An internationally popular telenovela made over for the American audience, Ugly Betty defies categorization. It’s a soap opera, a mystery, a screwball comedy, a fairy tale, a devilish satire of New York’s high-fashion industry. It’s a shrewd examination of clashing notions of beauty, class, ethnicity, sexual identity and color-coordination. Heroine Betty Suarez, from a working-class family in Queens, isn’t actually ugly. She’s just fuller figured than the twig-lets who strut through Mode magazine’s ultra-trendy offices, and her orthodontic braces, nerdy glasses and a garish outfit or two sometimes catch co-workers off guard. Hired to assist a womanizing editor to whom she presumably won’t pose a temptation, the smart, ethical Betty proves to be his best ally in a den of pretty, poisonous vipers. Her warm, unglamorous home life with her father, sister and ambiguously gay nephew adds rich texture to the series. At work and at home the ensemble cast is as nimble as the writing, which can move from drama to low comedy to high camp within a single scene. For demonstrating that wit and humanity never go out of style, Ugly Betty receives a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive producers: Silvio Horta (also writer), Ben Silverman, Salma Hayek, Jose Tamez, James Hayman (also director), James Parriott (also writer), Marco Pennette (also writer). Co-executive producers: Teri Weinberg, Alice West, Sheila Lawrence (also writer), Oliver Goldstick (also writer), Tracy Poust, Jon Kinnally. Supervising producers: Gabrielle Stanton, Harry Werksman, Henry Alonso Myers. Unit production manager/Co-producer: Jack Philbrick. Co-producer: Cameron Litvack (also writer). Directors: Richard Shepard, Sheree Folkson, Tamra Davis, Tricia Brock, Rodman Flender, Jaime Babbit, Sarah Pia Anderson, Ken Whittingham, Michael Spiller, Wendey Stanzler, Lev L. Spiro, Jeff Melman, Miguel Arteta, Paul Lazarus, Victor Nelli Jr. Writer: Dailyn Rodriguez, Veronica Becker.