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It hurts to watch UPN's 'Cuts'

She wants Cuts to be a day spa. He wants Cuts to be a sports bar. And viewers want ''Cuts" to be funny.

Everyone will need to compromise.

She -- Tiffany, played by the tightly wound Shannon Elizabeth -- will have to settle for the pungent scent of hot dogs amid the salon's wafts of aromatherapy. He -- Kevin, played by screamer Marques Houston -- will have to accept the presence of facial machines beside his beloved flat-screen TVs. And we -- viewers looking for a few laughs -- will have to put on our ear plugs and close our eyes to sit through UPN's new sitcom, which premieres tonight at 8:30 on Ch. 38.

A spinoff of ''One on One," ''Cuts" is set in Kevin's family barbershop, Cuts, which is now owned by Tiffany's rich father (Corbin Bernsen). Basically, the show is a series of arguments between opposites Tiffany and Kevin, as they try to make over the store in their own respective images.

The spats are shrill as can be, and based entirely on gender cliches -- TV's dreaded ''battle of the sexes." She wants pretty colors, he wants good beer. And there's plenty of racial stereotyping thrown into the mix, since she is white and he is black and this is UPN.

It's all too much, and not enough. ''Cuts" is a comedy only a laugh track could love.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com.The crate escape

on 'ATWT'

All My Children: Zach tried to convince Maria that Edmund paid Bobby to lie, claiming Zach shot Ryan. Jonathan blamed Bianca after Maggie ended her relationship with him.

As the World Turns: Rafi was upset when his sister, Celia, hid in a crate of oranges in order to get to America. In order to get Cabot back from James, Rosanna planned to make everyone think she (Rosanna) had hypnotized Emily in order to take the blame from Barbara.

The Bold and the Beautiful: Nick was not happy to learn Massimo made Deacon start drinking again. Amber arranged for Bridget, and then Ridge, to fall into an old mineshaft that Amber rigged with a camera to capture Ridge and Bridget kissing.

Days of Our Lives: Chloe refused to meet the man who arranged for a young girl, Clara, to have reconstructive surgery when she learned that man was Brady.

General Hospital: Alan accused Courtney of killing AJ, who had demanded half of Courtney's fortune in return for signing divorce papers. Brook Lynn and Diego vowed to see each other even though their parents want them nowhere near each other.

Guiding Light: Jeffrey had Alan arrested after he warned Jeffrey to make sure Harley was found guilty of murdering Phillip. Harley worried Gus thinks she killed Phillip. Jonathan gave Cassie the videotape that proved they didn't sleep together the night he drugged her.

One Life to Live: Everyone was stunned when ''Cris" confessed he is an imposter, and that he really has no memory of who he really is. Cris (whoever he is) was sentenced to life in prison for killing Tico (El Tiburon).

Passions: Julian, who knows Whitney isn't carrying Fox's child, consoled an unwitting Fox, who said he would be devastated if Whitney's baby wasn't his. Beth decided she has to kill Sheridan.

The Young and the Restless: Both Brittany and Bobby had mixed feelings after learning she is pregnant. Michael was surprised when Mac was able to talk Kevin into seeing a shrink.

UNITED FEATURE SYNDICATE INC.

On Boston.com

12:30 p.m.: The Globe's Tina Sutton chats about super-size watches and the sometimes sexy, sometimes demure look of lace.

Globe on NECN

Here's what's happening on ''Around the Globe" today on NECN:

9:30 a.m.: ''Talk of New England" Deputy editorial page editor Robert Turner discusses Bush's proposed 2006 budget.

12:30 p.m.: ''Globe at Home" Researcher Kathleen Hennrikus picks her favorite books from the shelves to share.

4 p.m.: ''Around the Globe"

6:30 p.m.: ''New England Business Day"

8 p.m.: ''NewsNight"

Schedule is subject to change.

Radio highlights

9 a.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Mozart's Piano concerto No. 21; Chopin's Variations on Mozart theme, Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez.

7 p.m. WUMB-FM (91.9) -- ''American Routes." Featuring Randy Newman, Rev. Al Green, Joan Baez.

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