The O.C.
So you knew the second we saw the crystal egg from Risky Business — and heard that cheesy-classic Tangerine Dream synthesizer — that Trey was gonna be lifting it, right? Especially after Marissa sold him on renting Alex's old place. Which, thank you very much, writers, was a nice little explanation of what happened to the lesbian who bored Newport. Now, if only they could do something about this Zach feller. Because unless he's setting Seth up to lose Summer with the graphic-novel idea, the dude is 100 percent Zzzzzzzzzzz-grade beef. Same thing with Carter. Great on the eyes, no doubt, but has anyone else noticed that Billy Campbell has more chemistry with Peter Gallagher than with Kelly Rowan (whom we love)? That's not to say that what's going on with Kiki isn't cause for concern, if only for the amount of booze she's been guzzling to drown her jones for the baby-faced editor. Learn from Liza, honey. It only makes things worse, OK? Also worrying me is the fact that I seem to have missed something major. Have Ryan and Marissa done it yet? Based on her comments about sleeping in his bed before and that semi-flirty "It's nothing you haven't seen before" after he walked in on her undressing, I got the feeling that a "very special" episode happened while I wasn't looking last season. Anyway, if they haven't, they need to before the sparks between Coop and Trey either ignite or blow up in someone's face. I'm guessing it'll be Trey who goes too far. After all, any dude who tries to fence a Tom Cruise prop earmarked for Sandy's debut as honorary chair for the Newpsie's pseudo-charity non-yard sale probably doesn't have the best decision-making skills. Though he does have good hair. And that sometimes counts for more than a lot of people realize. It's a shame, really. — Damian J. Holbrook

Survivor: Palau
I know I offhandedly joked a few weeks ago that Stephenie might be better off going solo in the challenges than carrying around the deadweight of Bobby Jon, Ibrehem and James. But I never really thought it would happen. I'd heard rumors that they wouldn't be merging but I guess I always figured that the Ulongers would eventually win at least one immunity challenge by pure dumb luck. I would have been wrong, but come on, who could have predicted that they'd be the losingest tribe in Survivor history? But you can tell Jeff Probst is having fun with it — from teasing She-Ra and Captain Caveman that since immunity was back up for grabs, "anyone" could win it, to telling Koror just to let him know which two players would be competing instead of which six would be sitting out. And after the campfire starter lost a one-on-one flame-growing competition to Steph, Probst looked a little too happy uttering, "Your tribe definitely did not speak tonight," as he snuffed out poor Bobby Jon's torch.

But while the bad news bears couldn't keep it together, something is really rotten in the state of Koror, where rats are crawling around and munching on dead shark carcasses. You may be in the wilderness, but you don't have to be disgusting. It's just like The Real World: Seattle when they had the awesome digs and then trashed the place. OK, maybe it's not just like that, but the Home Depot hut is pretty darned nice. They've even got a functioning shower with fresh water, not that alpha males Tom or Ian would let anyone use them. I guess being on the island has made them completely forget that cleanliness is next to godliness. — Angel Cohn

Tru Calling
Really, I'm sort of floored that this show will be dead and gone after these six episodes. It just doesn't seem fair to squander Eliza Dushku like that, not to mention the clever concept. I mean, who wouldn't want the chance to relive a day or two? Like the one when you thought a home perm was a good idea? Or, like tonight, when your friends threw you that surprise birthday party. Granted, the maintenance man probably didn't fry during yours — hopefully — but hey, playing God isn't always ice cream and cake. Speaking of, I'm pretty sure Jason Priestley had more fun with Jack's "life and death" birthday-card jab at Tru than he did in his last three seasons on the greatest show ever set in Beverly Hills. (Just ask my office administrator, Jenn, if you have any doubts, OK?) Unfortunately, we'll never get to see how Davis' shrink plays into Jack and Papa Davies' devilish plan. Or where things are headed with this Jensen character. Or if Tru will ever find a pair of low-riders she can't run in. Because, you know, Fox's dough is apparently better spent on things like Stacked and Life on a Stick, than on the anti-psychotics some of them so obviously need for thinking either of those flops will make up for killing this one. Twice. — DJH

The Apprentice
Please, please, Mr. T., put us all out of our misery. Fire the lot of them and just keep Bren and Tana. Aside from those two, all of the other contestants are either irritating or forgettable. Every week I wonder why Mr. Trump hasn't kicked the tobaccy-chewin' Chris to the curb, or I end up staring blankly at Craig and Kendra. I find myself asking my husband, "Are they still on this show?" Funky-haired Angie was a memorable mother hen, but Mr. Trump saw her only as a six-time loser when he unemphatically gave her the boot. But how professional is it to have the legendary businessman just randomly calling people losers, or losers by association? Maybe he heard that American Idol was the real No. 1 show on TV and decided to take a page out of Simon's "Insults for Dummies" book. And speaking of Trumpster, on my commute home there is a huge billboard with his face all larger than life that says, "The best casinos and the number one show." Really? 'Cause I swear I read that his casinos were having cash-flow problems and that time-slot competitor CSI was kickin' The Apprentice's business assets.

I know I'm trying not to fall for the oh-so-obvious in-show commercials, but is American Eagle really selling clothes that hold an iPod? I might have to forget the fact that I am way out of their demo, especially since I'm constantly forgetting my cell phone, but I don't leave home without my tunes. And Bren, while I actually kind of like the backward logo, I seriously hope you learned your lesson about getting Bob Marley-vibing silkscreeners to do your rush printing jobs. — AC

ER
Oh yes — the 4th of July episode. I remembered it as soon as I saw Frank in that silly Uncle Sam outfit. Nice to see Carter in a better mood than last week. Neela had seen better days, though. I loved reliving her quest for a nonhospital job. When that retail beeyotch asked Neela if she ever worked retail and Neela said no, it brought back bad memories for moi. Before getting my first job in the TV industry, I tried unsuccessfully to get a retail job. I told them, in a very Neela way, that "No, I have no retail experience, but I just graduated from NIU." Rejection. I never did work retail.

What did work in this episode was the antagonistic bonding between Abby and Ray. She called him "Dr. Bon Jovi" and he called her "Rockhart," but they eventually lightened up. Shane West has matured nicely since his Once and Again days.

The two biggest highlights were both sight gags. The first was when Abby and Ray saw Neela in her Statue of Liberty hat working at the local supermarket. "Welcome to Jumbo Mart, may I help you?" The best one, however, was Carter doing a Bea Arthur triple-take when he walked into the locker-room and saw Chuck (Donal Logue) breast-feeding his baby via a supplemental nursing device. "It allows the father to bond with the child the same way the mother does — if you can get past the sore nipples." — Dave Anderson

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