Awww, yeah. I couldn't have said it better than agent provocateur Ari. The boys are back in town. And not a second too soon, since I was teetering on the verge of Jeremy Piven withdrawal. Mercifully, movie-star sex-god Vince and his hanger-on homies have returned just as prickly and profane as they were when they left us to film that low-budgie Queens Boulevard. Too bad Vince's rising star has cooled during the downtime; now all he can get are offers to do Olsen twins flicks and the big-screen version of Aquaman. And since Smallville has turned me into a freaky comic-book fanboy, I can safely say that the dude is so wrong for the role it's not even right. Paul Walker? Most def. Vince? He's Nightwing at best. As long as the mask hides his semi-unibrow. Anyway, before I explode into a pile of dork, let's offer up a prayer of thanks that Eric has been reunited with his cojones and that Turtle finally did something to win his buds' respect, even if it was just ordering a shipment of New York bagels. If only E. had it that easy with the ladies. First, it was his, um... "periodically" indisposed girlfriend blowing him off and not in a good way then Amanda Peet. Like how she was all "hey" until Shawna mentioned that he was Vince's manager? Then she's all "HEY." Nice. A Lot Like Love sucked honey. You should be nicer. Hopefully, once he hashes out Vince's next gig and gets the so-insane-he-can't-be-acting Gary Busey off the front lawn, things will improve for our little Lucky Charm. God knows it's looking up for what should already be HBO's next great comedy. Damian J. Holbrook
I was very skeptical. How could a show that is a parody of the show-within-a-show-within-a-show concept be funny? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. First, I have to say that Lisa Kudrow already won me over, again. I was expecting to see an entire half hour of Phoebe Buffay, and I didn't get that. Kudrow has one of those faces that you can watch even with the sound off because it's all about her expressions. One of the most important things about acting is reacting, and she is one of the best reactors around. Her face when she (as her character Valerie Cherish) was just told that her new sitcom, "Room and Bored," was changing focus and that she would now be playing the aunt was priceless. Aunt Sassy! Shut up. Who writes this stuff? Well, I have Michael Patrick King and Kudrow herself to thank. But back to her acting: My favorite moment was when Valerie argues on camera with her producer Jane (off camera) and says "Jane you and I need to talk." I loved the combination of the big smile with the venomous facial expression.
Other random highlights:
1) I loved the faux TV Guide cover of Valerie during her "I'm It" hey-day, and that she referred to her appearance on Leno as a real "watercooler moment."
2) Marilu Henner and Kim Fields sitting in the lobby at Warner Bros. Television giving the camera the finger.
3) Valerie's husband Mark taking a very loud dump in the background while the camera was rolling (once again, Kudrow's face had me laughing out loud so loud I woke up my napping roommate).
4) Jimmy Burrows telling Valerie "You're not 'It' anymore."
I look forward to next week. I will come back for sure. Dave Anderson
Shawn saving lives. Check. Jordan Collier still evil. Check. Kyle still freaking. Check. OK, folks: We've got a second season. And it gets going with, among other things, baby Isabelle "telling" Lily and Richard to leave their little fugitive cabin. Lily agrees, but Richard balks at taking direction from a 3-month-old. I see his point, of course, but don't you think he should listen to a superpowered baby? I mean, remember the bending trees from last year?
Now Collier publishes a book spilling the beans on the future folks sending the 4400 back and says he was withholding the information for more than a year to avoid a large-scale panic. So... what's to stop that panic now? Has the world suddenly gotten more stable and sane? Not the patients at Tess' mental hospital, who behave like ants and want only to build the tower she drew. I can only hope my neighbors don't start up with that since our ants tromp through the bathroom and kitchen cabinets, ending up in our cereal if we don't remember to keep it in a sealed plastic bag. Just imagine the crap all those people would track in.
And another thing: What's the harm in letting the patients and staff finish the tower? Oh, yeah. If you let them do that right away, we don't have a conflict for the plot, do we? But OK, I didn't see the twist coming that the tower was meant to cure Tess' fellow patient, former brilliant scientist Kevin. Nicely done, people. However, if Kevin becomes the father of the 4400 in the future, as they say, how'd the future people create all these superpowered abductees before he was cured in this episode? Stupid time-space continuum dilemma. Ruined all the Terminator movies for me, too.
As for Diana reading the creepy prediction in Maia's diary about her bosses being punished for betraying her and Maia? Hey, that's what you get when you snoop: things you don't want to know. I could've told you that, and my only power is being pretty good at the TV Guide.com Matchmaker.
