Ugly Betty TV Poster Image

Ugly Betty



Underdog heroine is a model of charm and appeal.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series sends positive messages about having a strong sense of self, having a strong work ethic, and the importance of family. A major theme is integrity,

Positive role models

Enthusiastic, dedicated, optimistic Betty is a great role model for girls. Betty's co-workers can be very petty, mean, and sneaky.


Back-biting and scheming, but no violence (except to a stuffed bunny...).


Betty's boss, Daniel, is a womanizer who has no qualms about sleeping with his co-workers and getting sexual favors in the office -- but virtually all of his shenanigans are implied rather than shown (some scenes show him in a rumpled bed, another scene implies an indiscretion during work hours, etc.). Some female characters wear tight and/or revealing clothes. One character is transgendered.


Pretty mild: "Bitch," etc.


The world of Mode magazine is a very materialistic one, but most brands and designer names are fictional.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ugly Betty is an hour-long comedy set in the competitive, materialistic world of a high-fashion magazine called Mode. Several characters -- most of whom are pretty over-the-top -- consequently exhibit poor values and iffy behavior (scheming, corporate one-upmanship, petty meanness to those who don't fit in, etc.). By comparison, delightful main character Betty stands out like a cheerful, hardworking beacon. Unabashedly proud of her working-class roots and eclectic taste in clothes and accessories, Betty is a great role model for teen girls who worry about fitting in.

What's the story?

Executive produced by Salma Hayek and based on the wildly popular Colombian telenovela Yo Soy Betty La Fea, UGLY BETTY stars America Ferrera as optimistic, focused Betty Suarez. Betty -- who wants to be a serious journalist -- accepts a job assisting Mode magazine's playboy editor-in-chief Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius). At first, Daniel does everything he can to make her life miserable, but he quickly realizes that he can't run the magazine without her, and the incongruous pair become a team. Furious about being passed over for the editor-in-chief job, creative director Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) will do anything to bring Daniel -- and, by extension, Betty -- down. In her ring are toadying assistant Marc (Michael Urie) and evil receptionist Amanda (Becki Newton), who's sleeping with Daniel and wants Betty's job. Rounding out the cast are Christina (Ashley Jensen), the on-site seamstress who shows Betty the ropes and acts as her confidant and guardian angel; Hilda (Ana Ortiz), Betty's outspoken older sister; and Justin (Mark Indelicato), Betty's hilariously fashion-obsessed nephew.

Is it any good?


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. Coming to TV on the heels of The Devil Wears Prada, Ugly Betty is wildly fun fare that takes the Prada premise and ups the ante -- unlike Anne Hathaway's Andy, Betty never bows to the pressure to turn herself into one of the skeletal, glam automatons who sashay through Mode's hallways.

Ugly Betty has enough ongoing drama to satisfy older viewers, but, unlike other soapy shows, it spends an equal amount of time on "everyday" storylines like Betty's heartwarming relationship with her father. Although the show has a few risqué scenes that might raise parental eyebrows, including one in which Daniel's receptionist is caught under his desk (presumably pleasuring him), 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 -- even to younger teens. Bottom line? Ugly Betty is a must-see.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Betty's impressive optimism in Ugly Betty. How does she stay so positive in such a hostile environment? How can you deal with tricky work situations (harassment, nasty co-workers) in the real world?

  • Besides her outward appearance, what else sets her apart from most of her Mode co-workers? What gave her such a good work ethic? What role does her family play in her life? What makes her a good role model for real girls and young women?

  • How does Betty demonstrate integrity in Ugly Betty? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Premiere date:September 28, 2006
Cast:America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Vanessa Williams
Networks:ABC, Syndicated
Topics:Great girl role models
Character strengths:Integrity
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Teen, 13 years old Written byAwalkeratCSM March 30, 2011

Parents of teens, be on your guard!

Seven episodes in, I'm starting to get disgusted. It seems like in every movie, and TV show there has to be sex, sex, sex! Why?! Even sweet Betty can't make up for the twisted sheets or the office humor make up for the occasional language and drinking. I wish this show could have come up with a few more characters who don't drink, swear, sleep around, and can be good role models for the teenagers who watch this show. Betty is sweet, hard working, and empathetic, but she needs to dump her boyfriend. Her father and nephew are okay, but the rest of the characters have certain aspects that disgust me. It is mostly because of the sex, drinking, language, and bad role models that I make this show an iffy +14; otherwise, it is a mildly good office drama that makes a lot of fun of the fashion world.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written bymirar1 April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byshopping is hiking March 5, 2010

A PG-13 kinda TV show, but if you're a mature 12-year old, it works

Ugly Betty is an absolute favorite show of mine! Again, there isn't too too much "office humor" and the relationships between Betty and all the other characters can be hysterical. Like what some people have said, it's kinda true that every episode is different, but does stay on track with what was happening in the previous episodes. Betty is a really strong young woman and has a great, positive attitude most of the times. She always seems to be putting herself into the most impossible situations, makes you just wonder . . . when does she just stop! There is some slight language in Ugly Betty and also parts were it mentions sexual behavior and sometimes shows it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great role models


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