Kelly Clarkson at the Grammys
I've been getting a lot of love ever since I promised to give Natalie a chance. And I admit, Traylor Howard was pretty funny tonight, driving Monk insane (instead of the other way around) with her constant "ka-chings" as they furiously searched for a stolen diamond in the hopes of winning a $1 million reward. The opening heist sequence was totally lifted from The Pink Panther movies, with the robber emerging from a rolltop desk sporting a black jumpsuit and a Michael Myers-like mask from Halloween. As usual, the mystery was pretty easy to solve, and the bad guy (in this case, gal) was simple to spot. So I ignored the plot and sat back to enjoy the punch lines, like the excuse Tyler Mane's (yay, Sabretooth!) bounty hunter used when chastised for parking in a handicapped spot: "That's OK. I'm psychotic." Quirky DJ Qualls was also on hand as one of Monk's other competitors, and, of course, he was a technology geek (with looks like his, can he play anything else?). The episode had some pretty hip trappings (well, for Monk anyway), including heist music that sounded like a Muzak rendition of a Chemical Brothers' track, and a reference to crystal meth (do the old folks who watch this show even know what that is? And before you start sending in nasty e-mails saying I'm ageist, I'll have you know that I'm a proud old fogey who was raised on a steady diet of Murder, She Wrote and Matlock). In the end, Monk didn't get the money — it went to the cleaning lady. But wouldn't it have been funnier if Sharona had suddenly shown up and won it instead? Oops, sorry, Natalie!