So, are random acts of kindness really random and truly kind if they're motivated by a million-dollar prize? I'm gonna go with no, but the four finalists (slimy Spencer, loudmouth Linda, flaky Tiffaney and flighty Famia) seem to think so. Mark Cuban's directive: Bring happiness to the people of Dallas without spending any money. Sounds simple enough (hello, volunteer work!). So for the life of me, I can't understand why Spencer and Linda go for laughs, hitting the streets dressed up in sumo wrestling suits. At least they come to their senses on Day 2 when they visit a nursing home, sans sumo belts. But their intentions are so transparent ("There won't be a doubt this will put us over the top," says a smug Spencer as he plays checkers with a 94-year-old woman), I swear they spend the entire time imagining how they'll spend the mil. Tiffaney and Famia do the better job, handing out food to the homeless and flowers to strangers on the street. I'd say they won this task, but Cuban decides to boot the contestants who don't firmly critique their competitors. Big surprise: The ones with the biggest mouths, Linda and Famia, make the cut. Which proves exactly what in the business world?
Is it just me, or is Scott Wolf looking mighty hot? But even with the facial hair, he's still too boyish to pass as an M.D. — and probably better suited at Scrubs' Sacred Heart Hospital than in private practice on Everwood's Main Street. But hey, as long as he skips the wide-eyed earnestness that seems to have afflicted everyone else in this tiny town, I'm willing to let him play doctor. Loved why he left L.A. for Everwood: He didn't want to "live in a place where people wear Kabbalah bracelets to feel connected." Maybe some of his quirkiness will rub off on Dr. Brown, the too-good-to-be-true doctor/father/friend to everyone, who utters such platitudes as "You don't let go of your memories. They live inside you and you take them with you wherever you go." You just want to kick the guy, until he shows his tortured, sensitive side. Then you want to slap him. Taking on his son's problems is quite noble. But parading them around like the weight of the world rests on his shoulders smacks of needless melodrama. Lighten up, man!
Everybody Loves Raymond
Would it be so bad if Debra and Ray were ever on the same page at the same time? Their moody teenager is failing math and has turned into an impossible brat. The good news: They both want to help Ally. The bad news: They go all Mars/Venus deciding exactly how to do it. That they always charge off in different directions is what makes Raymond more infuriating than funny. Debra bonds with the dorky math teacher, who shares her frustrations in dealing with an unpredictable 13-year-old. And, naturally, Ray hates him. ("If X equals lame, then that guy is four times X," he explains.) By the time Debra finds her way over to Ray's side, and realizes that the teacher does have unrealistic expectations, Ray's taken on Debra's rigidness. Now he's demanding his daughter stay away from boys and study harder, case closed. I'd be happier if these two could somehow find the least common denominator.
Two and a Half Men
Random question: Why does Charlie Sheen, who spent years living fast and partying harder, look younger and healthier than skinny, droopy-eyed Jon Cryer? Honey, you could use a nap and a decent meal. Don't worry, you have a hit show on your hands. And it's funny! But one suggestion: Alan needs to be spending less time standing over his kid, and more time bantering with Charlie. (Hilarious exchange about Charlie's new girlfriend: "So are you playing it slow," Alan asks, "or as if you were developmentally challenged?") We get that you're polar opposites, you with the ugly shirts and obvious tics and insecurities, Charlie with the slick duds and even slicker way with the ladies. So work off each other a little more.
Full disclosure: I am extremely squeamish, so watching a violent drama is torture. (Not to mention the fact that I missed the end of the extra-inning Yankees/Red Sox game. Go, Yankees!). Much to my surprise, I find the investigating kinda cool. The crime-scene part of the show, not so much. I could live without the flashbacks of the nightclub murder, especially the squishing and squirting of the young girl's organs. And hello, do I really need to see the open gash on that guy's neck? But I'm intrigued by all of those funky chemicals and gadgets that reveal asthma inhalant on the murdered girl's lips, and vodka and fruit juices (a Cosmopolitan) on her bloody dress. There are so many pieces of evidence to track, I wish the entire hour focused on the dead girl. The other murder, in the spa, and the discovery of a Hungarian slave trade seem completely unnecessary, only there to give David Caruso a chance to walk into the sunset a hero. Gotta keep the big talent happy, ya know.
Degrassi: The Next Generation
It's obvious why Craig chooses cherubic Manny over awkward Emma in this second-season rerun. Whoever said love is blind is lying. (Besides, how could he know Emma would become such a hottie just a few years later?) You gotta feel for Em as she suffers her first blow of adolescent rejection — and while dressed up as Cyndi Lauper, no less. Then she comes home from the '80s dance to find her mom swapping spit with her computer teacher on their front porch. Ewwww!!! Though she probably should've grounded Em's skinny butt for sneaking out to crash senior's night, Spike did the right thing by comforting her daughter. 'Cause she knows there's no trouble like boy trouble. Hang in there, Emma. It does get better.