U is for “Ugly Betty”

“Ugly Betty” was an American comedy-drama television series broadcast on ABC between 2006 and 2010. The series was based on Fernando Gaitán’s Colombian telenovela “Yo soy Betty, la fea.” It revolved around the character Betty Suarez (America Ferrera), a quirky 22-year-old Mexican-American woman from Queens, New York, who lacked fashion sense or style. But despite that, she landed a job at a prestigious fashion magazine based in Manhattan, Mode.Mode was part of a fictional publishing empire, Meade Publications, owned by the wealthy Bradford Meade (Alan Dale). Bradford’s son, Daniel (Eric Marius), served as editor-in-chief of Mode. The series focused on the life of wannabe writer Betty Suarez, who was smart, hardworking, and savvy but had no sense of style. Betty was known for her adult braces, rather unusual wardrobe choices, sweet nature, and slight naïveté. But when Bradford hires the inexperienced Betty as his womanizing son’s newest personal assistant to curb his habit of sleeping with his assistants, Betty is thrust into a different world at Mode.

Life at Mode was made difficult for both Betty and Daniel by their co-workers. Their most serious threat came from creative director Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams), a vindictive schemer who devised numerous plots to steal Daniel’s job and seize control of the Meade empire. In addition, Wilhelmina’s loyal assistant, Marc St. James (Michael Urie), and Mode receptionist, Amanda Tanen (Becki Newton), continually mocked and humiliated Betty for her physical appearance, awkward nature, and lack of taste in fashion, though they both ultimately warmed up to Betty in later seasons. As time passed, Betty and Daniel became close friends and helped each other navigate their individual professional and personal lives.

Not everyone at Mode was against Betty. She had loyal friends in Scottish seamstress Christina McKinney (Ashley Jenson) and nerdy accountant Henry Grubstick (Christopher Gorham). She also received strong support from her father Ignacio (Tony Plana), older sister Hilda (Anna Ortiz), and nephew Justin (Mark Indelicato).

“Ugly Betty” was a mildly entertaining television show with a story arc somewhat resembling that of the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada,” starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, If you enjoyed that 2006 movie, you’d likely enjoy “Ugly Betty.”

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10 thoughts on “U is for “Ugly Betty”

  1. Melanie B Cee April 24, 2021 / 9:29 am

    The title ‘got’ me and I never even gave it a look. I did see “The Devil Wears Prada” and perhaps because I don’t think much of Meryl Streep, I didn’t like the movie a bit. Or because I’ve never understood the appeal of ‘fashion’ per se. But interesting synopsis Fandango!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 24, 2021 / 10:42 pm

      It was an okay TV show, but my wife liked it, so I watched it with her.


  2. Marleen April 27, 2021 / 6:15 am

    I’ve heard of this show. Other than that, though, I have no cue. But I have a sense (from before this show existed) that the name Betty, itself, has been used (years or decades ago) to indicate someone who is attractive or who gets dolled up or the act of getting dolled up… the Betty. It, as terminology, seems to be completely out of common language now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 27, 2021 / 7:05 am

      Even an old-timer like me is not familiar with that usage.


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