The O.C.1. I'm too tired to figure out whether Ryan and Marissa click as a couple. Every time I think they're not on the same page, they have a cute little scene like the cell phone conversation. And they told each other the truth about their dicey weekend. I'll sum it up quickly. Ryan: lap dance. Marissa: Johnny.2. The show is finally devoting mounds of time to Summer and Seth. Summer finds out that she has a higher SAT score than her BF. Now she even thinks she can get into Brown. This bit of info sends Seth over the edge because he always felt the one area where he did have the edge was in the brains department. But it was sweet how by the end of the episode they made up. And I love how the characters keep mentioning how Summer saved Chrismukkah. And the whole foray into mascotdom and the marching band was funny. I half-expected Summer to utter: "This one time... at band camp."3. What's the deal with this Matt Ramsey dude that's helping Sandy out at the Newport group? I want to know. Why is he suddenly part of the action? Where is this leading? Could I ask any more questions? Maybe. 4. The Adults: Sandy has such a good heart, he gave Matt a second chance even after he took Ryan to a strip club and messed up Sandys important meeting. I love that Sandy introduced Seth and Ryan to Matt as: "These are my boys." It just was sweet, that's all. Julie and Kirsten decided to open up a high-end dating service but for some reason I totally dug the fact that Julie Cooper-Nichol was excited by the thought they could run a call-girl service.   Bettina Charles

Smallville
O Michael Rosenbaum, O Michael Rosenbaum, you rock as Lex Luthor! Smallville did a good job celebrating the holiday season. Lex was shot point-blank, leaving him on the verge of death (I know, not exactly screaming holiday cheer). While Lex hovered between life and death, he made a quick trip to an alternate plane of existence. Along with his late mom as a guide, it was bye-bye to Big City Lex and hello to Sexy Suburban Lexy, who was married to Lana Lang they're middle class parents! His best friends were Clark and Chloe and Jonathan called him the finest man he knows, so you just know this wasnt for real. Here's the thing. I thought Rosenbaum and Kristin Kreuk had some chemistry. But I do have a problem with Lex suddenly developing an interest for a barely in-college student. It's sorta been building for a while and has taken full bloom in this pseudo-LexVerse (I love pairing Lex's name with just about any other word, whether it works or not). And were Chloe and Clark (lookin' all kinds of hot) together together? In this brave new world, Lex ends up losing Lana. In reality, Darth Lexer ends up choosing the dark side. Very enjoyable. 

The other ministory was also pretty good. Chloe enlists Clark to use his superspeed to deliver gifts to needy kids. He plays supershrink to drunk, lonely, suicidal Santa Claus, who as it (predictably) turns out, seems to be the real deal. But seriously, Lex choosing to stand firmly on the side of power and money was the big story. First target: Clark's dad, who's running against Lex for the senate. He tells a mysterious do-badder to: Find it. Fake it. Do whatever it takes to knock Jonathan Kent out of the race. Poor Jonathan.  Bettina Charles


Everwood
Brilliant idea of the week? Using Tater Tots as a reward for cramming for finals. That Hannah was pretty genius by using positive reinforcement to help Bright study for a psychology exam. They are just the most adorable couple on TV. Bright then broke out of his mold by giving Hannah a well-thought-out and heartfelt pep talk describing all of the things that he found beautiful about her. Sniff, sniff. Too sweet and so unexpected from him. He even broke out a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves to try to figure out why she was being so insecure. And his reward for sharing his newfound sensitivity with the girl he loves was so much more than Tater Tots, he got to see his normally shy girlfriend in the buff. Bright almost became himself again while giving Ephram, who was in danger of turning into Amy's gal pal, a speech on asserting himself as a man. Turns out Ephram was able to figure out how to change Amy's perception all on his own with his sweet postcards and the fact that her flirtation with Dougie flopped. Her take on Dougie: "Moron. We talked for three minutes and I'm pretty sure he used the word 'party' 16 times... as a verb an adjective and a noun." I can see why Amy  who just wants to make out  would fall back into her ex's arms. But while things are looking up for Everwood's teens before the holidays, stormy weather hits many others. Dr. Abbott and the former Ms. Mayor have reached the first point in their lives where they see things differently. She wants to perform miracles and he thinks he already has by getting Bright into college. Dr. Dimples has turned to drugs again, which wouldn't be so terrible if he hadn't been lying to Nina about his recovering-addict status for oh... the entire time he's been in town. I was surprised but oddly proud that she kicked him to the curb. And Andy's having trouble with the daughter who is normally his easy child. Turns out she's in danger of becoming a mean girl by hanging with the popular crowd and picking on an overweight student. I've seen Heathers too many times and things didn't go well for the chubby recipient of the phony love letters. I think Andy's got a reason to be worried about his kid, but I'm just happy that she's actually starting to get a personality. Delia's come a long way from the dull little tomboy who first arrived in town with her grouchy brother and misguided father.   Angel Cohn

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