Arrested Development
All right, which is more inspired, playing "Afternoon Delight" or referencing Soapdish? Right. Doing both at the same time.

And among all those willing to put their dignity on the line for a laugh — not that there's anything wrong with that — Henry Winkler deserves the most bravery points, I think, for fearlessly playing up the weird factor and taking one for the team. I mean, Jessica Walter is an absolute trouper for, among other things, being tackled by her son last week and flashing tonight, but is there anything funnier than Winkler's creepy wink, considering this is the man who, as the Fonz, taught an entire generation to be cool?

Well, you say, maybe Desperate Housewives' creator Marc Cherry being picketed by Ann's church group, or the fact that Buster has a big hand chair in his room, or the "hard cot" gag, or the use of "Christmas Time Is Here" from A Charlie Brown Christmas, or Maeby and George-Michael kissing (which is OK since, as Ron Howard informed us, she may not really be his biological cousin), or Kitty flashing, or Tobias flashing, or Kitty knocking Lindsay out, or George betraying Oscar or... or...

A fine season ender, huh? That's right, I said season, not series. One last plea, Fox execs, and I hope you're reading this. Do not cancel this. Next year will simply not be a happy one without Lucille and Oscar's "You're high! You're drunk!" routine.

What do you say? Please? — Michael Peck

Desperate Housewives
Last week there was an unidentified corpse in the toy chest. Well, several clever Watercooler readers e-mailed in — Judy and Mark were first — with the theory that came to light in this episode. (There was more to it, but because I think it's dead-on, I'm not saying anything else. No, I don't have any inside scoop, but there's no reason to spoil it for everyone else, right?) I really thought they were going to string this one out a little longer. No doubt that means there are at least a few more twists and turns before the end of the season. One thing you can be sure of though, is that when Mike finds out that a woman from his past has been murdered, and gets pistol-whipped, he can be a real sourpuss.

Just when you think Andrew doesn't totally despise his Stepford mom, he suddenly reveals himself to be a near sociopath. (Of course, let's not forget his callous attitude about running down Carlos' mother.) So was he bragging to Reverend Sikes for the sheer thrill of detailing a diabolical plan? Regardless, he's quite a liar. He's either deceiving the reverend, his parents, himself, the ice-cream man or all of the above. Bree's warped reaction wasn't unexpected, but this revenge scheme by Andrew is a whole new level. By the way, isn't it convenient how Danielle Van De Kamp is never around? Maybe she's hanging out with those blond kids on Everybody Loves Raymond before they leave the air forever.

Let's see, what else? Susan was dealing with her flighty mother and Loser Guys No. 1 and 2 (Tim and Lamont) all hanging out at her house. Along with her new shoes, Gabrielle got Carlos supposedly to dispose of the postnuptial agreement. And Lynette got a new "obligation" named Mrs. McCluskey. As much as I admire Lynette for taking the high road, it would have been great if she'd made that decision a little faster, considering the old woman could've been dead instead of just stubbornly watching TV. — Danny Spiegel MONDAY

Wow... oh, wait a sec... sniff, sniff... where are my tissues? OK, deep breath. Regained my composure and I think I can continue now. Phew, the return of this show did not disappoint. I'm so thankful for Bright, because without his witty little quips about moldy foods and his "boo-yahs," I think I would have been sobbing for the entire baby mama-drama- filled hour. OK, not the whole 60 minutes, 'cause for a couple of minutes there I really thought that Madison was going to change her mind about telling Ephram about her pregnancy. I was holding up all right until then. After that I was a goner. Sarah "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" Lancaster was astounding as Ephram's former lover, her desperately pleading eyes and calm demeanor coupled with the devastating revelation that she had a baby and gave it away. Truly remarkable, as she always seemed like a fun match for him, but a little bit bland in the emotional moments.

So there's a musically inclined little baby boy wailing on key somewhere in Denver, which surprises me more than the other potential outcomes, like she kept it or she had a miscarriage or an abortion (hey, this show has never shied away from touchy subject matter). Having a baby boy just adds another potentially messed-up father-son relationship to this family drama, which already features the heartbreaking, self-sacrificing dad who accidentally shot his kid, Bright and Dr. Abbott's tenuous coexistence and Dr. Brown's complete and utter betrayal of his eldest offspring. I loved the teen's retort to the pompous surgeon's snappy assumption that he was blowing his Juilliard audition just as retaliation: "That's not the only reason, but it is the best one." I have a feeling that things are only going to get worse, and the fact that there is a doctor in the house won't be able to fix it. And if Ephram is this distraught about Madison and his father's secret-keeping, I just wonder how he's going to react when he finds out that Amy and the Abbott clan also knew about the potential existence of Li'l Ephram Jr. — Angel Cohn

