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Betty Suarez: Gorgeous on the Inside


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#1

Prettyeyes

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Posted Sep 25, 2006 @ 10:17 AM

She's the poncho-wearing, braces-having, Plain Jane heroine of our little story, who also happens to be (gasp!)"normal" sized! Will she, to quote The Mary Tyler Moore Show, "make it after all" or fall flat on her face?

Chat about "Ugly" Betty Suarez here.

#2

babelfish

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 8:39 AM

I just finished watching the show and while I loved it, I do have a few minor quibbles with Betty's characterisation. Why is it that if Betty is encoded as "ugly" in the show, her redeeming quality is that she's automatically the smartest person in the room? It's as if, to make up for a perceived flaw (supposed "ugliness"), the show's writers go too far in the other direction: they make her too clever.

I know that that sounds elitist ("beautiful people can be smart too!"), but come on: on her first day of her first serious job, she single-handedly comes up with the idea that saves both the magazine's future and, by extension, her boss's job? That's stretching it a bit too far, for me.

#3

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 9:18 AM

I had no problem with Betty saving Daniel's job. Since this show's based on a telenovela, all telenovelas do things that are far-fetched, to put it mildly. I'm willing to suspend disbelief.

#4

Laguna

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 1:33 PM

I have no problem with it either.

I don't know how old and in what field any of you all are working.... But many times the new hires have incredible (and the best) ideas. They are fresh out of school with fresh ideas. Furthermore, if they actually have passion for the job, it's not surprising that they would add something valuable and innovative to the team of 40-somethings who are on autopilot.

I've noticed this tendency for many but not all television viewers to demand characters that are always borderline average. I would say to that miniscule group of individuals to take a step back. This is one character who is "ugly" that is being portrayed as innovative on only ONE occaision so far. Big deal, I don't think it's unrealistic.

[ On a side note... What I think is unrealistic is a bunch of air-headed people running around who are (apparently) conventionally pretty and are at the top of their field (or on their way to the top). ]

Also, the fact that the young Meade was fresh out of ideas and had nothing to go on, it's not surprising that he would consider his only option.

What a strange world we live in, the cliche nepotism is accepted without question but the brilliance in a new hire isn't?

Edited by Laguna, Sep 29, 2006 @ 4:56 PM.


#5

Jessica

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 2:06 PM

Let's not generalize about the desires of other posters, please, and let's stick to the topic -- which isn't Grey's versus UB, it's Betty herself.

I think she's adorable, although I have to say, while I find the producers intent to NOT make her over interesting, I wonder if a young woman working at a fashion magazine wouldn't sort of....make herself over even a little unconsciously. Did the character in the original get a make over?

Okay, fine. I love makeovers. I said it.

#6

Laguna

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 2:34 PM

Edited because I'm officially afraid of BB.

Didn't Betty make a conscious decision to make herself over by wearing the poncho? She spoke with the hot model and found out that it was fashionable and then she copied it.

Also, in the last boardroom scene, Betty is noticeably not wearing any fuchsia or any overly distracting patterns. If I remember correctly, she's wearing the standard black that everyone else is shrouded in with only one additional color.

Edited by Laguna, Sep 29, 2006 @ 6:46 PM.


#7

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 2:55 PM

Yeah, I think Betty will definitely become a little better at dressing herself, if only because of the immersion in the fashion world. And even then, some of her outfits that the bitches at Mode were gagging over weren't even all that bad.

#8

Smallcondo

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 3:05 PM

Did the character in the original get a make over?

Yeah, but in my opinion, it was very subtle and realistic (as realistic a telenovela can be). Nice, nonflashy makeup, change of frames and some nice pantsuits. Nothing hoochilicious and one of the elements of the original that I loved.

So hopefully if this Betty goes through a transformation, it will be as gradual and understated.

#9

babelfish

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 3:26 PM

This is one character who is "ugly" that is being portrayed as innovative... on only ONE occaision so far. Big deal, I don't think it's unrealistic.

Laguna, I take your point about it being one occasion so far. I personally like that Betty is innovative and has a never-say-die, can-do attitude. She is supposed to be bright, and the whole point of the show is to prove that she does deserve the job; I just hope that the writers do it subtly and gradually.

