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

More quotable quotes this week, and I'm happy to jot them all down. "The world ends when you're dead," Al tells Merrick. "Until then you've got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man, and give some back."

And thus the hour begins, at its very start letting me know how much this show's gotten under my skin. Well, actually, it's my wife who lets me know, walking through the room in time to take in a string of profanity from one of Deadwood's many potty-mouthed townspeople. "Did people really talk like that back then?" she asks. "Like what?" I reply. And then it dawns on me: I don't even notice the cussing anymore. Now, some of society's self-appointed cultural guardians would say that's how the filthy media make us coarser, by numbing us to such talk. I say it only means I've become immersed in good storytelling. Anyway, &%$@ 'em.

"A penny for your thoughts?" E.B. asks Alma. "I'm glad to be leaving your company," she counters. That one's worth a lot more than a penny. Who says the rich girl doesn't have any grit?

I seldom take true pleasure in watching violence, but what catharsis to see Charlie kick Wolcott all over the street! That's one well-earned beating, to be sure, and even more interesting considering it's actor Garret Dillahunt, who also played the Wild Bill-killing Jack McCall, on the receiving end. And speaking of just and fair retribution, it's notable that Al hates the Pinkertons (and, probably, Tolliver) so much that he's in full scheming mode trying to undermine them and George Hearst. Wonder if we'll ever find out what they did to him.

Back to the quotes. "Tread lightly, he who lives in hope of p---y," Trixie tells Sol. Wise counsel, ma'am, but you'll seldom find a guy who can keep that in mind a good part of the time; the vast majority manage to forget just when it counts most, too.

But it's simpleminded Johnny who spurs the wrap-up exchange of the evening. "Full day, eh, boss?" he asks Al, to which our favorite sometime evildoer replies, "They all are."

Indeed. — MP

Grey's Anatomy
This show just gets better every week. The key ingredient to keep me watching a new show is characters I care about. What goes into that is a combo of great acting and writing, and this one has both. It was nice to learn more about Katherine Heigl's Izzie character. Her story line hit home the most for me. The revelation of why the prostate cancer patient didn't want Izzie to be around made me cry, since my own father had the same operation. Fortunately, my dad, like the patient, survived the operation and is doing fine today. (Dad, however, didn't get the same uplifting result, if you know what I mean.) Cue the Debbie Downer sound effect now.

The story of the former nurse with pancreatic cancer was also powerful. I knew that was Anna Maria Horsford from Amen the second she spoke. Loved her since she played the streetwalker in St. Elmo's Fire who asked Andrew McCarthy, "Wanna date?" Glad it was Sandra Oh's Cristina character who was assigned to her. Am I the only one who thought Sandra deserved an Oscar nomination (along with a Globe and SAG nom) for Sideways just as much, if not more, than Virginia Madsen? Oh, yes, indeed she did!

Then there was the dude who shot seven nails into his head with a nail gun. Lovely. You know I was just waiting for someone to make a Hellraiser comment, and I was happy when they did. Nailed it. — Dave Anderson

Saturday Night Live
In the course of one monologue New England Patriots QB Tom Brady sang, hoofed ("I'd gladly trade my cleats for dancing shoes"), impersonated Kermit the Frog, spoke Japanese and boasted that he could kill a horse with his bare hands. (Any clunk can win three Super Bowl rings in four years — try being funny.)

Biggest laugh: Martin Short as Jiminy Glick on Weekend Update. After praising Amy Poehler and Tina Fey for being "inspirations to young lesbians everywhere," Glick screened a 1975 interview with a ponderously glib Lorne Michaels (Will Forte). In it, Glick accused "Lorne" of being "boring," choked on a bagel or a doughnut (I couldn't tell which) and predicted SNL would be axed before the end of its first season.

Best sketch: The Levitra ad send-up, "Dr. Porkenheimer's Boner Juice," oozed "thick," "sturdy" and "meaty" chuckles. (Coinkidinkally, Mad TV also did a Levitra spoof.) Honorable mention: TV Funhouse's "Sexual Harassment and You." Brady brought grace and savoir faire worthy of Cary Grant to his squeezing of Poehler's right breast.

Another coinkidink: The Behind the Music spoof of the rapping '85 Super Bowl Shuffle Bears was nearly as original as The Onion's from last year.

Worst sketch: Poehler's spastic Caitlin was as endearing as the D.T.'s. One cure: Mute the TV and play Muddy Waters' "Rollin' and Tumblin'" on a beautiful black Rickenbacker 350 nicknamed "Holly."

The Bono Award for pretentiousness above and beyond the call of egomania: Doe-eyed musical guest Beck Hansen played two forgettable songs while a bearded foob in a flight suit jived like an epileptic and banged on a can for some postpostmodern purpose that eluded America.

To summarize: Tom Brady and Lorne Michaels can laugh at themselves, but Beck is a "Loser"; Maya Rudolph, jazz and tippling go together like Brady, the Patriots and Super Bowl rings; you can never play enough Muddy Waters. — G. J. Donnelly

Reefer Madness
Showtime hits a new high with its musical spoof. Taking aim at the paranoia about drugs among teenagers in a pre-"Just say no" world, Alan Cumming stars as the Lecturer, who brings an antimarijuana propaganda film filled with death and destruction into a community that doesn't even know how to pronounce the name of the offensive weed. As one good citizen asks, "Do you know how to say this word? I don't speak Mexican."

The send-up features Jimmy Harper (Christian CampbellNeve's big brother) a do-gooder who goes to pot when he meets up with bad influences Jack (Steven Weber) and Mae (SNL alum Ana Gasteyer). While it's nice to see that the Wings guys are all doing well lately, I'm feeling a little annoyed that I heard Neve Campbell's name associated with this production so much and she's only in ONE scene. Yeah, one. And while she's adorable as a singing and dancing waitress, she could probably have done that at Johnny Rockets and earned way more cash in tips. At least Kristen Bell, aka Veronica Mars, does get a substantial amount of screen time as Goody Two-shoes Mary Lane. But I think the image of her in a tight leather dominatrix outfit might affect the way I look at my favorite little sleuth. Quibbles aside, I actually laughed out loud several times, probably more in this two-hour stretch than during the entire run of SNL since Gasteyer left. From the young lovers who eagerly fantasize that they'll end up like Romeo and Juliet (neither of them has quite been able to finish the play), to the annoyingly catchy lyrics that are completely inappropriate to sing in mixed company — "Turning all our children into hooligans and whores!" — it's all wickedly funny, colorful, delightfully costumed and chock-full of satirical goodness. Couldn't help but love Alan Cumming playing FDR and making references to Annie, especially since he just starred in the recent Annie redo. Very meta. But it's almost a shame that it was a one-time deal, because now I've got the munchies, and would happily scarf down another helping. — Angel Cohn

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