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David T. Cole

Ugly Betty

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I thought the first season was spectacular, the second a jumbled mess, and then the show was just sort of there from season three on -- an enjoyable enough way to spend an hour, but not appointment television.

 

Betty's love life was always the weak point for me - which is usually the case; in life and on television, I find that the least-interesting aspect of people's lives, so when it's a focus I get bored - but I liked watching her find her way professionally.  And I loved the wacky cast of characters at Meade, especially Judith Light's character (Claire?).  Betty's family, other than Justin, drove me nuts much of the time, but in a realistic way that was necessary for the show.  I could not stand Gio, so the episodes with him are definitely not my favorites. 

 

I was prepared to hate the ending for the suggestion of Daniel and Betty possibly dating in the future, but it wound up being ambiguous enough to pacify me.

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I thought I'd start a thread for all the guys in Betty's life.  And with the exception of Henry, I could not stand any one of them;

 

Walter: Oh dear.  Where to begin with this douchebag?  Being a sad-sack loser was his only good quality.  He is the prime example of how it is possible to be emotionally abusive in a relationship.  He cheats on Betty, and makes it sound like it was her fault for not being forgive and forget.  And when they do get back together (which I felt was a huge mistake on Betty's part), he goes out of his way to make her feel like crap for her success and judge her for her "new lifestyle."  The way he whined when their weekend plans fell through when Betty had to review that 4-star hotel/restaurant then made an ass out of himself over dinner was disgusting.  Even more disgusting was how Hilda and Ignacio kept defending him.  Seriously, Betty went out of her way get take care of Ignacio's HMO, and yet he was still friendly with the guy who cheated on her?!  Betty should have packed her bags and gotten her own place back in season one.

Henry: I blame the writers for turning a likable love interest into a baby mama drama soap opera.  But that aside, I thought he was way more supportive than Walter (not a high bar, but still).

 

Gio: Didn't like him.  I especially didn't like him when he came back and lashed out at Betty for "breaking up" with him.  It wasn't her fault his damn cheese got confiscated.

 

Matt: Now this guy, I actually managed to hate more than Walter.  He was decent I guess pre-breakup, but getting the job at MODE just to use his power and spite Betty at every chance he got?  That's sexual embarrassment.  And I did not buy his half-assed apology for it.  Any other girl in Betty's position would never have even considered giving their relationship another try after that stunt.

 

Anyone else care to share their thoughts?

Edited by Spartan Girl

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I feel the same way about each of them.  Henry and Matt I liked initially, but Matt turned into a total ass.  Henry I didn't come to hate as a character, but I sure hated his storyline and thus wanted him gone.  Walter and Gio I never could stand, especially Gio.

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My favorite Ugly Betty moment was the last 2 minutes of the series. I loved seeing Betty finally ruling shit! She was having business meetings over lunch. She clearly had an active social life. And she did it all in great outfits, full of confidence. Love. That was totally earned. I also adored the "ugly" disappearing to just leave the Betty. I honestly can't say I watched the whole series. It started to suck towards the end of the 2nd season and I was out. I began to just watch the show sporadically. But I watched the last few episodes of season 4 and liked how the show had developed.

 

In regards to the Betty/Daniel situation, I was opposed to it until the last few episodes. It seemed like they were definitely going to do it and I just resigned myself to those two ending up together. I ended up liking where they went with it. Daniel clearly had designs on Betty, though America played that scene like an adorable little sister meeting up with her brother. After that ending, I could wrap my head around those two getting together. It would involve Daniel being this more mature and driven person we last saw and basically tricking Betty into dating him. I don't see Betty intentionally dating Daniel. She would have to keep hanging out with him, not knowing that their meetups are actually dates. Otherwise it would never happen.

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I feel like I have to realize sit down and devote a lit of time to respond about her actual boyfriends.