The show is realistic because it depicts a non-zero sized woman trying to succeed (which I cheer on, as I can relate), and it gets kudos for that. I just don't want the message to be undermined because they made it unrealistic in another sense by making her the fount of all wisdom, you know? :)

#10

bookish girl

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 3:57 PM

I just don't want the message to be undermined because they made it unrealistic in another sense by making her the fount of all wisdom, you know?



I agree. In the original, Betty...while very clever and bright, was also very naive and inexperienced. She makes a lot of mistakes and she's far from perfect. But Betty is someone you can root for and even when she makes those mistakes you can't help but sympathize and be on her side.

Betty has struggled (which is not to say that 'pretty' or 'rich' people do not struggle) and she's gotten where she's at largely because of her intelligence and work ethic. She's not beautiful, she's not rich, she's not experienced but what she does have she's got plenty of and she's willing to put it out there.

Much in the same way that Wilhemina is tough, beautiful, rich, clever and bitchy. She knows what she's like, she knows what she can offer and she's clearly proven it time and again.

I really hope that we see all of Betty's skills and how clever she is. If those at Mode can show off how good they look, she can show off how smart she is.

#11

theobviouschild

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 10:11 PM

So hopefully if this Betty goes through a transformation, it will be as gradual and understated.

I'm seconding that hope. I will hate, hate, hate this show if they put her through some big flashy make over. But I'm cool with a slow, understated transition.

#12

seffina

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Posted Sep 29, 2006 @ 10:38 PM

The original did it step by step. Braces, glasses, hair, clothing... and she had help with it too.

I think they are going to go a little different from the original which makes it all the more exciting.

I loved Betty's poncho copying idea. She is smart, but in some ways still naive.

#13

rue bee

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Posted Sep 30, 2006 @ 1:02 PM

I think it's cool if Betty never develops fashions sense. Her dream is not to become editor of Vogue but so start her own magazine. Not sure if she's thinking Real Simple or the New Yorker or Queens Lifestyle but I guess we'll find that out later. The job at Mode is her chance to learn how the magazine industry works, build her resume and make contacts. Also, Betty may be smart but why shouldn't she be -- especially compared to Daniel, who's riding Daddy's coattails or to Wilhemnia, who's presumably used her beauty to make her career? I think the stereotype of the ugly but smart businessperson is usually true because how else would they get & keep their job? If Betty was ugly & dumb, she wouldn't have been able to save her job. If Betty was ugly & rich, she could have been able to buy herself a new face. Someone who looks like Betty (because of genetics and not enough money to get a stylist and/or surgery) must be intelligent in order to succeed.

#14

Wisla

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Posted Oct 3, 2006 @ 1:04 PM

I like this show and respect the people involved (although the name "America" gives me a pain behind my eyes.) The premise, though, doesn't thrill. To be blunt, if I were an employer, let alone a fashion magazine editor, I would not hire Betty. Or I would only hire her if she agreed to smarten herself up.

I'm not talking about body size or prettiness. Using those criteria for hiring is irrelevant, off-side, and in many places, illegal. And let's face it, Anna Wintour and co. are not oil paintings, either.

But her clothes scream either "I am completely clueless" or "I don't care about this job, and I don't want to be here." And I'm not talking about expensive, high fashion clothes either. I'm talking about professionalism.

To put it another way, if Betty had applied at a sports magazine, she should not be expected to be a jock herself. She should be expected to show some knowledge and interest in sports, and to dress in such a way as to favourably represent her employer.

Similarly, Betty should be expected to show some some knowledge and interest in fashion, and to dress in at least a reasonable, professional way. If she does not want to do that, if it does not express her true being, or whatever, fine. She can apply for another job. A midnight shelf stocker comes to mind.

To sum up, I'm disappointed the producers decided not to take the high "Betty: a different kind of beauty" road, and instead are going down the low "Betty: a loveable klutz" road.

#15

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Posted Oct 3, 2006 @ 1:57 PM

on her first day of her first serious job, she single-handedly comes up with the idea that saves both the magazine's future and, by extension, her boss's job? That's stretching it a bit too far, for me.


Just finished watching the episode, and I got to chime in. That wasn't Betty's first day. In fact, she had already suffered thru various tortures by Daniel. Plus, one of the things established in that very first scene (and subsequently plugged in the "offending the best friend" bit) is that Betty is a huge fan of Meade publications, and has been for many years. She recognized Daniel's best friend work, and compared it to something she had seen years before. She seems to have a very creative mind, and I wouldn't be surprised if she had a degree in publishing. It wouldn't be that surprising that after a few days working there she would have researched into "Donnatella"'s products in order to pitch an original idea to her boss.

