During its four-year run, ABC’s “Ugly Betty” skewered the New York fashion world, nabbing celebrity cameos from the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Shakira and Isaac Mizrahi.
It turned America Ferrera, who played the plucky but style-challenged Betty Suarez, into a household name. And it landed a prestigious Peabody Award.
As the credits roll on the wacky dramedy’s last episode April 14, Latino, gay rights groups and fans are lamenting more than the loss of Betty’s cringe-inducing outfits and the melodrama of the Meade family — owners of the show’s fictional fashion magazine Mode. The hourlong show was also among the rare network programs to tackle such controversial issues as gay teens, body image and illegal immigration.
The show contrasted Betty’s career at Mode with her working class, Mexican immigrant family, including her widower father Ignacio, her impulsive older sister Hilda and her theater-loving, fashion expert nephew Justin, who came out as gay in this last season.
“Having this family at the center of the show made it normal to watch a Latino family in a non-stereotypical way,” Ferrera said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Lisa Navarrete, a vice president for the National Council of La Raza, said the show’s absence will leave a void.
“You don’t have a lot of Latino-themed shows on TV, so when we lose ‘Ugly Betty,’ we will have a major loss,” she said.
Navarrete noted that George Lopez paved the way for “Ugly Betty” in 2002 with his Bill Cosby styled family sitcom, but she called “Ugly Betty” edgier.
In leaving the show, Ferrera says she’s a little sad but looks forward to future projects. She currently voices a Viking bombshell in the DreamWorks animated feature “How to Train Your Dragon.”
To watch episodes of “Ugly Betty”, visit abc.go.com/show/ugly-betty.