8:04 Norbert Leo Butz starts singing from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and I prepare myself for another big disappointment when the stage adaptation of the film, or the underrated Broadway boy, fail to win any awards. David Yazbek's last wickedly funny musical, The Full Monty, lost out the year that The Producers juggernaut took home oodles of prizes, and Spamalot has that same sort of momentum. Not that Spamalot isn't funny... it really is, but Python fans will see that show no matter what. I like when an underdog gets an award or two.
8:06 Billy Crystal comes out as the host instead of Hugh Jackman. Did I turn on the wrong show?
8:07 Nice Oscars dig, Billy. Too much Beyonce is a bad thing.
8:08 A deep-throat joke about Harvey Fierstein, will a nontheater crowd get that? Probably not, but are any nontheater types watching? Unlikely.
8:20 A plug for X-Men 3 and it's only 20 minutes in. Not bad.
8:32 The Dirty Rotten guys sing a dirty rotten song about material possessions. Trust me, the lines that were bleeped were bleeped for a really good reason.
8:40 Christina Applegate with some over-the-top physical comedy she's come a long way since Kelly Bundy.
8:42 Jerry Mitchell really deserves the Tony for choreography for La Cage. Anyone who can get 25 really leggy men in full stockings and heels to dangle from the ceilings in a coordinated fashion should win.
8:45 Light in the Piazza won for score, Spelling Bee won for book... looks like it may not be a clean sweep after all.
8:57 I'm confused as two fictious White Houses collide when West Wing's Alison Janney and 24's Dennis Haysbert present together. Did they do that on purpose to mess with me?
9:00 Chita Rivera fumbled an obituary speech and got dead silence from the confused audience.
9:19 I have to give it to these featured performers; between Dan Fogler's nostril story and Sara Ramirez's thanking Claritin, they're going for it in their speeches.
9:20 See, I told you those guys in heels were an impressive sight!
9:29 Avenue Q's stars learn that the Internet isn't just for porn.
9:46 Thought Mike Nichols' advice to losers was adorable: "Cheer up, life isn't everything."
9:48 Did Michael Ausiello know that Keri Russell was going to be on the Tonys? Part of me thinks I should call him and tell him she's on, but I'm just too lazy.
10:16 My husband just congratulated Mr. Noodle when Bill Irwin won. Should I be concerned he's so familiar with Sesame Street when we don't even have any kids?
10:18 Are Cherry Jones and Sarah Paulson a couple? Who knew?
10:33 Somewhere, somehow, someday this bloated awards show will be over, but not before a pointless performance by Hugh Jackman and Aretha Franklin.
10:47 I stand corrected. Norbert won. As a Mets fan I've become used to disappointment, but it is nice to be pleasantly surprised for a change.
10:57 Spamalot takes home the top prize, but by the time they get their monstrous cast on stage their speech gets cut off. So annoying when the biggest award gets short shrift after a bunch of tedious filler used up valuable time. Angel Cohn
I love these tell-all eps that go behind the scenes and beyond the hallowed halls of Degrassi High. That's because they confirm what I've suspected all along: that the teenage cast members of Degrassi: The Next Generation are ridiculously talented but amazingly modest, acutely poised yet outrageously goofy, and artistically driven but serious minded. Stacey Farber, the subject of this half hour, is all that and more. When she let us peek inside her bedroom, her closet and her dressing room, we found out that she's actually the antithesis of her punk tough-girl, Ellie Nash. (Stacey prefers pink hoodies, pedicures and pop music to mesh, motorcycle jackets and metal.) Writers and producers described her as bubbly and friendly with an infectious laugh, quite the opposite of her brooding, moody character who was once featured in an emotional episode about self-mutilation. (I'm so glad that story line was brought up. Although considered controversial by some parents who believed the topic inappropriate for younger viewers, the shocking plot helped Stacey deliver her best performance by far.) In some ways, she's like every other high-school girl who doesn't have a hit TV show Stacey wears a school uniform every day, hangs out with old friends after school and sits down to dinner with her family every night. But when you see vivacious Stacey transform into tortured Ellie just as the cameras start to roll, you're reminded that this isn't just any adolescent. Which is exactly what makes this show um, the shizzle. Robin Honig
Got a comment for one of our Watercooler writers? Send it in via the feedback box at the bottom of the page.
Click here to listen to the official first installment of TVGuide.com's weekly Podcast featuring our staff's colorful take on the past week in entertainment. And don't forget to tell us what you think of it by calling 212-626-2525.
Every Friday at 8 get the lowdown on the most-talked-about TV of the week on TV Guide Channel's The 411. For a video preview of the show, click here.