But I will say this before I come back with a better thought out post. . . (I didn't really care for Henry he was too perfect and good to be true initially then it was drama and issues way to early for her to just be all in. Goo was more fun and sexy but for fucks sake she wants a boyfriend not a life coach. Matt was an airhead and a bitch.)

didn't ship Daniel and Betty on the original watching live. When I watched the DVDs (worth renting or owning for some of the extras - not relevant to what I'm about to say though) Daniel and Betty.

Daniel and Betty!

Just my opinion, but omg the heavy handed flirty comments, gushing over each other especially him to her, the sappy looks he gave her like a she hung the moon, there lack of boundaries with each other (which is sorta bad but telegraphed something they felt), and the fun and laughs. How could I not ship them and believe they ended up together?

I really think, for me, on the second and third watching and done in a succession it's totally obvious they were end game.

Edited by Petunia13
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The irony is of course that Marc mismatched patterns all the time. In early seasons it was with precision so it looked almost to contrived but later seasons it became more outlandish (was that after Pat field became costume designer?).

Besides the clothes a big part of Betty's look was the glasses (especially the old red ones), adult braces, bushy hair, and lack of make up. I'm sorry to be mean but she looked like a dweeb.

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I'm mid-way through season three (binge watching on Netflix) and am loving so much about this show. It's strange to use the word "authentic" to describe a soap opera, but it honestly really comes off that way. I truly think most of the casting on this show was spot-on and that made all the difference. I'm looking forward to finishing the series-at the time it was originally on, I was a new mom and not watching much TV :).

 

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I think it was over the top and campy but the moments and relationships many times were authentic. Friendships weren't forged over night and Betty didn't become insta glamorous. Justin coming out was done in a slow realistic way. The family relationships and interaction on the Saurez side were realistic.

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Wilhelmina:

"I hate it when she smiles, it's so metallic."

"What is it with white people and Taye Diggs?"

 

Betty:

"Marc, I will hit you, and everyone knows I'm from Queens so I will do it!"

 

Justin:

"It's just like top model except no ones crying."

 

Marc:

"Mandy, you're going to be a reality television start. It's what every pretty girl with no specific talent dreams of.

Edited by crazycatchick

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Did they ever explain the weird voice while Alexis was the masked woman? The voice clearly wasn't Rebecca Romijn's, so it made me wonder if the writers hadn't decided who the masked woman was going to be from the start.

 

I just marathoned UB, and I was surprised by all the "tranny" and "shemale" remarks. It's weird to hear it now, after all of the recent "shemale" controversy on Rupaul's Drag Race.

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I hated all her boyrfiends, probably Henry the least. Gio annoyed me instantly. He accused her of being a spoiled Mode girl and getting him fired all because she asked for more sun-dried tomatoes. And I didn't understand how Betty softened to Matt when he admitted that he had only went to Mode to hurt her and he couldn't stand seeing her happy. Huh? When this happened, she told someone something like "Maybe he's not so bad after all". Again, huh? This made no sense to me.

 

Was there a reason Betty and Daniel didn't end up together? I assumed it was end-game since from what I have read, that was the whole plot of the telenova. I didn't really care during the original run, but re-watching it, Daniel treated her better than any of her boyfriends. And I loved Betty and Clairé's relationship.

Edited by Tararayne

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Did they ever explain the weird voice while Alexis was the masked woman? The voice clearly wasn't Rebecca Romijn's, so it made me wonder if the writers hadn't decided who the masked woman was going to be from the start.

 

I think that was more that they hadn't cast RR yet, so they just used some random person. They wouldn't have paid her salary for her to just be wrapped up in bandages. It would be one thing if RR had an especially distinctive voice, but she doesn't. 

 

As for the "tranny" and "shemale" comments, we also have to remember that Ugly Betty premiered in 2006. This was even 2 years before Christian Siriano was calling everything a "hot tranny mess" on Project Runway. in 2006, they also definitely wouldn't have had a trans actress playing a trans character. Society just hadn't come that far yet.

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I'm going to guess the only reason Betty and Daniel didn't officially end up together in the end was because the writers didn't know they were getting canceled in time to write to that ending.

