Why I love Ugly Betty
Friday night finds me watching this week’s episode of Ugly Betty with the kids while we are having supper. During the first 15 minutes, Alexis reveals to Daniel that he isn’t Daniel Jr.’s father. She is. “Oh, he was a boy,” my 14-year old asks. “Yeah,” I reply. Then Daniel punches his sister in the face. Within the next half hour or so, Betty’s sister, Hilda, makes out with Coach Diaz and when he leaves Betty’s apartment, his wife appears from hiding. And then, I realize, maybe it isn’t such a good idea to let the kids watch it with me. They know I love Ugly Betty so much. Will they think it’s because of these topics being portrayed on screen? What values am I trying to impart to them by letting them watch this?
But as the show progresses, I start to remember why I love Ugly Betty.
First, there’s Daniel, Betty’s boss, who’s trying to hide DJ from his grandparents who came to America to pick up their grandson and return to France with him. They explain to Daniel that since they lost their daughter, he is all they have. But Daniel has learned to love DJ and wants to run away with him. And then later Betty asks him, “Are they awful people?” Daniel says, “No, not at all.” Then Betty says, “Two nice people show up to get their grandson and all of a sudden, you want to be an international fugitive.” Betty continues, “Sometimes when we want something really bad, we forget that there are other people involved. We just get stuck in our own little worlds and it doesn’t matter what other people feel… except that it … it does matter.”
That’s when Betty finally realizes why Gio thinks that she lives in Betty Suarez Land. Gio thinks that she broke up with him to make her life better. Betty thinks that she’s making him feel better when she said that they can still be friends. But he is hurt and that’s why he wants to ban her from Gio’s Deli and from his life.
But later on, after spending the day with Betty, after “breathing the same air,” Gio realizes that he can tolerate being with her even though she had hurt her. He admits to Betty, “I guess it was stupid banning you from my life.” “No,” she says, “it’s not stupid. Not if that’s what you feel.” And then he says, “I watch you at work, swimming with those sharks at Mode (magazine), keeping Daniel’s head above water. I don’t blame you for choosing yourself.” Because you see, last season, Betty was torn between Henry, who proposed to her, and Gio, who asked her to come to Rome with him. But she chose neither and she went hiking the Grand Canyon and climbing Mt. Yomesite by herself.
Then there’s Hilda. She’s been seeing Tony Diaz whom she later finds out is still married. But he says that he’s breaking up with the wife. Tony makes Hilda happy and she hangs on to that promise. But the wife shows up at her parlour and tells her that although they have drifted apart, she still loves her husband. All she wants is a second chance in her marriage. Hilda breaks it off with Tony because she once lost that second chance herself. And who’s the first person to hug and comfort her? Her dad, Ignacio, who has been opposed to the relationship all along.
And speaking of familial love, Claire Mead goes through such lengths as giving away her daughter’s share of the magazine to the evil Wilhelmina Slater just so her daughter could get out of jail. And when Willie reminds her that it might make Daniel mad, she says, “Daniel and Alexis have had their differences, but at the end of the day, they’re still brother and sister. And that’s all that really matters.”
It is all that matters, right? Inspite of all our differences with family members, we still stick up with each other. Sometimes, it may seem that we want to tear each other’s eyes out, but we know that in the end, we will find a way to settle our differences, if not, at least accept them.
To sum it all up, let me just end with this quote from Alexis, “Thanks, mom, for always being there, for never judging me.” I think that says it all. Nothing can compare to a parent’s love.
And that’s why I love Ugly Betty and why this is one of my favourite episodes. Not only can I relate to how the characters feel (characters like Hilda, Betty, Claire or even Ignatio. And in my life, I’ve had known a Daniel Meade or a Wilhelmina Slater, or a DJ), but amidst all the chaos and all the mistakes the characters make, they do redeem themselves in some way or another. And I guess that is not such a bad lesson to teach the kids.