Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
This "Behind the Scenes" special episode promises lots of surprises but I'm yawning through the first half hour of been-there, built-that construction shots. Here's the crew knocking down rotting beams. Now they're hanging drywall. And look, there's Ty in his muscle shirt, flexing his pecs while he cuts lumber. Things start to pick up when Sal the contractor announces that his construction company has created a scholarship fund for the two boys, who were born drug-addicted and raised by a single mother in a tiny dilapidated house. The Makeover crew builds an incredible house for the Ali family, but I'd be much more impressed if they stopped yammering on and on about their selfless gesture. Helping others is important. Bragging about it is not. We get it already!
Everybody Loves Raymond
If Brad Garrett were smart, he'd pursue an Everybody Loves Robert and Amy spin-off. They're definitely the funnier, sweeter couple. Sure they fight, but you root for them because they have an underlying connection we just don't see in Ray and Debra anymore. When Amy's family points out that Robert touches his chin with his food before eating it, she's not really bothered by the bizarre behavior. That is, until later, when Ray makes snide remarks and Debra plays unsolicited shrink. So what does Amy do? She cooks Robert's favorite meal, hoping it's a stress-related problem she can solve. Somehow she always stays several steps away from the nastiness that is the Barone family. Sounds like a good sitcom to me.
Two and a Half Men
Maybe because Charlie is so much like his nephew (read: impulsive, immature and not the sharpest knife in the drawer), I can actually imagine him taking over as Jake's legal guardian. Apparently so can the show's writers, who set up Charlie in a no-brainer of a conflict to prove him parent-worthy. During a kid crisis (Jake hits his head playing basketball) what will the doofus uncle do? He takes the kid to the emergency room and holds his hand as he gets stitches. The moral of the story: Common sense and lots of love make for good parenting. Just not a very funny episode.
Saturday Night Live's Primetime Presidential Bash 2004
These old clips remind us that few things change about politicians over the decades. They're boring, they say stupid things and they repeat themselves endlessly. Take the 1976 debates featuring Dan Aykroyd as Carter. He admits to flip-flopping (sound familiar?) over flip-flopping. In 1988, Dana Carvey's George H.W. Bush latches on to catchphrases ("a thousand points of light") the same way Will Forte does playing his son 16 years later ("wrong war, wrong place, wrong time"). My favorite, though, is Will Ferrell's take on the younger Bush; he nails the perfect Texas drawl, the strange pro-noun-cee-a-shuns ("strategery," anyone?) and that vacant, deer-in-the-headlights look. A close second is Darrell Hammond, whose Clinton is slick, eloquent and, let's not forget, horny. The entire hour was filled with laughs. After this campaign season, we definitely needed them.
Let's face it: The most shocking part of this ep wasn't Speedle's death. (Hey, doesn't he remind you of Berger on Sex and the City?) I was more horrified by the story line, which I could swear I've already seen on Law & Order: SVU. When a wealthy older man is murdered, a background check reveals his widow has a record for (surprise, surprise) marrying and fleecing wealthy older men. So why does Horatio automatically believe the ex-con when she says she had nothing to do with his death? Because she truly loved him and had changed her ways? Please! He already knew the murderer was her former partner in crime! At the very least she should've been asked for an alibi! Where's Detectives Munch and Tutuola when you need 'em?
Degrassi: The Next Generation
I definitely winced when Craig's dad beat him and pushed him to the floor. And I had to look away afterward as he inspected the purple welts on his back. But my heart truly sank when he discovered that his monster of a father had destroyed his darkroom equipment and all of his photos of half sister Angela. Sometimes it's the emotional blows that hurt the most. So who can blame Craig for wishing his father was dead? And when Dad actually does die in a car accident just a few days later, no wonder the poor kid's conflicted. Sure, his breakdown at the luau dance was predictable, but when he burst out laughing at the funeral, chills went up my spine.