Everybody Loves Raymond
Nobody died. Or announced a pregnancy. Or a divorce. Or any other sort of life-changing event that typifies so many long-running series' contrived grand finales. What happened in Everybody Loves Raymond's sweet and touching and very funny final episode was a typically small but powerfully resonant moment — a medical scare for Ray — triggering reactions that veered from heart-wrenching emotion to rollicking comedy with breathtaking agility and impact.

The setup: Ray goes into the hospital to have his adenoids out. Finally! (Frank figures they're close to those other 'oids on his backside.) Everyone mocks neurotic Ray for being such a big baby over such minor surgery — everyone but smothering Marie, who thinks breathing in the fumes from her minestrone can cure all ills (including Debra's cooking). But at the hospital, when a nurse comes into the waiting room to tell Debra that Ray is having trouble waking up from anesthesia, the instant panic is real and scary. Debra and Robert freak. (Marie, thankfully, is in the ladies' room at the time.) But once it's clear it was a false alarm, Debra calculates it's best that "nobody tells Ray." Frank adds, "Or his mother."

Still, the family is shaken to the core. Debra, in bed with Ray, gets choked up talking about her daily routine. Frank, in bed with Marie, is unusually reflective and thoughtful — and naturally can't keep the secret. Frantic Marie rushes to her boy's bedside, crawling over Debra to pummel an aghast Ray with kisses. "I knew one day this would happen," Debra sighs. So did we all, but that doesn't make it any prettier.

And so we leave the Barones the next morning, three generations crowded around a breakfast table — rambunctious, fractious, full of life and love, waiting for chocolate-chip pancakes, courtesy of Marie (who once again has taken charge of Debra's kitchen). As the camera pulls back for the final fade, it reminded me of the last shot in Moonstruck, another grand comic fable about an unforgettable Italian family. I never wanted that movie to end. I never wanted this series to end.

But all good things must, though rarely with as much class and confident grace as Everybody Loves Raymond. Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Doris Roberts, Peter Boyle, Brad Garrett. Man, it just doesn't get any better than that. — Matt Roush

The Bachelor: The Final Rose Live
Ugh. After three hours of foreplay, Charlie O'Connell finally picked his next ex-girlfriend. And we got to watch. Some of you even got to look away. Not me. So, for those of you who couldn't stomach the journey, I offer you a predigested tour through the night I will never get back. Thanks a lot, ABC.
8:01: Ahh, the look, the feel of Chris Harrison, live from Hollywood.
8:18: Krisily meets the O'Connells, who love her. Probably since she doesn't mention Mom's Flintstoney bone necklace. Or ask for Jerry.
8:19: Chuck's buds prove to be the whitest whiteys on Earth by declaring that the salon coordinator is "so down," while pounding lite beer.
8:30: Sarah B. shows up in Montauk to irk Chuck's best pal, who calls her "a bit controlling." Maybe, but his "whips and chains" comment is way off. She's clearly of the feathers-and-duct-tape scene.
8:32: Is it me, or does Sarah seem a little drunk-faced at dinner? And is that a new bone necklace Mama O'Connell's sporting? Pretty.
8:37: It's a Bachelor on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown! Charlie tears up thinking about how confused he is. I know, let's give him two months to date the ladies off-camera. They'll love that!
8:38: Or maybe not. "I think it's kind of f----d up," grumbles Sarah. Hmm...
8:50: The gals head back to NYC for their last dates with Charlie, who "kicks it on the couch" with Krisily before facing Sarah's wrath. Which should tell him something... other than that "kicking it on the couch" is a sucky idea for a date.
9:00: Kissing montage! Wow, this guy got some major play.
9:02 We're back live with Chris and the ladies are off in their dressing rooms. "I'm freaking out," says Sarah, looking anything but freaked. Must still be loaded from dinner with the O'Connells. Krisily, however, is bangin'. So obviously, she's doomed.
9:03: Hey, it's Byron and Mary from the last Bachelor in the audience. How convenient. And they're planning a 2006 wedding. Good thing ABC had some hits this year, 'cause you know that's gonna cost 'em.
9:22: OK, enough with the Mexican date footage. Bring out the boy!
9:24: It's about damn time. Charlie finally comes out to banter with Chris about turning 30 and hating the show right now. Word.
9:30: Clips of Charlie, Krisily and Sarah watching themselves on the show? This thing has more filler than a crab cake from the TV Guide cafeteria. Oh, sorry. "On-site restaurant." Did Krisily's mother just call Kimberley a slut?
9:36: The ladies' families exchange pleasantries about one another's "beautiful girl." Which, in reality-TV speak means "your skank ho is going down!" And there's Krisily's nana, working the C.Z. like a pro. Bless her bedazzled heart.
10:06 Dancing with the Stars? Really?
10:24 I called it. Krisily just got the boot. Still, she's taking it well. Do I smell the next Bachelorette? Or is that Chuckles' instant regret?
10:48 Wait, you're kidding me, right? "I will be the greatest boyfriend ever"? This Sarah chick has been hanging around for two months, for a boyfriend?! Cripes, I could have set the ninny up with my roommate John and spared us all the last two months of Mondays. That's it, O'Connell. Just like your 15 minutes, we are so over. — Damian J. Holbrook