My 2 cents.

#16

Jessica

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Posted Oct 3, 2006 @ 2:23 PM

To be blunt, if I were an employer, let alone a fashion magazine editor, I would not hire Betty. Or I would only hire her if she agreed to smarten herself up.


I agree in theory, but I believe that's explained in this case by the fact that Bradford hired her BECAUSE she wasn't put together, so she wouldn't tempt Daniel's wandering eyes/hands. She didn't apply for a job at Mode specifically, she applied for a job at the publishing company. I'm quite sure the staffers at, say, The Economist, are no fashionplates compared to those at Vogue.

#17

Wisla

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Posted Oct 4, 2006 @ 1:31 AM

I'm quite sure the staffers at, say, The Economist, are no fashionplates compared to those at Vogue.

They don't have to be. And neither does Betty. A well-cut suit, stockings, heels. A nice, businesslike bag. Oh, and get that hair out of your eyes. Is that too much to ask? For any office job?

I think you miss my point, Jessica. There are professional, appropriate outfits for any job, outfits that say "I understand what I'm doing". If Betty applied to me for a job as, say, a chicken plucker, I would expect her to dress casually, maybe in khakis, be clean and neat, and have her hair under control.

If she appeared in an expensive, designer outfit, wearing a ton of make up, I would reasonably think she was either clueless or crazy. Maybe Beautiful Mind crazy, but crazy.

I wouldn't go so far to say Betty is crazy, but how does she not understand how to dress for an upwardly mobile job in publishing, if she is so smart? Does she have some kind of trauma in her past? I haven't seen the telenovella.

Edited by Wisla, Oct 4, 2006 @ 1:32 AM.


#18

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Posted Oct 4, 2006 @ 2:02 AM

I don't know that Betty being smart has anything to do with being a snappy dresser. This is her very first job. There are a lot of people who have an innocence about how they should dress for job interviews and things like that, especially when they haven't been on an interview before. It's not that they aren't smart, it's that they don't know any better, which I think is Betty's problem. Which is why I think it's good for her to have Justin and the cuartel.

And she was dressed professionally for her interview at the Publishing Company. It wasn't the best choice, but it was still professional.

#19

Jessica

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Posted Oct 4, 2006 @ 1:34 PM

I don't miss your point, I don't think. I just don't think she showed up for the interview looking unprofessional. Young? Yes. Unexperienced? Yes. Dowdy? God, yes. But she didn't show up in sweats and a stained tee and sneakers: she was wearing a suit. It was a bad suit, but an effort was made.

I don't think the show is trying to imply she's suffering from past trauma or whatever, but rather that she's young, naive, and she's never paid attention to this stuff.

#20

Raabjorn

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 3:11 PM

This show sucks. I would like the show if the bitch wore some makeup to cover up that roadkill she calls her face. I hope she suffers.

#21

hanifa

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 3:17 PM

A well-cut suit, stockings, heels. A nice, businesslike bag. Oh, and get that hair out of your eyes. Is that too much to ask? For any office job?


Yes. Many women do not wear heels.

#22

Jessica

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 3:52 PM

Okay, I think we're about to veer a bit off topic -- let's stick to Betty specifically. Whether your office requires a suit or not (when I was working in TV, if I came in wearing a suit, everyone would think I had been to a funeral) isn't really applicable in the context of this particular discussion, especially since this show is clearly not rooted in the real world. There's been a lot of artistic license taken all over the place.

Back to Betty! Thank you!

#23

sobell

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 4:19 PM

how does she not understand how to dress for an upwardly mobile job in publishing, if she is so smart?


Because that's not taught in school, and she doesn't come from the socioeconomic background that tends to funnel its Bright Young Things into fast-track publishing careers.

At least, the impression I got from the first episode was that she lives in a working-class neighborhood and is probably in the first generation of her family to go to college. Assuming she went to a city college with a lot of other people who were juggling work/family obligations as well as school (assuming the site's bio for her is at all related to her show characterization) ... she's probably not getting that social-class knowledge she would need to figure out how to look "appropriate" and act "appropriately" in Conde Manque's milieu. I thought the show did a great job of pointing that out without beating the viewers over the head with it.

As for Betty herself: I adore her. The character is so dang admirable -- she's selfless, smart, resilient, sensitive and determined.

