20 moments that prove Ugly Betty was ahead of its time

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Wilhelmina and Nico’s relationship

Justin and Hilda have a beautiful relationship throughout the entire series, and the fact that Hilda raised him alone (with the help of her family of course) is what made them so close. But there’s another single mother on Ugly Betty who doesn’t have quite the same bond that they do, and that’s Wilhelmina.

We first meet Nico, Wilhelmina’s daughter, in season 1. She’s rebellious and strong-willed, not unlike her mother, but she’s completely against everything her mother stands for. When she returns to New York unexpectedly after getting kicked out of yet another boarding school, Wilhelmina is left to deal with her complicated child.

As we mentioned earlier, Wilhelmina didn’t come from a close-knit family. Her father was a senator, and they didn’t show any affection towards each other. She grew up the same way Nico did, in boarding schools away from her parents, and she also rebelled the way Nico was trying to, so she was always one step ahead of her.

It’s clear that Nico is trying to get her mother’s attention, because she probably craves some validation from her, but Wilhelmina isn’t a touchy-feely mother who gives out heartfelt speeches at every turn like Hilda is. Instead, she tells Nico to brush up on her French because she’s heading to a new boarding school in Paris. Their goodbyes are cold and emotionless, as you would expect.

Wilhelmina tries to get closer to her daughter in a later episode that season when Nico arrives in the city for Thanksgiving. Wilhelmina Slater does the unexpected and actually prepares a full dinner for the two of them, and seems heartbroken when her daughter tells her she’s in town for a concert, not Thanksgiving. But the two end up enjoying a nice holiday together, and we’ll pretend that’s the way their relationship remains (because we refuse to comment on when Nico shows up in later seasons played by a new actress).

Not every family has a bond like the Suarez family, and stories like Marc’s coming out to his mother, or Wilhelmina’s complicated relationship with her daughter are just further examples of Ugly Betty’s fight for realism. They wanted to make sure that every kind of family was represented, even the bad ones.