OK, people. It’s not like I spend every waking minute watching bad TV. (I also work, ya know!) But I did happen to catch this week’s episodes of two new ABC shows, Ugly Betty and Brothers and Sisters — and both made brief mention of environmental issues.

In Ugly Betty, a comedy based on the mishaps of a young editorial assistant making her way at a major fashion mag, the characters scramble to come up with a new holiday photo spread after their original idea is leaked to and stolen by a competing magazine. That original spread? “A Post-Apocalyptic Christmas” featuring camo’d models in a desert-like scape because, explains managing editor (and evil bitch) Wilhelmina, “we’re living in the age of global warming …”

As for Brothers and Sisters, which is more of a drama and stars Sally Field and Calista Flockhart, among others, the mention occurred during a date-that-turned-out-not-to-be-a-date. While at a restaurant ordering dinner, Nora (played by Field) asks for the sea bass but is told they’ve just served the last of it, so instead she orders the swordfish and her not-date does the same. When the waitress leaves, Nora says, “There’s an awful lot of mercury in swordfish. I certainly hope I don’t turn into a thermometer.” It’s part of Nora’s nervous, alcohol-induced babbling, but what she says is spot on.

Now, I don’t really expect a show like Ugly Betty to revisit environmental themes any time soon. It’s not like Prison Break with its eco-related subplot. In fact, global warming was probably only mentioned in passing because it’s a hot issue (pun intended!) right now — what with green being the new black. Brothers and Sisters may be a different story, though, because the show touches on a number of political issues as a source of conflict between the various family members. (Flockhart’s character is the staunch conservative on a Crossfire-esque TV show while Nora the matriarch is a die-hard liberal.) So it may be one to watch over the coming months. If, you know, you’re not busy watching reality shows saving the earth.

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