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Parents' Guide to

Ugly Betty

By Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Underdog fashion-industry comedy has language, fat-shaming.

TV ABC , Syndicated Comedy 2006
Ugly Betty Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 10+

Fun, but a lot of body shaming.

This show is entertaining and heartwarming, although Betty is constantly being put down for her looks. Personally, I find Betty pretty attractive, despite the weird glasses. There are lots of sexual references and a bunch of scenes that indicate that there was/will be sex before or after the shot, and there are a few references that completely objectify women. Overall I found Ugly Betty really fun, but maybe talk to your Kida about body shaming beforehand.
age 18+

Misogynistic & classist

Besides being totally inappropriate for young teens bc of the way most women are portrayed it also throws at least 2 underserved populations under the bus, while making a mockery of Betty & her immigrant family. See: psychotic case worker and Ukrainian model’s mom. Rewatching it a decade later with my teen now it’s like it’s a whole different show. There are probably other issues but we’re going to quit watching.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (23 ):

The show's writing and acting are both top-notch, and there are giggles to be found at every turn. In one scene, for example, Betty admires a model's beautiful Dolce & Gabbana poncho and chummily tells the woman that her father bought her a similar one in Guadalajara ... only to show up the next day proudly wearing a gaudy, blanket-like garment that has "souvenir" written all over it. With similar themes to The Devil Wears Prada, released around the same time, Ugly Betty is wildly fun fare that takes the Prada premise and ups the ante -- unlike Anne Hathaway's Andy, Betty has to overcome more workplace challenges as a woman of color who doesn't fit into the fashion industry's Eurocentric and thin-obsessed beauty standards.

Ugly Betty has enough drama to keep viewers interested throughout, but, unlike other soapy shows, it spends an equal amount of time on "everyday" storylines like Betty's heartwarming relationship with her father, her queer nephew, and her gay best friend. Though the show has a few risqué scenes that might raise some eyebrows, including Daniel's predatory behavior at the office, Ferrara's stellar performance outweighs them. Betty is clearly the most admirable character on the show, and her positive qualities just make the other characters' failings more obvious.

TV Details

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