Christmas in Rockefeller Center
OK, I love Christmas. In that carols-from-Thanksgiving-until-January sort of way. So this should have been nirvana, with the big tree and the ho, ho, hos and all. But there was no Yuletide glee! Ashanti coos for Santa to "bring me something nice," which seems dirty, and everyone is wearing animal pelts! Co-host Ann Curry's snug white mink must be the latest from the Lara Croft tundra collection. Jessica Simpson is a rhapsody in rabbit and lip-gloss. Even American Idol Ruben Studdard is working a shearling bomber. It was a PETA nightmare set to music. Which, by the by, seriously lacked a holiday slant. That is, until my girl Kelly Clarkson saved the day and showed us how "O, Holy Night" is done. As my TV Guide-literate roomie bellowed from the kitchen, "Give her a 'Cheer.' The rest sucked."
The Simple Life
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are the most watchable pair this side of Pamela Anderson. Dim, privileged and in need of a couple of burgers, these two empty fashion plates prove money will never replace smarts. For their first jobs (not counting Nicole's hazy mention of a figure-skating gig and Paris' fledgling Internet career), I'm surprised they lasted six hours as milkmaids. What didn't surprise me was that they couldn't figure out they were only paid for six hours, instead of the nine they were supposed to work. Math is hard, girls. I know.
Trista and Ryan's Wedding
Ain't love grand? Or maybe it's a million. Well, whatever ABC is paying for this reality lovefest, it ain't enough, 'cause these people are priceless! Part two of the three-week trip to the altar sends the couple and their peeps to St. Martin for a big party weekend, where we get one of the sweetest dad-daughter exchanges ever seen on TV. Unfortunately, it's between Trista's dad and her little sister, but that's OK. The bride-to-be is busy downing bubbly like she's storing up for 28 days at Betty Ford, while Ryan's main six pack is his abs, which actually look painful. Thankfully, the bachelor-bachelorette bashes are drama central, with Ryan fleeing two strippers-from-hell, a tipsy Trista crying in the loo and groomsman Ben being a big old pill. Buddy, you must chill. I've been that guy at a buddy's wedding. It's not pretty. No matter how good your toast is.
Speaking of boozy drama, you gotta love Ryan on Marissa's holiday meltdown and near-arrest. "Drinking, crying, cops... it must be Christmas." The poor Chino urchin. He's making such strides in irony and suburban style. Notice the wife-beater is around less and less? However, this hour belongs, hands down (or where we can see them, please), to Summer in the Wonder Woman costume. As Seth would say, it was a Chrismukkah miracle. Oh, and writers, don't even think of putting Coop with the dork from her therapist's office. I don't have the time to help my two office managers deal with that.
One Life to Live
Bless you, SoapNet! I missed yesterday's dose of Llanview lunacy and I may have had to swallow poison if I didn't get to see Blair figure out that Walker was really Todd, or the primo scenes between Viki and Dorian in the cave. Because, you know, my life is so lame, I don't know anyone who's hiding a secret identity or trapped in a cavern with a sworn enemy. Anymore, that is. I think my switched-at-birth evil twin scared them all away.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
What a great idea. Help a needy family, hire a few campy decorators and use more montages than a Baywatch marathon. I expected Trading Spaces with a bigger budget and less finesse. What I ended up with was a face soaked with tears and the hope that every makeover show goes and finds people who really deserve to have Ty Pennington's crew redo their world. The look on that little girl's face when she saw her massive dollhouse bedroom more than made up for interior fop Michael Moloney's sad attempt to channel Queer Eye's Thom, only to come off as a third-rate Bobby Trendy.
Horatio Hornblower: Duty
How is Ioan Gruffudd not a huge star? He is so good, as is this lush boat-soap that continues the tale of the Royal Navy officer with the porn-tastic name. Not only that, his ship's name is the Hotspur! You half-expect Jenna Jameson to pop up as a saucy ale wench. Being a passenger on the European history short bus, some of this yarn about Napoleon and a missing ship sailed right over my head, but the kicking action bits and Horatio's prickly new married life made for one hell of a ride.