Watch the final episode of Ugly Betty in the sidebar.
The final episode of Ugly Betty aired last month, after 4 seasons on ABC. I was a fan of Ugly Betty from the very first episode. The show premiered shortly after the release of The Devil Wears Prada, which caused some people to think Ugly Betty was based on the movie. However, Executive Producer, Salma Hayek helped bring the popular Spanish language novella (soap opera) Betty, La Fea, to American TV viewers.
Like the over-the-top plots on novellas, Ugly Betty had some wild storylines as well. But somehow they all seemed to make sense in the high fashion world of MODE Magazine and Mead Publications. In Episode 1, Bradford Meade (Alan Dale) hires Betty Suarez as the administrative assistant to his son, Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius). It seems that Daniel has the irritating habit of seducing all of his assistants, who then quit or sue the company. The senior Meade sees Betty as someone his son would never be tempted to sleep with. Thus begins Betty’s journey into publishing and her adventures the Big Apple.
America Ferrera stars in the title role of Betty Suarez, a smart, sweet girl who goes to work on her first day at a fashion magazine in a poncho. With braces, bushy brown hair, big red glasses and a frighteningly unique sense of fashion, Betty gradually endears herself to the shallow, fashion conscious co-workers. At work, Betty is the butt of jokes and pranks by Marc St. James (Michael Urie) and Amanda Tanen (Becky Newton); pulled into corporate power struggles between Claire Meade (Judith Light) and Wilhelmina Slater Vanessa Williams) all while doing most of her playboy boss’s work.
At home, Betty has the love and support of her father, Ignacio, her older (and prettier) sister Hilda (Ana Ortiz) and Hilda’s fashion-conscience (and effeminate) son Justin, a Mexican-American family trying to find the American dream. Betty is the first person in their family to go to college and they rejoice in her success. However, Betty’s dreams of success do not include fashion. She wants to be a serious journalist.
That’s a quick summary of the show, but it doesn’t tell you why I liked Ugly Betty.
Why I Like Ugly Betty
Betty went to work everyday with a smile on her face. She got up, got dressed in one of her crazy, miss-matched outfits and went to work, where she was sure to be made fun of. But she didn’t care. She was working her plan. She had confidence in herself. I don’t think it is the same as self-confidence. Betty never starved herself to become thin, no matter how many chubby jokes Marc and Amanda made about her. She didn’t go out and buy a new wardrobe to look like the other fashionista. Betty had her own sense of style and she was comfortable with herself. Betty didn’t think she was pretty or thin like the other girls at Meade, but she knew she was smarter.
I was never bored. Ugly Betty took a page out of the spanish novella’s script with some downright outlandish and crazy plots.
Daniel’s brother Alex, who was supposedly killed in a skiing accident, is a bandage, wrapped mystery character hidden away by Wilhelmina. The mystery is solved when the bandages are unwrapped to reveal, Alex is now Alexis after a European sex change operation. Alexis Meade, played by Rebecca Romijn is just another one of Wilhelmina’s many evil plots to take over Meade Publication.
With the help from her Executive Assistant, Marc St. James, Wilhelmina, marries Bradford Meade on his deathbed; steals his sperm and hires a surrogate to give birth to the heir to the Meade throne; attempts murder and other sundry dirty deeds; all while managing to look gorgeously evil.
Claire Meade is accused of attempted murder, sentenced to prison, then escaped from prison to the Suarez home with her cellmate Yoga and hides out in Boca in the off-season to evade the manhunt.
The parade of guest stars. During the 4 seasons of Ugly Betty, Lindsay Lohan played Kimmie Keagan, Betty’s high school nemesis. Salma Hayek is Sophia Reyes, a magazine publisher who become romantically involved with Daniel and tries to hire Betty for her own magazine. But Betty is loyal and stays with Daniel Meade Publications. Broadway star, Bernadette Peters appears in 5 episodes as Jodie Papadakis, an instructor at an exclusive business school. The British singer Adele, Gabrielle Union, Christine Baranski, Debi Mazar, Ralph Macchio, Rick Fox, Isaac Mizrahi, Tim Gunn and a host of other fashion icons have also appeared on the show.
Betty has had a few love interests too. Walter; Jesse, the singer; Matt, the millionaire’s son; Gio, the sandwich guy (Freddy Rodriguez); and for a while there, I thought it would be Henry, the nerdy accountant. Unlike the attention-starved Amanda, Betty doesn’t spend her time in the pursuit of a boyfriend. Her greatest love is for her family, her friends and herself.
Bye Bye Betty
After 4 seasons of following the lives of Betty, Daniel. Marc, Amanda, Wilhelmina and the Suarez family, you want to see storylines settled and closed. On a show like Ugly Betty, you expect a happy ending. And that is what we got.[WARNING: huge spoiler alert!] In the final few episodes of the series, we saw:
Claire Meade is reunited with the son she gave up for adoption
Amanda finds her real father (played by Mad Men’s Bryan Batt)
Marc finally finds true love with Tyler.
Even though we knew it all along, Justin accepts himself and tells his family he is gay and has a boyfriend.
Hilda marries her high school sweetheart, Bobbie (played by the super-fine Adam Rodriguez)
Wilhelmina stops her continuous scheming to take over Meade Publications and uses her influence to get Conner Owen, the love of her life out of prison.
Daniel realizes the reason he can’t find true love with the bevie of fashion models he pursues, is because he is in love with Betty. He quits his job as editor of Mode Magazine and gives the position to Wilhelmina. (So what she had plotted and schemed for all those years, is given to her once she stopped chasing it…Hmmm)
Betty finally achieves her career goals lands a prestigious job as managing editor of a British news magazine and moves to London.
How is that a happy ending. Well, let me tell you…. Daniel follows Betty to London and a new story begins.