Pepsi Smash You know how covers of popular songs can really suck sometimes? I'm thrilled to report that that is so not the case with 311's cover of the Cure's "Love Song." The band, which has been around for more than 10 years (a fact that ironically makes me feel just as old as I normally do watching this show) infuses just enough of their trademark ska-punk-funk into their version without making it painfully unrecognizable to fans of the original. But the true treat of the night was not Destiny's Child wannabes-but-never-will-bes Mis-Teeq, oddball rockers the Killers or even emo poster band Dashboard Confessional (whose "Vindicated" seems to be the current anthem of their female fans me included; I'm not that old). It was the fact that not only did virtual unknown Texas rockers Los Lonely Boys rattle the rafters with their first song, but that viewers actually recognized true musical talent and chose the trio over the Killers to return for an encore, in which two of the three siblings brought the house (or my apartment, at least) with their killer behind-the-back, one-handed and behind-the-neck guitar-playing. To quote Nick Zano: It was "insane."
Kingdom Hospital Since it was such a lean viewing night (it was either this or force myself to stomach Larry King's pandering interview with publishing parasite, er, Princess Diana biographer Andrew Morton), I had no choice but to check in. And I know what you're all thinking because it's the same thing I thought: This is still on? I could have read the unabridged version of The Stand twice in the time it's taken for this thing to shrivel up and die. (Apparently it was on hiatus for a spell, but now it's baaaack.) Anyway, Diane Ladd is channeling Zelda Rubinstein from Poltergeist in her continuing effort to make contact with the little dead girl (who reminds me more than a little bit of Newt in Aliens), Bruce Davison is cracking up (see what making evil pacts will do to your brain?) and that headless guy is still running around searching for his... head. In hindsight, I think the Morton interview about his newest sensational tome about the late princess would have proved more chilling.
Celebrity Poker Showdown Championship OK, I admit that I misjudged Lauren Graham a couple weeks back. I chastised her giggly, jiggly "I don't know anything about poker" act because I didn't realize until tonight that her antics were the basis of her strategy. But now here she is in the big leagues, respectably dressed (obviously she donated her old wardrobe to last year's winner, Nicole Sullivan) and kicking some serious butt. She takes the chip lead early in the game and remains untouchable until her final pairing with one-time NewsRadio costar Maura Tierney. And I have to say it's a nail-biter, with Tierney steadily chipping away at Graham's 2-1 chip lead as the two seesaw between winning hands. Tierney plays surprisingly shrewdly and aggressively, and ultimately triumphs, becoming the second consecutive female CPS champ.
Sex and the City on TBS Commercial In an obvious flashback to the early '80s, teen versions of Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha are sitting in a school cafeteria, dissecting Carrie's love life over lunch. Miranda (who's reading a copy of Judy Blume's Forever) asks Carrie about her date. Carrie says they kissed and Charlotte tells her, "You're going to get married, I know it." When Carrie demurs that he only gave her a friendship bracelet, Samantha (who must have been kept back a year or 10) urges her to go for "something sparkly" next time. It's absolutely adorable. And the closest we'll probably ever get to a reunion movie.
Graham Norton Effect Considering the raunch factor of last week's premiere, I strapped myself in for another ribald (a word that always conjures up visions of a Victorian-era Jon Lovitz on SNL) ride. Upon seeing Norton's semi-normal attire, I thought the show might be calming down a bit. I wrong. After needlessly explaining her role in the latest Chucky flick, guest Jennifer Tilly is treated to viewing a website devoted to discerning her bosoms from those of others onscreen. Surprisingly, it took her three tries despite the fact that all she had to do was look down for an obvious hint. Things don't go quite as smoothly with Julie Delpy, who is here to promote Before Sunset but ends up perplexed by a sex toy and translating a dirty phone call to a French bondage enthusiast. Luckily, she escapes before three couples from the audience participate in "Celebrity Ass Action," in which one chaps-clad member of each team has his bare backside dressed up to look like a famous face. Although using Pam Anderson, Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton as their models doesn't seem like much of a challenge.
Quote of the Night: "I was this small little entity in this big vast whatever-you-want-to-call-it that got erupted, and it started with me." Paula Jones on Primetime Thursday, describing how she interprets what she believes to be her part in the alleged "right-wing conspiracy" to get former president Bill Clinton out of the White House.