I’m not a huge TV person, but tonight will say goodbye to one of the very few characters I’ve loved, and a rarity on primetime, a Hispanic woman — Ugly Betty.
If you love journalism and have ever spent time working in New York, the show’s plotlines and characters, and exterior shots, will likely have resonated for you as well. She was hardworking, funny, fiercely devoted to her family, constantly bullied by her co-workers (before they grew up) and still managed to climb the greasy pole of success.
There are few prime-time network shows that respectfully and engagingly portray a Hispanic family and reveal the real conflict that many young Latina working women feel between loyalty to their domestic life and a hunger for larger success. Hispanics still have the lowest rate of college attendance and graduation and, when I wrote about this issue for The New York Times, heard firsthand from a number of young Latinas about the opposing demands placed on them by family and ambition.
On most television shows, the adult characters seem to have been raised by wolves — their family of origin a Thanksgiving or holiday punchline at most. The central theme of Ugly Betty was often family and how much they can still matter, even to a young adult in a demanding job.
I look forward to tonight’s final episode, but will miss her (and Justin and Wilhelmina and Daniel and their adventures.) Adios chica!