModa. He leaves the conference room and we see the Cartel at Bertha and Sofía’s desks, gossiping. Sandra’s phone rings and Kenneth tries to attract their attention to answer it but they don’t pay any attention to him. He finally answers in English, then remembers to speak in Spanish. It’s Wilson to announce that Efraín (Sofía’s ex-husband) is downstairs waiting for Jenny. Kenneth finally manages to get the Cartel to pay attention to him and says that Mr. Pupuchurro is looking for Mrs. Jenny. Sofía shouts for Jenny to come out of the restroom, and Jenny emerges saying she doesn’t want to see Efraín because if he sees her with Freddy’s ring he’ll kill her. Kenneth relays this message to Wilson. Efraín gets mad and goes upstairs to look for Jenny. When he notices the ring and finds out it’s from Freddy, he wants to make a fuss. Betty asks them all to calm down. Jenny and Efraín finally leave, but not before Sofía berates them for the child support she’s owed. Efraín tells her not to bother him, he’s been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Freddy is worried because Aura María doesn’t want to see him. He asks the Cartel to tell her how much he loves her, then leaves for home. Aura María comes out and asks if Freddy’s left. They tell her yes and give her his message, but she doesn’t care. Kenneth sees her and asks her how she is. She tells him she’s doing better (now). He offers to take her home, but Aura María tells him no, she wants to be alone. Sandra states that she and Mariana will go along with her. Kenneth leaves and the Cartel remarks to Aura María on her luck that the gringo is so attentive. Aura María tells them not to talk like that. She asks her friends to go out and get drunk with her, but no-one wants to go, least of all Betty. Aura María tells her to take advantage of Armando being out on the town. Betty says he’s not out on the town, and not to bother her any more.

At Betty’s house

Merci: I don’t have any idea how this happened, but in the three days that have passed [on the show] since the series began, Armando and Betty have acquired a new and very luxurious apartment. The furniture is new, everything is all neat and tidy as if by magic.

Don Hermes and Doña Julia are waiting at the apartment to greet Betty, and are surprised that Armando isn’t with her since supposedly they were going to celebrate the new apartment, about which Don Hermes says Daniel Valencia cannot complain [Beth: ?? why not? or, more to the point, why should he complain about it in the first place??]. Betty tells them that Armando went to a business dinner with the Fashion Group people by himself, which surprises them because Betty and Armando always go out together. Betty finally has to confess that she didn’t go because Mario Calderón was going to be there. Don Hermes says that the Devil is a pig and that pig has a name: Mario Calderón. Doña Julia says that she doesn’t want to butt into Betty and Armando’s marriage [but she does] but with Mario Calderón back on the scene, Armando will go back to his old ways. Betty tells them she trusts Armando, that he told her he’d be home early. She adds that if he doesn’t he will be setting a very bad precedent and would be handing her, on a silver platter, the reasons why he should never get near Mario Calderón again.

The business dinner

Armando, Mario and Gabriela arrive at a very elegant restaurant and are greeted by the hostess, who’s very pleased to see them - especially Armando, who she says it seems like she hasn’t seen there in a thousand years. Mario asks for his usual table: next to the women’s restroom. Armando quickly tells the hostess to give them any other table as long as it’s not the one Mario asked for [Merci: if i’m not mistaken, in the background we hear playing the group we liked so much in “Yo Soy Betty, La Fea”]. One of Mario’s women friends calls to him from the bar and he happily invites her to join them at the table. Armando, who is clearly uncomfortable with Mario’s behaviour [Merci: Gabriela also looks very uncomfortable. Beth: why didn’t Armando just tell Mario to behave himself and since this is a business dinner, his girlfriend is not invited??], insists that Gabriela seat herself next to Mario’s little friend and that Mario sit beside him. Mario introduces his friend as a Colombian of Japanese descent. The girlfriend sees they’re all up in arms. The hostess arrives to take their drinks order and Mario’s girlfriend doesn’t order anything since she already has a drink (that obviously isn’t her first for the night). Gabriela orders tequila. Armando asks for a lemonade or orange juice, and Mario interrupts and orders two 18-year-old whiskeys for himself and Armando [Beth: again, why can’t Armando just tell Mario he doesn’t want a whiskey?]. Mario is all syrupy with his girlfriend and complaining that they’re seated so far apart. Mario asks the women to excuse them for a moment and takes Armando apart to ask him what’s going on with him. Armando tells Mario the plan was for the three of them to have dinner, and since they’re in a place where the whole world knows them he doesn’t want to look like he’s doing anything he shouldn’t be. Mario reproaches him for having ordered lemonade (calling it a “gay drink”) and Armando tells him he doesn’t want to arrive home reeking of alcohol. They finally sit down. Mario grabs two flowers from his girlfriend’s cocktail and says that tonight he and Armando are coming out of the closet and joining the Lombardi Club. He also says they’re part of Dago García and Felipe Salamanca’s group [Merci: if i’m not mistaken, they are the names of the scriptwriters for “Pedro, El Escamoso”]… Armando warns him to stop the foolishness. Gabriela is on the point of killing Mario. So he’ll calm down, Armando tells Mario to do what he wants and changes his seat so that Mario is with his girlfriend and Armando sitting next to Gabriela [note: the word the Merci is using here to refer to the girlfriend is “grilla,” which means “female cricket,” or -according to my dictionary- “obstacle.” on the other hand, i believe that’s also how Freddy sometimes refers to Aura María…]. The girlfriend tosses off her drink in one swallow and Mario offers her the whiskey. Both insupportable, they start to kiss. Armando and Gabriela want the earth to open up and swallow them. We see everyone eating except the girlfriend, who excuses herself and says she’ll be back. Mario says it’s her beauty regimen: to preserve herself in alcohol. Then Mario starts to recount his adventures with Armando, telling how Armando was the most desired man in the city, how the women were only with Mario to meet Armando, how Armando was a Prince Charming. Armando and Gabriela ask Mario why he’s talking as if Armando is dead. Mario says that ever since Armando got married in the Santa Teresita Church (to which he had not been invited so he was left with a gift he’d bought, according to him), Armando stopped being [alive]… Gabriela remarks that she hasn’t married because of the circumstances of her life, because she is dedicated to her work, although she doesn’t have anything against married people. To the contrary: she wishes them all the best. Mario says that he’ll never get married because the only woman who’d marry him would be a crazy woman and he doesn’t want a crazy woman. The girlfriend comes back and says that she doesn’t feel well and it would be better if they headed for home. Mario stands and asks for the keys to Armando’s car (!!), telling him he can’t take her in a taxi in that state [Merci and Beth both: And why the hell not???]…

Advances for next week:

Armando hands the car keys to Mario and ends up in a taxi with Gabriela [Merci: which isn’t anything wrong, but of course is going to become a Greek tragedy for Betty]. Betty is at the apartment, really angry, waiting for Armando. While Armando and Gabriela are in the taxi they are seen by Gutiérrez and they are worried he’s going to say something. Gabriela tells Armando that if Betty finds out she’ll have to leave the country.


Merci: Obviously, Armando and Gabriela haven’t done anything wrong and Gutiérrez is hardly one to talk - the woman he has with him doesn’t look like she could be his wife. But of course, this is going to become a huge mess between Betty and Armando. How annoying!