Friends Please let the Joey spin-off be good because Matt LeBlanc has become a great comic actor. I was a Matthew Perry fanatic for many seasons, but Chandler's excessive sarcasm has taken its toll on me over the years. Does everything have to be ironic? Does cynicism have to pepper every observation? Maybe it's me getting older, but I now prefer Joey's gentle humor over Chandler's copious one-liners. Joey's stint on Pyramid last week and his hilarious attempts at speaking French tonight give me hope that Joey will do just fine on his own next season. He has gone from a dim-witted cad to a clueless but good-intentioned teddy bear, and it's been fun to watch his character evolve. That said, please tell me I'm not the only one who could give a hairy rat's you-know-what whether Ross and Rachel end up together. There are only, what, five new episodes of the series left and the season doesn't end until May, so quit wasting my precious time by having them debate the pros and cons of sympathy sex. After 10 years, you either know you're meant for each other or you move on. Twinkies have a shorter shelf life than this on-again, off-again relationship has. If I were Rachel, I'd cut my losses and pick the Twinkie.
Survivor: All-Stars Rob C. looks genuinely surprised when he's unanimously voted off the island during Tribal Council despite the alliance he had formed with Boston Rob. Meanwhile, viewers are genuinely surprised by Amber's utter lack of self-esteem when the waif cozies up to the aforementioned thug. Honey, there isn't enough Herbal Essence in the world to cleanse his slime from your skin. Sorry, Lex, you may be smart enough to realize that Richard has to go as soon as you get rice and don't have to depend on him for fish anymore, but I guarantee you'll go before Hatch does. And does anyone else see Bonnie Hunt playing Kathy in the movie version of this installment?
Will & Grace Tracey Ullman guest-stars as a quirky chef with a prosthetic finger teaching a cooking class attended by Will and his paired-off gay pals. Ullman is a talented comedian whose Emmy-winning comedy series on the fledgling Fox Network years ago gave birth to a myriad of memorable characters and launched The Simpsons. Usually irreverent in her depictions of idiosyncratic individuals, Ullman failed to amuse me with her performance here. The character was flat, relying on silly sight gags involving a fake finger and a hot pan and cruelly teasing Will about his single-student status. Not really stuff Emmy voters are looking for, I fear. As for Grace, the wardrobe department is still having some fun hiding her growing belly (tonight she was in a painter's jumpsuit), but who sands while still wearing pearls?
Extreme Makeover Tonight I lucked out, as three prospective makeover recipients are told that they must lose a significant amount of weight before it will be safe for them to have surgery. Motivated by this news and encouraged to succeed by each other, the trio sheds the pounds and the operations are scheduled for next week. Now I know that at least one of these subjects has real cosmetic concerns (bad teeth), but doesn't shedding 30 or more pounds count as a makeover already? Oh, wait. Next week Dr. Phil is supposed to give them strategies to continue to lose weight and keep it off. Well then, I'm definitely not watching that one. Listening to that pompous blowhard nauseates me more than watching any graphic surgical procedure could.
The Apprentice Tammy, Tammy, Tammy. To paraphrase one of the showstoppers from Chicago: She had it comin'. She had it comin'. She only had herself to blame. If you'd a been there; if you'd a seen it, I think that you would have done the same. That's right, the Iron Jawed Angel of Wall Street got the boot for turning on her teammates and agreeing with the assessment that her team was duped by Troy, in front of The Donald. And I'm not saying that they weren't duped. Oh, they were. Katrina totally blew the apartment-selection process by making her choice obvious to Troy, who would have been every inch the country bumpkin everyone thinks he is if he hadn't picked the same property. His passive-aggressive approach to negotiating not only won him the coveted apartment, it also enraged Katrina to the point that she went after him in the boardroom like a Hilton in a freebies booth at Sundance. I was embarrassed by her emotional outburst but The Donald ultimately decided that disloyalty trumped theatrics and he gave Tammy the boot. And, hey, Omarosa, keep an eye to the sky. Where there's plaster, there are houses. And steer clear of anyone whose last name is Gale.Without a Trace This drama series gets better and better. Last week's powerful episode about a tormented teen who attempts suicide left me in tears (not to mention so haunted by Gary Jules' cover of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" that I had to download it almost immediately). Tonight's installment about Viv's obsession with an unsolved case involving a former teenage prostitute was just as engrossing. Because the writers allow the main characters to reveal only the tiniest bits of personal information about themselves to the audience and each other, we don't know the exact reason why Viv (the supremely talented Marianne Jean-Baptiste) has run an unidentified fingerprint through the database every two weeks for the past four years. Maybe it's because she has a child of her own and would like to offer the missing young woman's mother (a startlingly disheveled but surprisingly good Kirstie Alley) some closure after all these years of uncertainty. Whatever her reason, she has hope that she will have good news to relay. And I think that's what sets this series apart from other police-procedural shows: optimism that the victim might be found and that things could be OK in the end. Alright, I do have one complaint about tonight's episode: 90210's Jim Walsh (James Eckhouse) as a dirty old man?! Inconceivable!