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'Ugly Betty': Time to close down this business?

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Now in its fourth season, with declining ratings, Ugly Betty has become a pretty little bauble that should probably be wrapped up and put away. America Ferrera’s Betty has lost much of her original charm. It was inevitable: The character started out a brainy, ungainly girl, so it was only a matter of time before her intelligence and diligent work ethic, and the passing of time, made her a full-grown woman superior to just about everyone in the series except Vanessa Williams’ Wilhelmina.

Last night’s new episode, whose biggest laugh-grabber subplot was having Marc become Betty’s assistant (let’s try to forget about “sexy Lexi”), was typical of the tired problems the series is having these days. The camp humor has become labored (“Shee-diculous!”), and the attempts to keep things timely fall flat. The suggestion of a vampire on the cover of Mode because vamps are “in”? How 2007…

Ferrera runs through her lines so efficiently and rapidly, it’s beginning to look as though she knows she’s too mature for this stuff and just wants to clock out and go home. Eric Mabius’ Daniel seems lumpy and downright morose. The only sparks continue to emanate from Vanessa Williams: She’s somehow managed to keep her character’s waspish self-regard engaging and smart.

It was fun while it lasted… which was about mid-way through the second season. Ugly Betty, with its bright color scheme and rapid-fire yelping, lasted a lot longer than the similarly-hued and -paced Pushing DaisiesBetty benefitted from the underdog-sympathy viewers felt for its title character.

But I’d bet that even most of its diehard fans are ready to have Betty give her notice and move on.

Agree? Disagree?

(Follow me on Twitter.)