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Yes, Christina Siriano even appeared on the show and called Alexis a "hot tranny mess-minus the mess" or something like that. I swear, the tranny/shemale thing is like every episode, usually a pun by Wilhelmenia or Marc. It almost makes me cringe a little. I guess that's a good thing.

 

My problem with "the voice" was that it sounded like a much older woman, like someone Clairé's age. So it almost seemed like a cheat to get us to think it was Fey, and to have the surprise twist of the Alexis reveal.

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I really think, for me, on the second and third watching and done in a succession it's totally obvious they were end game.

 

I was biased towards them but I do have to agree with this conclusion.  The groundwork was being laid as early as the first season.  There wasn't a firm commitment but enough hints being dropped.

I'm going to guess the only reason Betty and Daniel didn't officially end up together in the end was because the writers didn't know they were getting canceled in time to write to that ending.

They knew pretty early on that it would be the final season--far enough in advance that they could plan the on location London shots.  IIRC, there order was cut which they probably didn't expect.  I think the reason they went with the vague/somewhat open-ended ending had to do with a divided writers'room.   Horta had always claimed that they weren't going to follow the original telenovela by having the two leads get together.  Considering the hints dropped early, either he was lying or there was a divided writers' room. 

 

Of the non-Daniel love interests, I think I liked Walter as a character the best.  It's not because he was a good boyfriend but because the writers clearly knew what they were doing with him.  How the family treated him was infuriating at times but as a character, and what he represented as a character, made sense.  They didn't have that with everyone else.  Henry was charming as hell in his initial appearances but he really served his purpose after those initial appearances.  The minute they made him a regular, it all went to hell and even Chris Gorham's considerable charm couldn't save it. Gio's know-it-all attitude annoyed me from the start.  I wanted to watch a show about a young woman figuring herself out--not a show where she's mansplained into taking action.  Matt happened at the same time Daniel was dating/married to doomed first Mrs. Meade.  I couldn't help but notice that Matt had a similar past to Daniel and Daniel's first wife was supposed to be a complete opposite to what he usually dated (similar to Betty) that I believed the show meant them to be stand-ins.  And this is when Claire started to get fed up with both Betty and Daniel not seeing the potential in each other.

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Cheat or not, I loved the Alexis reveal and the fact that they found someone with a really cool mysterious voice to play her while she was in bandages. I'm going to explain it away by saying Alexis' vocal cords were still recovering from surgery and hormone treatments.

I think one of the biggest disappointments was that they couldn't find a way to bring the character back in the final season even for one episode because Rebecca was on that ill-fated Witches of Eastwick show. I would have enjoyed seeing Alexis begin to bond with her son or resolve her relationship with Wilhelmina. I somehow don't think it's likely she and Christina would have ever mended fences...

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My favorite seasons are probably the last two seasons of the show. I never really liked the love storylines that they wrote for Betty and in late season one and season two, it took over the show along with the more soapy elements. That's why I was really pleased when they wrote out Gio and Henry at the beginning of season three to refocus on Betty's dreams and ambitions. For me personally that was the moment when the show really took off. I heard many people hated the last two seasons for not being as outrageous, but I thought it was a good decision. Everything became a notch more relatable and even when they were a few soapy storylines, there was always a relatable core in the thick of it.

The problem with season 3 wasn't that the show was so down-to-earth and relatable...the problem was that it became more outrageous than ever! The believability of the characters went flying out the window as they paraded around in increasingly gaudy outfits and behaved like one-note parodies of their former selves. Hilda trying to guilt Betty over their father's heart attack?! Amanda's IQ dropping so low that she needs to be constantly saved by Betty from homelessness and bankruptcy?! Wilhelmina finally getting her shot at running the magazine but somehow doing it so badly that she produces their lowest-selling issue?! Alexis pushing Christina down a flight of stairs in a random fit of rage?!

