ABC show receives special achievement prize

The Alma Awards’ special achievement prize to ABC’s “Ugly Betty” is something of a kudocast no-brainer. It’s a nod that auds, if not the 2-year-old show itself, have been awaiting for some time, given the dearth of positive Latino role models and storylines on current network TV.

The recognition understandably pleases Silvio Horta, who created the series for American TV and remains its showrunner. but it won’t change the show one iota. “My goal isn’t to show minorities acting perfectly,” he says, “but rather to show them acting like characters on TV act generally, which means real and human and making the same mistakes that everyone else does.”

He attributes “Ugly Betty’s” success more to good, old-fashioned storytelling than to any agenda: “Honestly, we just wanted to tell the tale of a regular girl’s journey in this high-fashion world. Making Betty a Latina was an homage to the original (Colombian) series.”

Yet the show has undeniably struck a chord with those eager to see more positive media portrayals of Latinos, especially through its depiction of the immigration struggles faced by Betty’s father, Ignacio.

“When we dealt with Ignacio’s illegal immigration, we set out to tell the story of the struggles immigrants face, but we mined it for humor,” Horta says. “We wanted to tell the story rather than make a statement.”

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