Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Hollywood Ugly launched as Hollywood Homely: From YKTTW

While I agree Lynda Carter is one of the most beautiful women in history, her Diana Prince character wasn't supposed to be homely exactly, she had plenty of men hitting on her in the series. Diana was supposed to be shy and romantically naive; Etta would often urge her to be more outgoing.

Red Shoe: Really more of a Hot Librarian than Hollywood Homely I think.

Agreed. Not only that, but on at least one occasion she had to pretend to fall in love with a slimy villain, exactly as mentioned in Hot Librarian. I took the liberty of moving the example there.

Andyzero: Would the main character from Ugly Betty count? I haven't actually seen the show, though.

Cameo Appearance: I don't think Mickey Smith was ever considered to be ugly or physically unappealing; he was something of a third wheel at times, but I don't recall anything to do with his looks ever actually coming up.

Seven Seals: Agreed. I've taken it out. Mickey was picked on plenty of times for being "stupid" (mostly by the Doctor), but nobody ever called him ugly.

Semiapies: I'm really not sure of the Willow example. She certainly should have gotten more attention for her looks, but she was always described as a nerdy social outcast in high school, not ugly.

Gus: Changed it to "plain", which (early) Willow is and Allyson Hannigan has to play. It fits.

Fly: Quickly corrected the Simpsons episode title - it's Pygmoelion, not Pygmalion, as Moe was getting plastic surgery in the episode.

Seth: Actualy it was Pygmoelian
Licky Lindsay: particularly with female characters, I don't know that they're supposed to be "unattractive" so much as comically unable to find a good man. Think about all the female sitcom characters who go from one loser (possibly Cool Loser) to another. These women aren't ugly (not even supposed to be ugly in the context of the show), or even Hollywood Dateless, just cursed to date bozos. Maybe this is a whole separate trope?

Seth: That sounds related to Ugly Guy, Hot Wife

Ruthie A: I find this trope even carries over to books for me. Even when a character is described as plain or less than pretty, I tend to get a Hollywood Homely mental image of them. I guess this is just one of those tropes that's so ever present that it just gets ingrained in your mind.
Vampire Buddha: Should Willow from Buffy really be here? I always thought she was supposed to be a nerd who also happened to be hot, but happened to wear plain clothes and have a rather meek personality. Buffy certainly thought she was sexy in that episode where they turned into their Hallowe'en costumes.

Sci Vo: I agree. Early hacker!Willow is a perfect example of Hollywood Nerd, not of Hollywood Homely.
As a useless aside, "homely" actually means attractive in Britain. Not that any of us are confused by the title - indeed, those of us who learn from TV probably only know the American definition.

Jordan: I don't want to do a "justifying edit", but my impression of Betty in Ugly Betty from the few episodes I've seen is that she is supposed to be Hollywood Homely- everyone around her is so shallow that they consider her ugly, but she is pretty by any normal standard.
Guy Smiley: Completely off-topic, but can someone find me the David Spade monologue mentioned?

Grimace: Wanted to see it myself - thankfully, I noticed Comedy Central has begun posting practically all its clips online now. It's called There I Said It: Ugly Betty. If that link doesn't work for some reasons, just go to their site ( and search for "Ugly Betty", that'll get you sorted.
KJMackley: I divided the page into media groups. One unique thing I did was specifically note the Subversions and Lampshades made, since I think those are much rarer then the straight examples. I also cut this because it wasn't really an example, just a troper tale.
  • This troper, for lack of a concise and accurate term, once referred to a Hollywood Homely character in a movie he was describing as "the ugly friend," until the need of the listeners for clarification on the use of the term "ugly friend" forced him to clarify that she wasn't specifically ugly so much as she could have been about forty and was about as attractive as my mom, who isn't hot by any stretch of the imagination, but isn't actually ugly either.

Prfnoff: Sorry, not an example of this trope. Also, you misspelled "millennium."
  • The Millenium Falcon. To anyone from this planet, the Millenium Falcon is a thing of unparalleled beauty and power, the wish-fulfillment fantasy of several generations of mainly male fans who dream of owning their own go-anywhere, smuggle-anything, shoot-anyone, honest-to-goodness STARSHIP. But to pretty much everyone in the Star Wars universe, it's a heap of junk worthy only of derision. The implication seems to be that it's the in-universe equivalent of a twenty-year-old Reliant Robin.

Sonof Roj Blake: Fair enough on the spelling. But how is this not an example of the trope? Trope is: we're TOLD she's ugly, but we can SEE she's beautiful. Well, we're TOLD the Falcon is a heap of junk, repeatedly, and yet to me and pretty much anyone I know it looks GREAT. If that's not this trope, what is it?

Grimace: She. Is. A. Space. Ship.

Seed: It's not an example of this trope because you have no way of knowing what looks like a good ship in the Star Wars universe and what looks like a piece of junk. If every character in a world with starships thinks a particular star ship looks junky, you really can't argue with them, having never seen a starship in real life yourself.

JurassicMosquito: No. It's not an example of this trope because this trope is not about objects. It wouldn't matter if you could dredge up 50,000 examples of gorgeous ships being called ugly, they still wouldn't fit this trope, because this trope covers only humans. Period, fin, end of story.

Cat22: Just wondering if anyone agrees with me here. The examples of books that describe a character as "plain", while the movie adaptation makes them gorgeous is Adaptational Attractiveness... not Hollywood Homely.

For instance, while Scarlett o'Hara was not supposed to be beautiful in the book Gone with the Wind, in the movie that wasn't mentioned. We're never told that we're supposed to believe Vivien Leigh is "plain". That's just a plain old Adaptational Attractiveness. The adaptation made the character prettier than they're supposed to be.

Meanwhile, in the book of Little Women, Jo describes herself as awkward and ugly. In the movie, Winona Ryder still uses this line, and expects us to believe it, even though it obviously doesn't apply to her. That is Hollywood Homely. Does anyone else follow me? Or am I being too picky?

Passer-By: Asides from the endless "the morals of Hollywood is destroying teen self-esteem" I've seen elsewhere (thank God not on this page), do we have instances where their "ugliness" is pointed out by other characters as not being actually ugly?

KJMackley: I removed this part of the Firefly example because I don't recall River being stated as supposedly "homely." I left in the example of Kaylee only because it was a deliberate attempt to show a supposedly "less than perfect" girl as being attractive.
  • Deliberately used in Firefly with River, played by the adorably beautiful Summer Glau. The character tends to wear dark clothing and minimal makeup, and has long, frazzled hair to deliberately invoke Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette and The Ophelia. The overall effect, when compared with other, more glamorously beautiful female characters like Inara, Zoe, and Kaylee, makes River both a little bit more plain and childish, which is the whole point: she's supposed to be cute, but not overtly sexualized. Of course, that last bit isn't helped by the fact that she's one of the most heavily fetishized characters on the show.