Bye Bye Betty!

Ugly Betty
Image via Wikipedia

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.

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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!

Adios, Chica — 'Ugly Betty' Canceled

Ugly Betty
Image via Wikipedia

Dios mio! One of favorite shows, ever, Ugly Betty, has been canceled. Of course, moving the show from Thursday night to Friday night to a belated Wednesday night spot didn’t help.

Now we’ve got only a few shows left, ever, to watch the antics of Wilhelmina Slater and Daniel and Betty and her Dad and Hilda. I’ll miss it.

I loved Betty’s huge heart, her willingness to do the right thing no matter how unfashionable. I loved that she was climbing the greasy pole of Manhattan magazine publishing in her own way. Anyone who’s ever stepped one stilletoed toe in the halls of Conde Nast can appreciate the sort of walls anyone like Betty, with her outer-borough wardrobe and outsize ambitions, was facing.

My partner is Hispanic, so I also enjoyed watching the domestic dramas that can come with a family that’s typically a little more out-there emotionally than us WASPs.  And few other prime-time shows that gained such popularity featured a working-class Hispanic family.

Given a choice between Betty La Fea and atrocities like Cougartown, I know where my vote lies. Adios, chica!