"You really think that what you did in two days is better than what I spent three months working on? Are you really going to make me say it? You helped them meet their quota. They picked you, Betty Suarez, of Queens, because you're Latina. You're the token ethnic girl." Betty can't even handle that, and Marc doesn't feel great about it, but she points out that this is the ugliest of all the many ugly things he's ever said to her. He apologizes, but assures her it's the truth.
Which is a sticky fucking wicket. Because if he's wrong, you just ruined one of the more compelling and subtle characters on television, because that shit is unforgiveable. Part of the burden of living in a democratic society is that there is shit you do not say, because admitting it's a possibility makes everything fall apart. And if you say it, you don't use it like a weapon. And if you use it like a weapon, you don't do it in a sour grapes situation. And if you do say it anger, you don't say it to somebody you love. And if you don't say it in anger, that's even worse. He didn't say it in anger. Which makes it maybe the most brutal thing that's ever happened on the show, because it's not even funny like a pregnant woman falling down stairs or stealing cold semen from a corpse: it's actually gross. And really, really sad. Plus, the bitch cheated on Cliff and he's on thin motherfucking ice this week anyway.
But if he's not wrong, it's still not okay that he said it, but you've just created a much larger issue, which is that you're taking one of the biggest things to happen to a given minority in television in the last ten years, which is a smart and glamorous show that manages to honor many of the realities associated with that minority, and using that show to tell this constituency that their dreams are worthless and that the little asterisk by their every accomplishment -- of which, I assure you, they are fucking already aware -- is something that yes, white people do often wonder about, and in their uglier moments think about. Which is sort of a nightmare on every fucking level.
Now, you know I love this show and I think it's smarter than we give it credit for being, but I think the show has given itself quite a fucking challenge here. Do they pull it off? I think they do, but I don't have a vested interest either way, because I'm more interested in getting paid than getting praised. On the other hand, I've never been in the position of having to wonder if on a hypothetically level playing field -- which will never actually exist even if we live to be thousands of years old -- I actually earned what I got, and if that's true, if anybody would believe it. Which is nasssssty to think about on both sides, because "affirmative action" is used as both invocation and curse word almost as much as "meritocracy," which is a word that shouldn't mean what it does. So yeah, I do love this episode -- for going there, for staying there, and ultimately making an entirely different and more useful (nonpartisan/post-hate/bilateral/real-world) point about it -- but we can now safely say that whatever Hilda says is what I'm going to end up agreeing with... And you and I both already knew that.