Arrested Development
Anyone else get the sense that the writers were already getting nostalgic tonight? Not that I wasn't, too. If we're crying on the inside while watching the show's dying breath, we might as well get to laugh on the outside at some of its great recurring jokes. When Michael announced his wedding plans, George Sr. and Lucille reacted the same way they all did to George Michael's ex, Ann: "Who?" Then there was Lindsey imitating Lucille's scary wink. And my personal favorite was Gob's good-natured, "Look at Banner, Michael!" and the banner that said, "Michael Love Marry." As for new jokes, I loved the references to the actors'/characters' past: Lucille was apparently once a waitress at Stuckey's; Buster got his hook stuck when dancing to "Mr. Roboto" in the stair car, referencing

Tony Hale's pre-

AD claim to fame as the guy in that Volkswagen ad; and the picture that flashed to show what Rita looked like before plastic surgery was of Charlize Theron in Monster. Rita's innocent MRF humor and the knowledge that her relationship with Michael was about to fall apart even added to the bittersweet feeling of the episode. She managed to charm the whole family, going shopping with Lindsey, watching Gob's magic tricks, helping Maeby with a preposterous story, calling Tobias a "poofter," being the billionaire daughter-in-law Lucille and George Sr. always wanted. I kind of wonder if her simplicity is meant as a metaphor for Americans' taste in comedy; people come in droves to watch the easy, uncomplicated humor and wrinkle their noses at anything more challenging. Oh, sorry, that's just my bitter judgment call. Man, I need a surrogate to be able to blame for these outbursts. PS Thanks to Scott, who wrote in to say that Rita's walking away on water wasn't just one of Gob's illusions; it was a reference to Peter Sellers' simple-minded character in Being There.  Sabrina Rojas Weiss

Las Vegas
Well, they didn't call this episode "Down and Dirty" for nothing. A porn convention takes up temporary residence at the Montecito, which means I can't write about half the things that happened; I'm going to take the high road and remain somewhat family-friendly. Let me just say that there was an ample amount of adult-oriented puns, situations, fun porn movie titles and a cameo from some guy I've never heard of named Ron Jeremy. (That's the story I'm sticking to.)

Let's move on to things of the Barry Bostwick persuasion, shall we? Called on to direct Big Ed's TV commercial, it turns out his character used to date Ed's wife, Jillian. Let's see, Cheryl Ladd and Barry Bostwick. A few Googles later and I find out that back in the day (1978), Barry was in a Season 2 episode of Charlie's Angels that definitely falls under the Kris Munroe era. Guess who else guest-starred in that one? The A-Team's Dirk Benedict! Awesome! While I was taking a trip down memory lane, I reflected on my all-time favorite Bostwick projects: 5) George Washington; 4) Rocky Horror Picture Show; 3) Judith Krantz's I'll Take Manhattan; 2) Judith Krantz's Scruples; and 1) Judith Michael's Deceptions (Stefanie Powers plays twins!).

Can I just say I love anytime James Caan and Cheryl Ladd have a scene together? More, please. I can't believe I know who real-life poker master Howard Lederer is. I knew the schoolteacher couldn't beat him fair and square. Hey, just realized that teacher and cheater have the exact same letters. Just do a little rearranging. I know, I'm a doofus. Anyway, since I am being such a geek, I noticed that Star Trek: Voyager's Robert Duncan McNeill (Lt. Tom Paris) directed this Las Vegas. And when I did a little more research, I found out that a couple of other actors have directed the Las Vegas crew this season: Namely Animal House's Tim Matheson and Starsky himself, Paul Michael Glaser. Love it!  Bettina Charles