Fresh from his aborted stint in Spin-Off Town (a well-populated suburb of Cancellationville), Jess Mariano returns to Stars Hollow to discover that surprise! nobody missed him. Not his uncle Luke, not his sassy mechanic Gypsy, not his ex-gal pal Rory and definitely not us viewers. Well, OK, I probably shouldn't speak for everyone. I'm sure there are more than a few GG fans out there who couldn't wait to see their favorite leather-clad bad boy roar back into town. But, personally, I'm over Jess and have been for about... oh, two seasons now. When he first hit the scene waaaay back in Year 2, he seemed like a fun alternative to Dean, Rory's stick-in-the-mud first boyfriend. But in the grand tradition of Maddie and Dave (or, to use a reference kids today will actually get, Ryan and Marissa), putting these opposites together immediately cancelled out any romantic tension. My fingers are crossed that this is the last we'll see of Mr. Mariano for the foreseeable future. In far more interesting developments, Lane is still crashing at Rory's Yale pad, Lorelai may be having money troubles and Paris ditched her cuckolded boyfriend for her much older paramour. At least someone's still got that lovin' feeling: Against the odds, perpetual screw-up Kirk has somehow managed to hang onto his rarely seen girlfriend. Way to go, Kirk! You are truly a god among men.
In case you missed it in the post-Super Bowl hoopla (and judging from the ratings, quite a few people did), here was your chance to catch up on a truly awesome hour of Survivor. Best moment? Jeff refusing to allow the defeated Saboga tribe to carry their tribal council torches back to camp so they could light a much-needed fire. Damn, that Probst is getting mean in his old age!
We've reached that weird point in the show where all of the bad auditions are over, but there's still too many people left (117 to be exact) for it to seem like an actual competition. So in a series of cattle calls, the judges weed out another 30 rejects, including a tearful brat named Kiera. My favorite singer of the night, though was the guy who penned an original song about his girlfriend Kim who left him for a trainer named Tim who works at his gym (notice the clever rhyming scheme there? Move over, Vanilla Ice!). Even Paula had to agree that the dude's lyrics were way lame. And if the woman who once rocked the mic with MC Skat Kat tells you your tune sucks, you'd better listen up.
AT&T Text Messaging Ad
Continuing his nefarious scheme to become the most ubiquitous person on television, Ryan Seacrest can now be spotted giving dating advice to an Ashton Kutcher look-alike in this AT&T Wireless ad. "People always ask me, 'What's the best way to talk to a girl,'" the Smarmy One says proudly. Well, guys, you can start by not being a gigantic tool.
How sad is NBC to be losing Friends? So sad that they decided to rip off one of that show's signature trademarks for a considerably less-successful sitcom. Not-so-cleverly entitled "The One with the Friends," this episode finds John Larroquette (who clearly knows that he's too good for this show) trying and failing to make a new pal after he realizes that he's got no one to go to the movies with. Hilarity ensues or at least it was supposed to. I mainly alternated between boredom and surprise that the annoying girl from those Glad ads (you know, the ones where she would ridicule various sports figures for not using Glad brand garbage bags) managed to land a part as one of Larroquette's offspring. I guess if Ali Landry can overcome being the Doritos Girl, anything's possible.
Do you ever get the feeling that the 24 writers just turn to each other sometimes and say: "I give up. What the hell is going to go wrong this week?" We've almost reached the halfway mark and I still have no idea where any of the story lines are going and I don't mean that in a good way. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised to see Corey Haim and Corey Feldman turn up and stake Jack through the heart. I am sad that we've apparently seen the last of Salazar brothers (unless there's an illegitimate offspring somewhere out there Chloe's stolen baby, I'm looking at you!), particularly Hector, who had the best bug-eyed expression on television. This oily businessman-type, who is currently carrying the virus, just isn't doing it for me in the Over-the-Top Villains Department. He needs a really fake foreign accent or at least an awful hairpiece. Wonder if Dennis Hopper is available to give him a quick primer...
Line of Fire
It wasn't advertised as such, but last night's Line of Fire was essentially the show's season finale. Starting next week, NYPD Blue returns to the Tuesday night lineup. There's still no word on whether there'll be any more Fire, so for now we'll be left wondering whether the FBI will gather enough dirt to bring down mob boss Malloy, if undercover agent Roy will be able to save hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Bambi from herself and if the arrogant Todd will ever successfully ask Paige out on a date. By the way, series creator Rod Lurie deserves a special mention for some inventive self-promotion. The film that Roy and Bambi watch before they get it on? The Contender, a hugely overrated political thriller that Lurie wrote and directed back in 2000. Having your characters make out to one of your previous films? Now that demonstrates some real chutzpah.
Daniel R. Coleridge is on assignment. Today's column was written by Ethan Alter.