Anyone who has ever felt awkward or out of place has a friend in Betty Suarez, the magazine assistant with bad hair, a brace-face and tons of pluck in ABC's "Ugly Betty." Based on a popular Colombian telenovela, the show combines a sweet "beauty is only skin deep" moral with a campy mystery reminiscent of early "Desperate Housewives." Here's a rundown of what's happened so far:
Betty at Mode
Queens-bred Betty lands her first job in publishing as the assistant to the editor in chief at Mode, the highest of high-fashion magazines. She makes a splash on her first day when she shows up with her metal braces and gaudy Guadalajara poncho while everyone else is kitted out in Manolos and Marc Jacobs. In addition to being the laughingstock of the skinny, snotty staff, she also learns publishing mogul Bradford Meade has only hired her because he's sure his son Daniel — Mode's new editor in chief — won't sleep with her.
Yet no amount of humiliation (and there's a lot of humiliation) can deter the spunky Betty, who quickly proves herself a valuable member of the Mode staff. She saves fashion spreads, covers for her boss while he nurses hangovers, and talks a famous photographer who'd sworn off working with Mode into shooting for them again. She's even been offered a job at a new magazine that targets empowered young women. But will Betty really leave behind her Mode job and her friendship with Daniel? We'll have to wait till January to see.
The previous Mode editor in chief, Fey Sommers, died in a fiery car crash ... or did she? What we know so far: The catty creative director, Wilhelmina Slater, spends lots of time on the phone with a shadowy woman whose face is wrapped in bandages. Daniel keeps getting phone calls from a woman who hints that Daniel's father is keeping secrets. And Bradford, who had an affair with Fey years ago, appears connected to her death, though he's now trying to cover his tracks.
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Daniel and Sofia
Let's just say Daniel really likes to sleep around. Like, a lot. At one point, Betty's sent to retrieve his watch from the apartment of a woman he's slept with and ends up finding his boxers and ties strewn all over New York City. One of his on-again, off-again romances is with Amanda, the Mode receptionist who desperately wants to make Daniel hers. But everything changes when Daniel spots the beautiful, sexy, self-assured Sofia walking through the lobby of the Meade building. Turns out, Bradford has hired Sofia to launch a new magazine for smart, empowered women. Daniel falls for her and even decides he's ready to settle down, but Sofia's not convinced Daniel won't go back to his philandering ways. He's bought engagement rings but hasn't proposed yet. To complicate things, Betty has recommended that Amanda take over as Daniel's assistant if Betty leaves for the job at Sofia's magazine. Could Daniel really keep his hands off?
Betty's personal life
One of the biggest twists so far came at home. Betty finds out her father once killed a man in Mexico out of self-defense, then fled the country and has been living in the United States illegally for years. Betty already did a lot to support her family, but she's really feeling the pressure to find a way to save her dad. Betty's also got some choices to make in her love life: She's been trying to work things out with Walter, her wet blanket of a boyfriend, but now her palms sweat and her heart flutters every time she crosses the path of her co-worker Henry.
"Ugly Betty" returns Jan. 4, but you can catch up on anything you missed by watching all the episodes online.