Gilmore Girls
Far more interesting than Lorelai and Rory's rosy relationship is Lane's tug of war with her stricter-than-strict old-world mother, Mrs. Kim. I'm not surprised when she kicks Lane out of the house after stumbling upon the teen's secret rock-and-roll life. But it is touching to see the Bible-toting woman's icy demeanor crack just a little. (I mean, what parent wouldn't be sick with worry upon discovering her teenager's empty bed after midnight?) So was sneaking out to play a gig at CBGB's worth getting caught? Yes, because it finally earned Lane some real freedom. And, of course, the chance to breathe the air backstage at the legendary club. (Note to producers: nice job recreating CB's hole-in-the-wall look!)

Last Comic Standing
I hate when reality shows crib from each other and get it all wrong. Alliances? Plotting? Backstabbing? Let's face it, this is a freakin' talent show, not Survivor. I just want to hear these people tell jokes. Simple as that. Or not. The Jay London roast is absolutely painful. (Worst "joke": "The back of [London's] head smells like a pit bull afterbirth.") Um, thanks. I don't crack a smile until Gary and Ant go head-to-head, and the cute Matthew Fox lookalike actually beats the conniving little weasel. But wait, there's a second hour, and it isn't any less torturous than the first. Each so-called comedian bombs in front of a group of children, and no one tells a funny joke until 45 minutes into the show when Gary's energetic storytelling sends a slouching, self-deprecating Jay home. (Jay: "My girlfriend has crabs... so I gave her fishnet stockings.") Dude, this is the best you've got? Not sure who I feel more sorry for, you or your girlfriend.

Summerland
I trashed the series premiere in this column last month, but apparently, millions of viewers had the nerve to disagree with me. So I'm giving Summerland another shot. Here's a relief: the fish-out-of-water premise has all but been forgotten. But it's been replaced by something even more annoying: sappy heart-to-hearts in every scene. Erica pouring her heart out to Nikki about her love for Jay. Sara pouring her heart out to Bradin about how much she loves him. Johnny pouring his heart out to Susannah about how important she is to the family. Ava pouring her heart out to Sara about how concerned she is about her. The talk is all the same in one shiny, happy Cali locale after another. Can I pour my heart out? After half an ep, I'm wishing this Summer was over.

The All-Star Game
Roger Clemens actually taking signs from his nemesis turned National League teammate Mike Piazza? This is one matchup I don't want to miss. First inning, the Rocket shakes off Piazza twice to throw his slider. Boom! Home run by Manny Ramirez. A few batters later, Bam! Alfonso Soriano belts one out of the park. Suddenly the pitcher with the best record in baseball is behind 6-0? Was Clemens throwing the game — literally? Was Piazza messing around with the signals? Guess it doesn't really matter. Rocket still got that World Series bling. Mikey ain't got none.

The Amazing Race
I'm not much of a reality TV-fan, but I can tolerate The Amazing Race because it moves fast and doesn't waste time with armchair psychoanalyzing. Choosing a team to hate is easy: I immediately despise Donny and Allison because they're so mean to each other. (Donny: "If you weren't blond you wouldn't be so stupid." Allison: "You're a loser.") And these two are dating! I'm for Charla and Mirna because they treat each other with kindness and respect (and I'll admit, partly because of Charla's physical limitations). They're smart enough to use her "disadvantage" to their advantage, shouting "little woman, little woman!" to score a sympathy ride in the cemetery. Unfair? Maybe. But when they come in second, you can't help but be happy for them. Their success is even sweeter when former first-placers Donny and Allison finish last and are eliminated. Karma, people, karma!

Degrassi: The Next Generation
Yeah, it's a little more than cruel of Ash to dump Jimmy on his birthday. But junior high is all about scoring cool points, and Jimmy's in the minus column after taking Ash's dorky stepbrother under his wing. And it didn't help that he was hanging around Ash's house way too much. Whatever. There was more chemistry in fourth-period lab than between those two. Earning major plus points is Emma, who isn't afraid to explain to her English class exactly why she's wearing mismatched oversized gym shorts. (She got her first visit from Aunt Flo.) The awkwardness of puberty has never been never so hip. — Daniel R. Coleridge (aka "Party Boy") is covering TV network bashes at the press tour in Los Angeles. Today's column was written by Robin Honig.