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by Dean Robbins & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he Latina heroine of the ABC comedy Ugly Betty (Thursdays, 8 pm) is supposed to be ugly. If the crude title didn't give it away, then you only need look at her huge braces or her hideous wardrobe. Still not clear enough? Then watch Betty (America Ferrera) go to work for a fashion magazine where the beautiful people spend all day sneering at her. "Stop it, I'm gagging!" one of them says as Betty comes around the corner.


OK, we get it: Betty is ugly. But once this concept has been shoved down our throats, where's the humor? The series itself treats Betty as cruelly as her coworkers do. We're supposed to laugh as they try to humiliate her into quitting, because what's more funny than watching a woman ridiculed for her looks?


That's right: Anything.


Ugly Betty is even sicker than that. After 50 minutes of gleefully debasing its heroine, the pilot turns around and tries to make us feel sorry for her in a cloyingly sentimental ending.


Stop it, I'm gagging!

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