24
OK, this is beyond ridiculous. Jack had Marwan. The dude was wounded, hand-cuffed and in CTU custody. Yet he still managed to get away? For the third time? Maybe they should call this show Lost instead? (Oh, right...) All so that Richard Heller could be implicated for doing the nasty with a guy who was a Marwan associate? That's hardly the juicy stuff I was hoping for. (It would've been so much cooler if the son of the secretary of defense was a terrorist. Stranger things have happened.) Meanwhile, there's a missile with a nuclear warhead in the air, people, and the Cabinet was bickering over Palmer's tactical support? Yawn. Could that story line have moved any slower? (Though I did crack up when the speaker of the house made a not-so subtle ref to Dennis Haysbert's gig for Allstate Insurance. "It comforts me to know he's in good hands," he said of the Logan/Palmer alliance. Good hands. Get it?) Why didn't Logan want the public to know that a nuclear warhead is coming their way? Cause he wanted to see what Jack would come up with first. Well, how's this: CTU can't seem to track the missile. Marwan got away. Their only lead to Marwan and the missile has captured Tony minutes after Michelle had professed her undying love and had agreed to leave CTU to live happily ever after. Oh, and have I mentioned that they still haven't tracked the missile, which will be landing in about two hours? Which, coincidentally, is the length of next week's season finale. See y'all then. — Robin Honig

(Get the scoop on the 24 finale with the TV Guide Channel's InFANity: 24 special, airing May 22 at 8 pm ET.)

Hercules Right off the bat I can that see both versions I grew up with — the Marvel Comics Herc, who sported a '70s-era costume (with a big "H" on his belt) while hanging out with Captain America and Giant Man and that ambiguously gay one from my elementary-school years — don't apply here. And... oh, good god (no pun intended) — they get right into it, don't they? Alcmene slits Tiresias' eyes and eyelids, blinding him. Then Antaeus rapes Alcmene, and she has twins and visits the harpies and... I can't keep up here. But I'm gonna be thinking of that eye-slicing for way too long, especially next time I get an eyelash stuck in mine.

"He has lifted that horse every day since he was a colt. They have grown bigger and stronger together," Herc's centaur pal Chiron says of the lad's growing strength. I can see how that works for Hercules. But how's the horse getting a workout by lazing across his shoulders like some sleepy Gunther Gebel-Williams castoff? "How can you love what you do not know? To hunger for my beauty is not love," Megara later tells Herc. (Yeah, I tried to tell my friend John that after he bought a Farrah Fawcett poster in seventh grade, but he didn't buy it, either.) But on to Herc's tasks. First he slays the harpies and turns the dark swamp back into a paradise. (Wouldn't it be nifty if we had him around to do the same for all the Superfund sites?) Then, what sucks more, being conned into making out with a lion, or finding out your arrows just bounce off it? Oh, it's dead. Never mind then.

Here's Tiresias to warn Eurystheus not to let his daughter marry or her husband will kill her father. And what's his reward? Spite. Yup — leaders dissing the informed. I never realized that tradition went back so far. But of course, it works out for our hero in the end, as poor Hillus has to watch Grandma take a header off a cliff before all hell breaks loose. Hercules shoots the soldier holding Hillus, Hillus takes Eurystheus down with a knife throw and Eurystheus accidentally nails Megara in the back as he tries to take out his own little girl with an arrow. (Nice shooting there, bow boy.) "The union of our two children will heal all our ills," Herc tells a dying Megara after all her scheming comes to naught. "Not my ills," she says just before kicking. Yeah, well, good luck with those, hon. — Michael Peck

Everwood
I've got few words for Ephram: Too little, too late. You deserved being shunned by Amy Abbot for your actions over the past few weeks. I can see why he'd blow off graduation; those robes even made the normally cute Amy look horrible, so I can't imagine what they would have done to the pale, moody self-involved teen. But the way that he ditched Delia — who is probably the only person in Everwood who doesn't know about Madison's baby drama — by waiting until the very last minute to tell his adoring sister that he was skipping town. She has never betrayed or lied to him and has always worshipped him, and he treats her like dirt. I hope he learned something from his mom's inscription in the most clich&#233d graduation book ever! He should treasure this small token from his mom — Brenda Strong, who has been busy analyzing the whole of Wisteria Lane including the former Linda Abbott — and it is nice that she had a moment to come back and give her son a little bit of hope for the future, and hopefully smack some sense into him at the same time.

Even though I called attention to Bright's recent heftiness, it was nice that his own mother said he was even a big baby, but all that extra poundage helped out this week when he was able to easily lift his mom upstairs. Just wished the suddenly sensitive guy would have had more time to act on his feelings with Hannah so the cool pie-organizing chick could have dumped that snorty dork she's with. And speaking of award relationships, the whole Dr. Dimples-Nina restaurant story line was predictable and forced. (Bay, didn't you learn anything about how hard it was to run a restaurant on PO5?) I mean there is nothing cooking between these two. Hopefully oblivious Andy will step in and stir up the pot during the season finale. — Angel Cohn

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