Now that hip-hop is about as commercial as Coke and Pepsi, it's no great shock that a gorgeous hip-hop star would get her own sitcom.

What's shocking is that the show "Eve," starring superstar Eve, is not shocking - nor even all about someone named Eve.

Eve's character's name is Shelly, actually.

Starting tonight on UPN, the sitcom is based on the exploits of a beautiful young woman who opens up a fashion design business/retail store with two of her best friends in Miami. Sort of like a combination of a younger "Designing Women," an integrated "Friends" and a tropical "Sex and the City" - but with bad writers.

Shelly's buddies/business partners, Rita (Ali Landry), an unmarried, stick-thin former model, and Janie (Natalie Desselle-Reid), a happily married chubbette, are not only in business with Shelly, but also in life with her, so to speak.

Where Shelly - a dead ringer for Whitney Houston - goes, they all go.

Bringing up the rear are the men: J.T. (Jason George), the single, handsome guy (who appeared with Eve in "Barber Shop"); Nick (Brian Hooks), the single, funny guy; and Donovan (Sean Maguire and a dead ringer for Hugh Grant) who plays the handsome, single, white guy who owns a hot, local club.

If the show lasts, clearly there will be all kinds of opportunities for dating and mating - à la "Friends" - to play around with.

What's great about the show are: 1) the fact that it is totally racially integrated, unlike most shows on the tube, and 2) the clothes.

While the fashion isn't up to "Sex and the City" standards, the women are, after all, working in Miami, where haute couture is defined by as little as legally possible with beading.

While that might not seem like much (no pun intended), fashion can help make a show a hit and extensive racial integration is actually still sort of ground breaking, incredible as that may seem in 2003.

In "Eve," the whites and blacks all have important parts and there isn't, for once, a whole lot of fall-back racial humor.

In tonight's episode, Eve, meets J.T. at Donovan's club, Z Lounge, and they plan a date. Unfortunately, she takes him to his first- ever viewing of "Casablanca" (search) at a local movie theater and he makes the fatal mistake of breaking down in tears.

Truth is, most women hate to see a man cry and act all sensitive - despite the millions of dollars made with ridiculous, sissy-encouraging advice from guys like John Gray and his book, "Women are from Mars, Men are From Venus."

When they all go to the wedding of a mutual friend (well, not exactly a mutual friends since Shelly has made the wedding dress of the fatso bride and J.T. was the groom's college roommate), he breaks down again, which then ends in maybe the most ridiculous speech in recent sitcom history.

The actors are all talented and, even if gorgeous Eve is not a comic genius, they do deserve better writing than this.

Hell, my uncle with the amateur Italian theater company in Bensonhurst had better writing than this.