Say, did you catch "The One That's A Popular Episode with Viewers?" Repeats haven't been this hyped since networks acquired the Zapruder film.
"Just once I would like to go somewhere and have everyone stay alive," sighs Eliza Dukshu's habitually future-shocked heroine, not realizing that if her wish came, ahem, true, she wouldn't have a show to sigh in. That said, in the context of that curious genre known as the "Prevent-a-Tragedy-Before-It-Happens Series," Tru beats the hell out of Early Edition and is nearly as fun as Seven Days. I had a vision I would enjoy the vision of Tru entering the Miss Fresh Face Pageant. Happily, my vision was right. The Actress Formerly Known As Faith the Vampire Slayer made a believer out of my eyes when she sauntered down the runway and seductively fluffed her tresses in front of her brother and his fellow judges. The reason she entered was to prevent the untimely demise of gentle Jackie, a squeaky blond girl who dropped dead after applying makeup remover spiked with toxins. Tru's pal Davis (Zack Galifianakis), meanwhile, was tricked into giving a sexy pesky reporter access to the morgue. "Why is it that Tru always shows up at crime scenes?" she demands like a brunette, paranormally obsessed Ann Coulter. Oh, and that previous psychic Davis worked with? Tru's mom. At first, I thought Tru would've seen that coming... until I realized the show was about her seeing goners going.
Will & Grace
It opened with Megan Mullally's yarpy Karen waddling across the screen like a pig in a shooting gallery to the kind of canned cheers a sitcom reserves for its most self-consciously obnoxious characters. (FYI: "Yarpy" is the adjective form of "yarp," a word I invented to describe a doglike squeal that's more than a "yip" but not quite a "bark." Just like Karen's voice.) She wants Will to drive her around town because she doesn't have a license. I hoped Will would drive this sub-AbFab hag into the Hudson after she delivered the "Somebody has to be the designated drinker!" punch-line. Instead, the resident Gay Straight Man offered to give her driving lessons. Naturally, the flozo (floozy + bozo = flozo) ended up getting a speeding ticket. Flashing her cleavage to the cop, Karen yarped, "Meet license and registration!" Grasping the remote, I said, "Meet change and the channel." But before I put finger to button, I witnessed the flatline of the other plotline. Jack and Grace went to the movies because it turns out they have much in common, like not voting. "What's the point of stepping into a booth without getting fondled?" quips Jack as part of the show's commitment to reinforcing gay stereotypes. Then... uh-oh! Jack's boyfriend Stuart (Dave Foley) is there with another guy! Cue Sean Hayes to pretend to have Jack's fit by leaping around the movie theater with theoretically hilarious consequences. He's wiped off the screen by Foley, who showed as part of the Kids in the Hall troupe that gay characters did not have to be sex-obsessed or humiliated to be funny. Kudos to Debra Messing for providing the episode's sole chuckle when Grace interrupted her off-key singing to answer cell phone calls from neighbors requesting she cease her off-key singing.
In an audition tape for this plastic surgery variation of Queen for a Day, Sarah, a breast cancer survivor, bares the left side of her chest where her breast used to be. "I'd rather be a whole woman than a half-woman." Leave it to ABC, the home of '70s jiggle television, to reduce a serious health issue to the level of a carnival midway. God bless Sarah, because she damn well deserved the treatment she received, but the idea of her having to audition to receive a breast implant says more about the state of the American health care system than one wants to hear. ABC might as well quit rationalizing the show as anything other than exploitation and give the voyeurs what they really want a reality competition for people in need of plastic surgery. Each week, contestants vie to become "America's Patient" by competing in events such as "Humoring a Patronizing Physician," "Australian Rules Arena Football" and "Willie Nelson Songs." A panel of judges say, former surgeon general C. Everett Koop, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman star Jane Seymour and, as the resident nasty, Mail Call's R. Lee Ermey will eliminate one of the "waiting list" each episode. Once the list is down to two, however, the winner will determined by a select group of preteen girls during a slumber party.
"We need heart as well as sales," Donald Trump tells his would-be executives. Trump... heart? I didn't get it either, but then, I stopped being interested in sales when I quit waiting tables at Bennigan's. This week was a clip show, which is the TV equivalent of a platoon resting and regrouping during a 20-mile hike. Highlights: the Heidi-Omarosa War, which reached a fever pitch when Heidi excoriated Omarosa for wanting to take a two-hour lunch to deal with the side effects of a concussion she suffered from plaster flakes; Omarosa's weepy attempt to creep into Trump's boardroom before she was called in to be canned; Heidi carrying on despite the stress of her mother's colon cancer; big mouth Tammy's famous last words: "The hardest thing for people to realize is they have shortcomings." Best of all was the look on Sam's face when he got the ax. It reminded me of the psychotic glare of Vincent D'Onofrio's Pyle in Full Metal Jacket. Trump wasn't fazed though. "Everyone thought Sam looked scary when I fired him, but he's just passionate about his job." (So was G. Gordon Liddy.) You don't suppose this is how Donald broke up with his wives, do you? "Ivana you're fired!"
"Nooooooo!!!" The overblown mayhem of last night's repeat of the Thanksgiving episode was as subtle as Irwin Allen. Or Chuck Jones. When Romano looked up at the chopper plummeting towards him, I had this image of a forlorn Paul McCrane crouched beneath a tiny umbrella, holding up a sign that reads "Yipe!" I'm surprised he didn't exit the series by crawling out from the wreckage with his body all folded up like an accordion. McCrane deserved better than to be turned into a live action Wile E. Coyote, especially since his one-dimensional character was so poorly developed the writers had to cut off his arm to give him depth. (Was the prosthetic from ACME?) Alas, depth is a luxury this once vigorous drama can no longer count on. It's jumped the shark so many times that by now even the shark is bored. Rebecca Peterson is on vacation. Today's column was written by G.J. Donnelly.