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Remembering Ugly Betty: The best forgotten TV show of our generation


Ugly Betty was a mid 2000s masterpiece. Picture Daniel and Wilhelmina swanning around the pristine, white offices of fashion magazine MODE. Mark and Amanda gossiping at the reception desk. Betty turning up in a poncho on her first day because she thought it was stylish. Christina in the fashion closet, talking in a Scottish accent and stitching some crazy dress. And someone constantly, incessantly trying to steal the company and become Editor in Chief.

Somewhere, deeply ingrained in the back of your brain, you have a vault of Ugly Betty memories and knowledge just waiting to be unlocked. It was playing on E4 on a loop for most of the late 2000s, after all. I'm here to unlock that vault for you. We all need to remember how good it was, and how much it shaped us as teens.

This is everything you forgot about Ugly Betty that made it so beautifully awful, and so watchable. Prepare to audibly gasp and go "Oh my god I forgot about that!"

Daniel Mead was the sexy boss we all wanted (as 10 year olds)

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Oh honey, how could I forget about you

Oh Daniel. Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. The clueless, bachelor party boy that got handed a fashion magazine and ended up as Betty's boss. He was a long standing childhood crush even if you didn't realise it at the time.

Included in some of the things you forgot about this batshit series is that he starts the series as a sex addict, has an illegitimate child that turns out to actually be his sister's and nearly dies like, five times.

You've remembered Daniel Meade but how could you forget… Alexis Meade!

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At the start of the series, Daniel's brother Alex Meade has been dead for years as a result of a mysterious skiing incident. By the end of season one, we learn that Alex has transitioned and is in fact now Alexis Meade.

Alexis and Wilhelmina (We'll get to her later) plan to steal MODE from Daniel's grasp but eventually she remembers he's her brother and she loves him blah blah – basically, it's mental. The storylines in this show really did not hold back.

MODE was so clearly based on Vogue

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Ugly Betty is set in the offices of fashion magazine MODE, where Betty works as an assistant. The very beginning of Ugly Betty is based on the death of Fey Summers, Editor in Chief of MODE who rules the fashion magazine with an iron fist.

Of what we see of Fey, she has a short bob and walks around wearing big sunglasses all the time. Basically – she's Anna Wintour, the Editor in Chief of American Vogue. Also her last name is Summers. Wintour, Summers. I rest my case. This is something that your sweet pre-teen brain probably never thought of, but now you know.

Remember when Betty wore a Guadalajara poncho on her first day at MODE?

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In the first episode, Betty applies for a job at MODE. The running joke throughout the show is that Betty should not be working at MODE because she is "ugly" (rude) and doesn't know about fashion. To try and fit in, Betty wears a Guadalajara poncho because she saw a model wearing a fur poncho a few days before. When she arrives at the offices, Amanda says to her "Hi – are you the before?" Which brings me to…

Amanda's one liners were impeccable

Amanda was more than just a mean receptionist. She was an icon. She thrived off sticking her nose into other people's business, following Daniel around in the hope he may eventually love her and dragging Betty down at every possible opportunity (sorry Betty).

It is entirely up to you whether or not you watch the remaining thirteen minutes of video. Make the right decision.

Mark and Amanda were truly the most iconic duo

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Amanda and Mark were the bitchy duo of the office and provided 90 per cent of the comedic material for the show. These two were so worthy of a spin off entirely about their lives, but alas, we can't get everything we want.

If you need to remember one thing about Mark, it's the scene where he walks into an interview (he and Betty are both going for the same job) to the tune of Poker Face with five assistants in tow. One of them being Amanda.


Wilhelmina lived off botox and raw female power

Wilhelmina was the stuff of nightmares. She was always trying to bring Daniel down and become Editor in Chief of MODE. Mark would routinely inject duck fat into her face to make her look younger and she was always wearing white.

Looking back on it, Wilhelmina was actually a low key legend and an inspiration to all women. Except when she marries Daniel's father just to gain control of the company. That's not very inspirational. Don't try that at home.

One thing I wish I didn't remember is Henry, Betty's nerdy boyfriend

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Henry was truly the most boring character in the whole series, but Betty was OBSESSED with him. His name is literally Henry Grubstick. Like Betty, please.

In season one he and Betty have a bit of a fling while she's trying to end things with her current and equally boring first boyfriend, Walter. Then he fucks off to Texas, reunites with his ex-girlfriend Charlie aka weird guidance counsellor from Glee, comes back and breaks Betty's little heart.

It's okay though, because it paves the way for Betty x Daniel sexual chemistry which is all we ever wanted to see.

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This picture is just waiting for a Youtube comment saying "Was this filmed on a potato?"

Christina was your weird art teacher in TV form

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There she is!

Christina was Ugly Betty's slightly unhinged stylist friend at MODE who was incredibly Scottish and always got herself into weird predicaments. If you were young and vaguely kooky you wanted to BE her. I miss you, Christina.

Also, Betty wasn't even ugly

They just stuck some glasses and braces on America Ferrera, a genuinely attractive woman, and told us all she was ugly and we believed them! Realising she isn't ugly will shake you to your core. Your entire childhood was a lie.

Now that I've given you enough throwback to give you whiplash, please join me in starting a petition to get Ugly Betty on Netflix. We need it.