From the big details to the small ones, nothing really made as much sense anymore. I also found the jokes to be less funny and the pacing to be really off. Not to mention the fact that all the new supporting characters they brought in were nowhere near as compelling as even the one time characters that appeared in the first two seasons. Connor should have been a wonderfully lovable villain, but it made absolutely no sense for him to be engaged to Molly who seemed like a character from an entirely different show where everybody pets animals and hands out hugs. Even Ignacio's romance with his caregiver seemed thrown-together in the span of one episode.

I think the move from LA to New York really hurt the production behind-the-scenes. The writing was never the same again after season two and it felt like whatever plans there had been for the arc of the show had been forgotten. Season 3 should have been the time to begin maturing Betty as a writer for a fashion magazine, but instead of showing that progression they lightswitched her into someone with fashion sense for the final season. Wasn't the whole point of the series to show her growth and transition?

At least Marc and Amanda were always entertaining.

And yes, Fey's Sleigh Ride was definitely the episode where the series clicked.

Although, I also loved the pilot. America played the shame and humiliation of Betty trying to model that tight S&M outfit perfectly. It was also the moment where we see Daniel might be more compassionate than we thought.

I think my favorite Ugly Betty moment may just be Justin at the wedding reception taking a breath and stepping out onto the dance floor. Really brilliant.

Edited by DisneyBoy

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"Have you escaped from your handlers again Claire or have they allowed you seniors outing?"

Love that line. Claire and Wilhelmina exchanged the best barbs ever.

And then there's this one:

"Archie likes him some Caramel Surprise..."

"What's the surprise - your fat ass?"

I think I was on the floor with that one thanks to the delivery.

Edited by DisneyBoy

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I also loved the Randy storyline. I remember on TWOP how people speculated he might have himself been gay, but to me that wasn't even the point. This was the first show where I ever saw an accurate depiction of how teens just drop each other whenever they feel insecure about how they are perceived. It was such a subtle plot point that they didn't have to include in the series, so it was impressive that they did.

It was writing like that that made me dislike the Homecoming scene with Justin and Hilda in season 4 for being too cliche and heavy-handed handed.

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Those two should have gotten their own spin-off. Their relationship was the best thing about this show.

Technically, they did in the Mode After Hours webisode series. I couldn't get enough of these two, but I didn't appreciate the scenes where they kissed or pretended to flirt. It added a subtext that I felt was unnecessary and insincere. Not every girl with a gay best friend secretly wants to sleep with him. Amanda's crush on Betty, however, I could almost buy.

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Pat Fields nearly ruined the show for me. Her season 3 costumes were such eyesores. That hideous green and purple lemay outfit that Wilhelmina wore would have sent the season 1 Wilhelmina into a murderous rage. And what was with all the fanny packs?

I missed Castro's work something fierce after season two.

Edited by DisneyBoy

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I think the costume designer for Season 1 said that the individual pieces Betty picked weren't necessarily all that bad for the most part, it was just how she mixed and matched them. It was only during the Pat Fields era that we reached pure, unadulterated hideousness.

 

Even in Season 4, when Betty was supposedly paying more attention to what she wore and dressing in matching tones, her outfits still needed to take it down about a million notches. She would take a beautiful patterned dress, layer some detailed cardigan or brightly-coloured shrug, throw on a big belt with some distracting detail, wear some patterned tights, and have some brightly-coloured statement jewelry to top off the ensemble. Individually, the dress would be fine, but with everything else, it would just be too much. A good example was that instance in Season 4 when she and Amanda appeared dressed in the same orange cowl neck sheath dress. Betty had accessorized it with a white shirt underneath (fine), a belt with an enormous butterfly-shaped ornament (...), red and striped patterned tights (....), and shiny gold lame heels (???).

 

I think towards the very end of the show, Betty finally seemed to be getting the balance right, especially in the London scenes, where she minimized the crazy accessories and used colour judiciously. Pat Fields knows very well that she can dress characters in beautiful, tasteful clothes without going crazy with accessories (Charlotte York's costuming on Sex and the City is a great example); she just chooses not to most of the time.

