I don't know why I cried as I watched the series finale of Ugly Betty. I mean, it's just a TV show about a young woman who makes a clumsy entrance into a workplace where she doesn't exactly fit in...at first. Then she grows and transforms into someone her peers respect and come to love. All the while she juggles both her obligations and ambitions. She's simply a character that experiences love, heartache and bad timing. Just another fictional person who finds it so hard to leave what has become comfortable and secure for something or some place that proves a huge risk...Yeah, I don't know how I could identify with any of that.
Alright. I'm lying.
I've been watching Ugly Betty since it first premiered in 2006. I began watching the show because I was a fan of America Ferrera's and because I'm Puerto Rican, so by default I must give any mainstream Latino TV show at least one shot to grab my interest. The first episode pulled me in and wrapped itself around me like a warm poncho. What kept me watching was the show's ability to star a Latina actress without making the show over the top Latin. Betty was just an everyday New Yorker and a recent college grad looking for her first job, and she just happened to be Latino. At that time I was practically living the same story line and as Betty grew, so did I.
Granted, I'm fully aware it had its ridiculous, campy moments (i.e. Rebecca Romijn's story arch and Daniel's new girl suddenly having cancer.) But what it had more often than not was the kind of writing and acting that helps suspend your belief and embrace the characters as real people. America is one of the most believable actresses of her generation. Michael Urie was at first just a sprinkle of comedy, but in this last season he portrayed dramatic and heartwarming displays that had me shed a tear (or ten.) These two actors are not the only ones that made their mark; the entire primary cast gave themselves to this show in such a way that it hurts me a bit to know they will no longer act together as one.
When it was announced the show would end, I was initially disappointed. Then I learned the writers would have enough time to close it properly. And they did so with scripted elegance. Ugly Betty's final season was the best ever written. The story lines were solid (Justin coming out was so honest!), the loose ends tied (Henry and Betty just weren't meant to be), and there were no shark jumping moments (come on, Daniel and Betty need time to embrace the possibility of being romantically involved. Get over the fact that they didn't kiss!)
In the end, I thank the writers and actors for giving me a show that, at times, mimicked my life in such a way that I wondered if I was being followed. I thank them for keeping me so interested that no matter what night the show aired, I made sure to make time for it. And finally, for helping me see that everyone can grow and change without forgetting how they started or who they were before.
I'll miss you B!
Follow Lauren J. Rivera on Twitter: www.twitter.com/laurenjrivera