Question: I have watched all the episodes of Ugly Betty so far, and I really enjoy the show on many levels. I love (and hate) that "poor Betty" moment that seems to occur at least once per episode (you know, when some wafer-thin coworker attempts to humiliate her at a staff meeting or some such). The only problem I have with the show, honestly, is that as believable as Betty is in terms of her disposition and courage, she is utterly unbelievable to me in terms of her looks. A woman (whether she's raised in Queens, the rural Midwest or Seattle) who wants to work at the most successful fashion magazine in America would presumably have some minor interest in fashion and/or personal beauty. I just have a hard time buying the idea that Betty, who is by no means ugly, would have no interest in or ability to present herself with a certain amount of style and grace. If she has no interest in fashion, why is she working at such a prestigious publication? And if she does have an interest in fashion, how can such a bright, resourceful, competent and professional young woman have absolutely no clue that she's presenting the most unfashionable image possible? Thanks for your thoughts. I do love the show and hope it lasts many, many years.
Answer: So do I. First off, keep in mind that in many ways, Ugly Betty is a cartoon, a garish comedy that is meant to be extreme in its looks and style, including Betty's lack thereof. Addressing a key plot point, though: Betty had no intention of working at Mode. She wanted to work for one of Meade Publications' more serious mags (think Vanity Fair), not this glossy fashion rag. She is a complete novice to this world. And while it's true that someone with Betty's gumption and brains would probably be able to do enough homework to put together a look that's a little less goofy, Betty is also representing a less inhibited culture that isn't afraid of a little color or a few curves. Do I believe someone like Betty would actually go to work looking like she does? No. But the show's called Ugly Betty, not Extreme Makeover (although her recent makeover was hilarious). I will say, though, that I hope the show doesn't bring Betty to the brink of quitting every week. That's getting old fast.