 

Besides the clothes a big part of Betty's look was the glasses (especially the old red ones), adult braces, bushy hair, and lack of make up. I'm sorry to be mean but she looked like a dweeb.

 

Betty didn't undergo as dramatic a change as the original Betty from Yo Soy Betty La Fea, but the trajectory was pretty similar:

 

1. Start wearing more fashionable clothes/wear nicer glasses/lose the bangs.

2. Start wearing a full face of makeup.

3. Start styling your hair. (Betty from YSBLF started straightening her hair, Betty from UB started blowing it out.)

4. Lose the braces.

5. Switch from more obvious glasses to clear-rim glasses (this was the last change Betty from UB made).

Edited by Eyes High

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I'm rewatching on hulu right now.  I love this show.  I love Marc and Amanda together but even more, I love how they portrayed the Marc Justin relationship.  Marc's actually my favorite character because as funny as he is, he also had some very real moments.  I love how he supported Justin though.  I'm only halfway through season 4 but one of my favorite moments is after the homecoming rally when Justin says he's not gay and Marc just says "then he's not."  But the look on his face.  Michael Urie is just wonderful in every sense of the word.

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Interesting quote about the future of the show from the woman who played Christina:

 

Quote

 I went to Texas recently to an Ugly Bettyreunion, maybe we can do a special or series on Netflix – America Ferrera is starting a hashtag—bring back Betty (it’s actually #HuluBringBackUglyBetty) People would be keen to see what’s happening now. The script just shone at me. The same happened with Agatha Raisin. I like a little bit of honesty in the characters I play. The character I played in Catastrophe was a slightly unlikable character. There seems to be a very honest quality in Maggie from Extrasand Christina from Ugly Betty and Agatha, she doesn’t play games.

 

Is she talking about the pilot script for Ugly Betty, or the script for a possible continuation?

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I would love if this show returned, even if it was for just another season. I'm not sure how they'd get all the characters together again though with Betty leaving at the end of the series.

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Yeah, Betty had a lot of flaws as a lead. She could be very self-righteous and self-centered even though she always meant well. I think she lacked self-awareness, because usually when someone would bring up her hypocrisy, she would "wake up" and acknowledge it. The funny thing though is that I remember several episodes over the series where Hilda calls her out--but for some reason it only ever happened when Betty didn't actually deserve it, imo. There were so many times Betty actually was in the wrong where they could've had Hilda tell her off and instead they make Hilda be nasty to her over wanting their father to go to a better hospital or not wanting Hilda to boss her around at work.

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If anyone is interested in watching the original story (but not the original novela--still my favorite), I just discovered Telemundo in the US is airing a new version of the old story, unlike Ugly Betty which was more Less Than Perfect than the telenovela it was allegedly redoing here. 

It's called Betty en NY.  It airs in Spanish but CC3 gives English subtitles--or at least it does on the On Demand episodes I watched as I was trying to catch up.  

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On 9/21/2017 at 11:11 AM, TheGreenKnight said:

Yeah, Betty had a lot of flaws as a lead. She could be very self-righteous and self-centered even though she always meant well. I think she lacked self-awareness, because usually when someone would bring up her hypocrisy, she would "wake up" and acknowledge it. The funny thing though is that I remember several episodes over the series where Hilda calls her out--but for some reason it only ever happened when Betty didn't actually deserve it, imo. There were so many times Betty actually was in the wrong where they could've had Hilda tell her off and instead they make Hilda be nasty to her over wanting their father to go to a better hospital or not wanting Hilda to boss her around at work.

There were also many times with Hilda that she needed a reality check or the fact that Betty WAS trying to build a career. It wasn't like Betty didn't put herself in bad situations and not aware of it. Or learn from the same mistake over and over again. However, there were SO many times that Hilda was: "poor me, I'm a single mother" that she needed to be told to stop seeking out bad relationships and other things. I liked by the end of the series where everyone ended up at. However, when you see the build up on Betty and Hilda doing the same mistakes over and over again, you can see why ratings dropped so much in season 3. 

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