Everybody Hates Chris
Yeah, I think that one white kid likes him, but that's about it. And look at him now: Chris Rock, funniest person in America. Chris starts off seeming like a cool kid, unless those posters on his wall are his brother's  then I hate him. Anyway, I'm feeling all the shout-outs to the '80s (the good '80s). Let's just say the soundtrack for this pilot probably cost more than the narrator. But let's not get all emotional; I did laugh, and we have much to discuss....

I never laughed out loud, though, and it's not because I was annoyed about the title. And certainly not because I read that the show received a seal of approval from some Family Friendly Programming Forum. In other words, it was clean. Real clean. But funny and real. I'm afraid of Terry Crews' Papa Rock, but "Unplug that clock you can't tell time when you sleep" is funny forever. I hate to love Tichina Arnold's Mama Rock, even with her Most Valuable Quote: "I will slap the caps off your knees." I feel for Chris (Tyler James Williams), who had better learn to be funny at school. And how 'bout them racial walls, people? Chris is indeed giving us what we need more of: laughter about everything. For a family-friendly seal, they are really pushing it. About time. We need to laugh, y'all, and quit hating. Sorry. What I mean is, see, well, who honestly hasn't ever been "outblacked"? Man, that was funny. I sure hope most of these Chris stories are true.   Darren Sirkin

The Apprentice
So here's the folly of scheduling two, count 'em, two Apprentices on your fall lineup, NBC. You're absolutely forcing us to realize how much better at this the Martha is than the Donald. Here's the breakdown after just one week. Martha's comfortable in front of the cameras; Trump still doesn't understand the concept of the microphone. (Dude, stop yelling. We can hear you.) Martha engages her teams in a challenging task well-suited to her multimedia empire; Trump conjures up an excuse to get the ladies into spandex pants so they can sell kickboxing classes on the street. Martha composes a thoughtful letter to her dismissee; Trump gives a wink-wink, nudge-nudge to George and Carolyn and then promptly hops in his chopper for a nighttime round of 18 holes on his solid-gold golf course. Or at least, that's what I'm convinced happens just as soon as the cameras stop rolling. Don't you see what's going on here, Donald? Fight for me. Martha's trying to steal my heart.

We're back to men versus women this season the ladies have dubbed themselves "Capital Edge," while the fellas are "Team Excel" (although I'm pretty sure they're not formally affiliated with Microsoft yet). The same-sex setup backfired big time for manic, mouthy scapegoat Melissa. You know what's not a good idea? Telling Carolyn (a woman, last time I checked) that you can't work with women because they're always intimidated by your beauty. Nice try, Pink Slip Omarosa called; she said you just don't have the kind of crazy it takes to make it in this Boardroom. Meanwhile, project manager Kristi dodged a bullet with a skillful combination of moxie and not-sucking-as-much-as-the-other-guy. "You should not be proud of yourself, because you did not do well," the Donald told her, which is apparently CEO-speak for "wipe that smirk off your face, Businesswoman Barbie, and bring it next week." She'd better, too, because next week? Lamborghinis. That's all I'm sayin'.  Chana Shwadlenak

ER
Remember when there was a new Darren on Bewitched? How about when Chris on The Partridge Family changed? Then there was a new Steven on Dynasty and, of course, a new Becky on Roseanne (and then back to the old). Now we have a new Alex on ER. Alex, just to remind you, is Samantha's diabetic son, and he's now being played by Dominic Janes. Maybe Oliver Davis had to do full-time work on Rodney? Anyway, I noticed it right away, even though at first they were using clever camera work so he was only seen from far away. I laughed when the detective told Sam (after Alex's photo was distributed): "Nobody recognized your son." Of course they didn't; he's being played by someone else. Glad for Sam's sake that she finally found him and that he's OK. But her journey getting to the missing Alex included a scene that brought back nasty memories for me. I must admit that I once fell asleep at the wheel not a pretty time in my history. I didn't hit an antelope like Sam when I did it though I rear-ended a truck and luckily no one was hurt. Not once have I come close to a repeat performance. But back to Sam. Awesome work by Linda Cardellini, as always. And what was with Abby thinking she was Super Doctor? Glad Pratt handed her the clue phone and reminded her she's a resident now. I want more Maura Tierney in future episodes, please.

Did I miss Noah Wyle? Yes, but not horribly, since they slowly downplayed his importance last season and gave equal time to the rest of the ensemble, like the soon-to-depart-yet-again Sherry Stringfield and the increasingly funny Parminder Nagra as Neela (so glad she told that new Bad-luck Schleprock intern Teddy to go home). Speaking of funny nice to see Sara Gilbert back as Darlene, I mean Jane, before she spends most of her time playing Darlene, I mean Mitchee, on Twins. Next week Danny Glover returns and in future weeks we get Kristen Johnson and John Leguizamo, plus John Stamos for a couple of shows. Bring 'em on  the more the merrier in the ER!   Dave Anderson

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