Declassified Memo
To: Agent Jack Bauer, Los Angeles Bureau CTU
From: Civilian Robin Honig, New York Bureau TV Guide
Re: 12:00am-1:00am
Mr. Bauer,
I do not agree with your outrageous decision to resign from CTU, nor understand how doing so would result in the immediate release of Joe Prado. When exactly did you get approval from Dessler and Buchanan? The president is sure to be angry over the following a) that Prado was set free before he could make his executive decision and b) that you tortured Prado as a newly private citizen. (That was some serious bone crushing, by the way.) How do you plan to justify your actions? Certainly you realize that you now have far fewer privileges. How will you find Marwan without your CTU clearance? Once President Logan finds out what happened to your only witness, I am very concerned that you will not be reinstated.
Please also note the following:
1) Edgar is a mouse-click away from an all-system meltdown. He's beyond Chloe's help, and should be removed from CTU duty immediately.
2) The new president has been exhibiting bizarre behavior including paranoia, anger and anxiety. He may not be fit for duty for much longer, which may work to your advantage.
3) Sources have informed me that Chloe holds personal interest in you. Please be aware of all blushing, swooning, eyelash batting and any unusual volunteering for dangerous missions.
4) It's quite possible you ticked off Audrey for the last time when you ran out with no explanation. If Paul makes it through, you're history.
Good luck and be safe out there,
Robin Honig


Gilmore Girls
I don't know about you, but I'm not buying Dean's whole Gilmore relationship-breakdown theory. ("They want more than this," he tells Luke. "This town is all you are. It's not enough. She's going to get bored and you can't take her anywhere. You're here forever.") Well, he's got that one right, now that Luke wants to buy old man Twickum's gorgeous Victorian house and start a family there. But I don't see that as a problem for Lorelai, who's happily spent the past 20 years raising her daughter in quirky Stars Hollow. (Not to mention the fact that she just opened her own inn there and has no plans to sell.) Rory's the one who wants to move on to bigger things. And, well, she has. (Yeah, Dean, we know. She left you. Twice. Get over it!) Seems to me that Rory's ex is doing a little thing we like to call projecting. Anyway, I'm a little disappointed that the Logan situation has headed south so quickly. Last we saw, he was the one begging for Rory's affections. No surprise he's fickle — didn't I call this one a few weeks ago? The sex-without-strings thing was completely out of character for Rory anyway. Not that I didn't feel bad seeing her drunk on the bathroom floor crying in her mother's lap. And not even one "I told you so" from Lorelai. Now that's mother-daughter bonding at its best. — RH

The Amazing Race
Oh, Joyce. Sweet, inspirational Joyce. As Uchenna said, you are definitely one beautiful woman, inside and out. Your unyielding determination was something to behold. You knew it would've been elimination time if you didn't get your head shaved — and that wasn't going to happen. Now that's love: Uchenna was willing to chuck the whole competition to spare Joyce, and Joyce was willing to make this sacrifice to stay in it. Watching that callous clipping with Uchenna by your side would choke up anyone. That's why I'd like to know why the producers, well aware of this particular Fast Forward, decided not to award this leg's first-place team some sort of prize (at least, none that we saw). If there was ever a time to bring out a cartload of cash, this was it.

As Phil pointed out, Meredith and Gretchen officially became the oldest team to make it this far in the race. However, a comment of Gretchen's really gave me pause. I always figured that the intense stress of the competition brought out the truth in a relationship. Obviously, Meredith and Gretchen truly love each other, so what does it mean when, after a testy exchange, she remarked that they've "never acted this way with each other"? It makes me wonder if some of the less-solid relationships featured in past seasons have been artificially cut short by competing in the race. But on the other side of that dynamic are Lynn and Alex, who, despite their elimination, have only strengthened their bond. (And once again, they were ready with an extra layer of clothes!)

I was not ready for that seemingly insane comment Kelly made about Ron's military service in the scenes from the next episode. But I'll wait to go off on that one when I see the whole thing in context. Let's face it, though; it's probably not going to sound much better. — DS


Oh, my god, I just had as much fun at Clark's prom as I did at my own! And trust me, I was tanked that night. From the get-go, I knew this was gonna be a riot, with convention-hating Chloe up for queen and that insipid clique-monster Dawn Stiles running around triggering flashbacks of the good old days at Monsignor Bonner High. Which is sort of weird, since it was an all-boys school, but whatever. It only made things merrier when vile Stiles met her end in a meteor-laden gorge while talking on her cell and driving — that act should be punishable by death anyway. And the whole Mean Girl Ghost body-jumping joke gave nearly everyone on the Smallville call-sheet a chance to let, like, totally loose. Though I'm not sure what was more of a hoot: Lois' Patty Simcox persona, the regressed Martha moaning about Lana being "so last year" or Clark's campy "that crown is mine, bitch" smackdown on Chloe. Let's just say a good time was had by all. Especially anyone who saw Lana show up at the end in that knockout outfit. Yowza. Is it even legal for teens to be that hot? Oh, and as for that twist with the DOA Bridgette Crosby, I guess those rumors about Jason's future are true after all, huh? Oh well. Laters! — Damian J. Holbrook

"How could a child save the world?" asks Dr. Massey, having just been told about the miracle baby who survived the ferry sinking, and about Sister Jo's theory that the kid could be the Savior. Why not, when a child was able to cause a lot of trouble for it in the '70s? Didn't anyone see series creator David Seltzer's earlier go at this stuff?

