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Betty Suarez: A Celebration of Ugly

April 13, 2010

Betty with Justin at Hilda's wedding

Betty Suarez has lived her life in fuchsia. And tangerine. And a startling array of stripes, plaids, houndstooth, and polka dots (all at once). But, over the course of the four years we have known her, she’s grown from a figurative duckling into a beautiful swan (just check her out as maid of honor at Hilda’s wedding). Now, it is time to let her go and yet, I am not ready. Betty has made me happy, she’s made me sad, she’s had me in fits of laughter, she’s had me so mad I could almost feel the nails coming out of my mouth… Betty has been my plucky friend I turn to every Thursday Friday Wednesday night to find humor in her life and solace in mine. She will be missed.

A show that equally mixes camp with drama, Ugly Betty isn’t supposed to be as smart is it is. With it’s brightly-hued sets and over-the-top drama, one could easily see it as slapstick and move on. In truth, however, UB has some of the most richly-drawn characters on TV. The supporting cast, much like Karen and Jack on Will & Grace, have transcended their roles and stepped out on their own. I could easily envision a spin off featuring Marc and Amanda (… speaking of Will & Grace) as they branch out on their own, tackling New York City as fashion stylists. Or a show about Justin and his new boyfriend(!) getting roles in musical that tours America. Hilda and Bobby would tag along. Or let Wilhelmina start her own version of Top Model and share her acerbic personality with innocent girls from places like Savannah, Tennessee. I’d die laughing.

Justin came out by dancing with his boyfriend(!) at Hilda's wedding.

Actually, the talent is already there. The bastards shouldn’t have cancelled the show. But it’s happened. I accept and move on. A moment of silence…

Here’s to a writing crew who should have so many Emmy statues in their office that they’re used as doorstops. I will miss you.

Here’s to a cast that took already-amazing lines and delivered them with even more gusto than anyone in the writers’ room could have expected. Michael Urie, Becky Newton, Ana Ortiz, Mark Indelicato, Eric Mabius, Tony Plana, Judith Light and, of course, Vanessa Williams and America Ferrera: you were always beautiful; never ugly.

Ugly Betty, Season 4 cast

Some of my favorite Betty-isms:

“Come on girl! I am black. you’re Mexican. Lets not talk around it like a couple of dull white people.” –Wilhelmina, trying to convince Betty to keep quiet about seeing her having sex with the bodyguard in exchange for Wilhelmina getting Ignacio a Visa to return home from Mexico

“Sister Mary gang member threw me to the ground and took my wallet.”  – Marc, to Wilhelmina after he’s been beaten up

“I thought I smelled jewelry.” – Wilhelmina, when Bradford places a ring on her pillow

Marc: “And she got Elton John to sing for the wedding. He’s rewritten Candle in the Wind just for her.”
Wilhelmina: “What! He was rewriting Candle in the Wind for me.”
Marc: “Oh give that Queen 20 bucks and she’ll rewrite it for anybody.”

“Okay girls tuck them back in, your both big.” – Wilhelmina, trying to stop Alexis and Daniel from fighting

Amanda: “Yesterday you told me my head was too big for my neck.”
Marc: “That was constructive criticism.”
Amanda: “Well what am I supposed to do about it?”
Marc: “I don’t know. As a friend my job is only to point things out.”

Betty: “Am I dressed right for the club?”
Christina: “Sure. If you’re auditing them.”

“Justin doesn’t walk. He’s told me a thousand times: ‘Shoes are fashion — not for function.’” – Hilda, after Justin says he’s walking to school instead of catching a ride with Bobby

“Marc, nothing happened. Honest to Prada!” – Amanda

“Ah, clever—I’m a vampire. Well, excuse me if I don’t suck your blood, it’s a little early to consume that much booze.” – Betty, to nemesis Claire, in her otherworldly, no-braces dimension

“Don’t call him my brother. My only brother is my sister, Alexis.” – Daniel

“Really, Marc? Soup AND half a salad? When the cat’s away the mice will gorge themselves to death.” – Wilhelmina

“Tell me. Does this say engagement party or dead hooker under a bridge?” – Hilda

“My favorite moment of the day is throwing out my breakfast muffin in front of a homeless person!” – Wilhelmina

“The key to sounding like you have good taste is hating everything. Just call it garish or ghoulish.” – Justin

“What is this Zoolander? Walk like a man!” – Wilhelmina, critiquing Daniel on his runway walk

“Did you just gesture at me when you said Kwanzaa?” – Wilhelmina

I could go on for 2 more weeks. I will stop now. Share your favorites.

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