Marthastewart_004Now that is how you do a sweeps stunt-casting cameo.

Martha Stewart made an appearance on Ugly Betty‘s Thanksgiving-themed episode Thursday night. She was on screen for maybe 30 seconds, and it probably didn’t take much longer than that to shoot her lines. Heck, it even looked like the Betty crew shot her scene on her talk-show set.

And you know what? She was pretty darn good.

The setup was this: Icy-cold Mode diva Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams) was trying to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving after having a guilt attack when she learned her daughter was coming home from boarding school for the holiday. Aghast that the gizzards and whatnot were still in the bird’s cavity, she called Martha for help.

Martha picks up. "See, this is why I should always screen. … Hi, Wilhelmina. Hey, I just have a second. I still have to hollow out the pumpkins for the soup course."

Wilhelmina tells her she’s preparing Thanksgiving dinner. "You’re cooking? Hey, maybe I could run a fashion magazine. It’ll be like Freaky Friday!" And … scene.

I doubt Ms. Stewart will be submitting her cameo to the Emmy judges next year, but it was a pretty great scene, largely because she was curt and and bitchy and condescending in the way that she’s often been portrayed as being. So she gets to send up that bit of her persona, while at the same time reinforcing that little part of your perception of her that believes it’s really true.

The rest of the episode wasn’t quite as sharp as the show has been for much of the fall. The everybody’s-sad-on-Thanksgiving stuff was played a little heavy, like that third scoop of dressing you know you shouldn’t have but do anyway (although Mark and Amanda’s drunken spree at the Mode offices was a nice counterpoint). I admire the effort the show is making to give all the principal characters some depth, but the wistful tone for much of the hour was a bit much.

Then again, you gotta love a show that wishes its audience "Happy Thanksgiving" right after showing a guy screaming for help from the crypt in which he’s just been encased.

Your thoughts on Martha Stewart’s wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am of a cameo? How are you liking Ugly Betty now there we’re about a third of the way through the season?