Then again, given Massey's skepticism, he's obviously a bit slow to catch on. Exhibit B: "This is probably just a prank — there're some kids at school who are looking to start things up," he says after seeing surveillance photos that the minions of the Dark Lord have taken of his son Hawk. Well, I guess that could be the case, Doc, provided the junior-high photography club takes CIA-level spy shots and has the budget for a courier service. But no, a severed pig head crashing through his window in the night appears to kill that theory. Man, talk about your deviled ham. Or: "Pork. The other evil meat." (I know. That doesn't even make any sense. I just felt like typing it.)

Speaking of skeptics, though, Massey's dweeby assistant pipes up with this zinger: "There's this rumor going around that you're under the influence of some Svengali nun and you that think this child is Jesus Christ." Jeez, can't the scandalmongers make it fun by at least exaggerating it a little?

"He wasn't a scientist, so he knew that some questions have none," Sister Jo says about Jesus looking for an answer. Yeah, stupid rational scientists — always measuring and looking for repeatable results and proof and all that nonsense. Then the evil fashion models — are there any other kind? — across the plane sport glowing yellow cat eyes when the plane goes dark with turbulence. Now, I'm as traditional as the next guy much of the time, but just once I'd like to see servants of evil show up with, say, big-puppy-in-the-rain-painting eyes, or side-mounted, independently moving chameleon eyes, or even tiny little koala eyes, maybe. Surprise me.

And when they go to the burned-out church looking for the miracle baby after hearing that the ship that rescued the kid was destroyed and the people he healed later became ill and died, Sister Jo suspects the baby is actually a false prophet sent by Satan. And when Satan gets cross with the two of them — literally, by dropping a giant crucifix — it seems quite certain. Well, I could've told you that. I mean, when the guy at the waterfront said to get a table for four that night in order to meet the people who'd tell them more about the baby, he recommended the fish. You know what the mercury levels are in seafood these days? Evidence of the dark side right there. — Michael Peck


What the heck?!? Janu just quit in the most bizarre and lackluster way, like, "I guess I'll give up, I don't really like any of you people, and you don't like me because of my annoying eating habits and bug-eyed looks. And I know I just came back from a rejuvenating night in isolation, but maybe you should just keep Steph around for a few more days...." Did she not want to win a million dollars? Does dancing in Sin City pay that well? Couldn't beat watching an adorably cleaned-up Coby just shaking his head in disbelief that his former alliance mate threw in the towel. If only he had thought of using She-ra's crocodile-tears strategy last week, maybe he'd still be in the game. And Jeff, dressed like your friendly neighborhood UPS man, is way more chatty and probing here in Palau. He broke Janu's spirit during the underwater challenge, not that it was too difficult to push her over the edge, and then basically encouraged Steph's teary-eyed speech. Break alliances and encourage people to lay down their torches? I guess that's what brown can do for you. — AC

The O.C.
Things I Loved About Tonight's Episode
1) Julie crying over Caleb's divorce threat. For a money-grubbing, social-climbing ex-porn star, she sure gives good boohoo face.
2) Caleb backing out of item No. 1. Old softy. However, if the photographer who snapped that damning pic of Julie with scuzzy Lance is on his payroll, he immediately goes back to being the Devil.
3) Marissa and Ryan playing Nancy Drew and the Hottie Boy to nail the Harbor School drug dealer. So Jump Street, you could almost smell Johnny Depp. Which could actually be the case since he's so dirty, anyway.
4) Kirsten coming to her senses about spending the night at that winery with Carter and his button nose. Extra points for shooting him down looking all out-of-the-shower fresh.
5) Deathcab!

Things I Hated About Tonight's Episode
1) "Honey, this place is gorgeous. You should go with Carter." Check your meds, Sandy. You just gave wifey carte blanche to booze it up at some remote vineyard with the cutest editor outside of the TV Guide offices. And this dude's a lawyer?
2) Seth's escalating addiction to himself. Hello! Summer wants to leave your damn comic book-geek party. Go, you freak, or Zach the Vanilla Wonder will be giving her more than just a ride home, OK?
3) Jess Sathers, coke whore of Orange County. Obviously, Trey isn't the sharpest tool in the Atwood garage or else he'd be able to see the red flags on this one. Hey, wait. Those aren't signs!
4) Reed's Mary Kay Letourneau vibe. Creepy and illegal. That's not hot.

Things That Confused Me About Tonight's Episode
1) Seth missing Deathcab. Have the writers even met Cohen? Would NEVER happen.
2) Is Ryan really a bitch? Because he seems to be called one a lot. Especially during beach brawls.
3) Marissa cuts off Ryan because she doesn't wanna mack in Sandy's car? She did Luke in like, a blackout or something! Plus, the season finale is a month away, so there's still time for that middle-aged teenager Theresa to pop up. And you know she totally gives it up, right? — Damian J. Holbrook

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