I'm gushing. Off to go make t-shirts reading "WWBD?" -- "What Would Betty Do?"

Edited by sobell, Oct 5, 2006 @ 4:19 PM.


#24

moltingmonad

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 7:16 PM

Betty is so utterly clueless it is cringe-worthy. I seriously challenge anyone to find a 22-year-old who has metal braces with purple accents. You could say that she has money to spend on her teeth now that it isn't going to her education. Still, purple accents?

She looks like a 'tween fashion reject from the 1980s. Hmm. Her glasses are at least fashionable so she must have some clue (I mean, they would be fashionable if paired with the right sort of eccentric outfit.)

That isn't a Betty slam . . . It's more like they just pushed the "ugly" part too far. It's over the top.

ETA: Her nephew's braces don't show. It's ridiculous that that kid would let Betty look so unfashionable while working at a fashion magazine.

Edited by moltingmonad, Oct 5, 2006 @ 7:37 PM.


#25

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 7:42 PM

[small voice] I had metal braces with color accents... in my early 30s! [/small voice]

What can I say, I like color! And since the stupid things were seen from 200 meters around anyway, I tought I might as well go the whole nine yards, you know?

As for Betty being too over the top... I agree, compared to regular characters on primetime TV. However, I have seen some really weird fashion choices just walking down the street.

I agree with those who posted that, since she's new to the corporate world, and coming from a working class family, she probably doesn't have much of a fashion-in-the-office sense. She has noone to guide her in that aspect (she doesn't have a mommy, sniff-sniff), and even if she was the type of girl who reads fashion magazines (which I don't think she is), she probably can't afford the pricey outfits anyway.

That's probably the reason why her nephew asked her if she had anything good to wear to work... he has probably seen all of his aunt's wardrobe! It's not likely that she would be able to go and buy new clothes when she's just starting her very first job and her father doesn't have the extra cash either.

Edited by cuca10, Oct 5, 2006 @ 7:48 PM.


#26

Sol Apollo

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 8:05 PM

I agree with those who posted that, since she's new to the corporate world, and coming from a working class family, she probably doesn't have much of a fashion-in-the-office sense. She has noone to guide her in that aspect (she doesn't have a mommy, sniff-sniff), and even if she was the type of girl who reads fashion magazines (which I don't think she is), she probably can't afford the pricey outfits anyway.


Even if she could afford what's in fashion, I don't think she would wear it. Her current wardrobe is who is she; it's unique, and you won't find anyone else wearing the same thing...just like Betty.

#27

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 8:10 PM

That isn't a Betty slam . . . It's more like they just pushed the "ugly" part too far. It's over the top.


The entire show is over the top. It's not Lost; it's a fun, fluffy hour that has quickly become one of my favorites, and that is due mostly to the charms of Betty, perfectly portrayed by America. I'm not watching the show hoping that it gives me some sort of profound insight, but rather because I want to be charmed and entertained.

#28

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 9:05 PM

I absolutely love this show. It's bitchy, it's campy, it's over the top...it brings some fun to TV. It's pure fantasy so I don't exactly expect to be so realistic. I mean, how realistic is "Lost" or "Desperate Housewives"? The main reason I love it, of course, is America. She is so difficult not to like. She was fantastic in "Real Women..", so I made an effort to watch this show. She may be naive, "unattractive" and inexperienced, but she is definitely the most human of anyone on the show.

#29

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Posted Oct 5, 2006 @ 11:21 PM

Why is it that if Betty is encoded as "ugly" in the show, her redeeming quality is that she's automatically the smartest person in the room?

I think it isn't her intellect that's supposed to be her redeeming quality necessarily, but her integrity. I love Betty's strong sense of self. That is how she transcends the meanness and humiliation people like Amanda, Evil Marc and (in the beginning) Daniel throw her way.

#30

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Posted Oct 6, 2006 @ 8:16 AM

I think we're already seeing Betty absorb some of the influence around her.

In the ep last night, her hair and glasses were different, and she wasn't dressed in colors that clashed quite as loudly as before.

I think Betty is one of those people who is totally clueless about fashion, and no matter how much you throw at her, she's never going to totally get it. I'm one of those people. I could wear a fashionable outfit, but it would never quite seem right, just because I don't have that certain flair, while my sister-in-law can wear jeans and a t-shirt with a few accessories and look very smart.