Carnivàle I know I'm late on this second season premiere. But, dang! You mean the Russian soldier is the person behind Management's curtain? And Ben Hawkins is some kind of redeemer who must save the world from the A-bomb by taking Brother Crowe to Management's trailer? What a load of carny crap. I tell you, if this show didn't scare me so much (and if I didn't just figure out that the guy who plays Ben also saved the world as John Connor No. 2 on Terminator 3), I would stop watching. I sure would.50 First Dates Thanks to the thousand HBO channels that come with my digital cable package, I have now seen this movie about seven times in the last two weeks. Now, see, a normal person would channel-surf right on past. But I have to stop each time. I love it that much. The reason: because Adam Sandler's Henry character loves Drew Barrymore's Lucy character so much that he chooses a life where he has to make her fall in love with him again every single day rather than live without her. I mean, every morning it's, "Hi, I'm your husband. This is our child. You love me. Here's why." Sigh. It's the most romantic thing ever. Wait. Plus it has the greatest soundtrack. Rochell, focus. You're supposed to be watching The O.C. Change the channel. Change it.The O.C. Seven things: 1) What's wrong with the Cohen men? First Seth "spends the night with a lady," then Sandy forgets his 20th anniversary. Are you kidding me? 2) Why were Ryan and Lindsay making out to a song from the '80s love mix? Because... our young Ryan's a Journey fan. Right. Right. Now I remember. (I don't really, but I figure I should say that.) Thanks to all the people who reminded of that fact. 3) OK, enough with the inside jokes already. Last week's Mischa Barton Sixth Sense reference went right over my head. (Thanks to all the people who wrote to clue me in.) So now I know somebody on this show was an Abercrombie & Fitch model. I thought the Ken-doll guy who played Luke was one. But is the Zach guy an ex-model, too? I must know. Otherwise it's going to drive me crazy. Or at least drive me to Google. 4) Inside jokes aside, I thought tonight's episode was really well done. The way the writers melded the boys romantic story lines with the Cohens' marital/20th-anniversary woes, and the way they revealed that Kirsten still hasn't forgiven Sandy for letting Seth go to Portland or for making her the parental enforcer made me (for once!) not be ashamed of being addicted to a teen drama. 5) But(and there always is one)... Mama Cohen passive-aggressively asking Lindsay to choose between her sisterhood and Ryan, lest they have to be "friends," was just wrong. 6) And "Mrs. Cooper-Nichol" offering D.J. $5,000 to break up with her drunk daughter was just cheap. At least pretty-boy Boone on Lost paid his stepsister Shannon's boyfriend $50,000. Shoot. And they're not even real blood relations. 7) Lastly, Sandy hamming it up for his wife at the surprise party: sweet. Ryan slow dancing: not so sweet. Actually, it's more out-of-character. He is not Seth, people.Committed OK. So this week I'm more Marni. Why? Because girlfriend full-on made up a boyfriend named Raoul. And I've been so tempted to do that. I haven't yet. (Although, my friend Nerina will tell you that once I thought the guy I was dating was so great that he had to be a figment of my beautiful mind. But I digress.) What I did do was, as a kid, I invented a Mexican twin sister for myself. And I think I convinced this neighbor boy (and possibly myself) that I was her. Oh, god. Why do I own up to these things? Next week I'll be apologizing to my mother's neighbor. A few Christmases ago me and my little sister taught a fake language to her 2-year-old daughter. To this day she's probably wondering why the girl kept saying "Ah-bah-bab" every time she told her to "Come here."Life as We Know It The men on TV tonight are trying to break me. First you've got a guy making a brain-damaged woman fall for him again and again. Then Seth skateboards over to the bartender's house. Then, on Committed, Nate braved zillions of hospital germs to take Marni a cup of tea. (Tuesday he counted the steps from his house to hers.) Now Ben's risking the wrath of an angry black man to court Sue. I can't take it. TV guys like these are the reason I have unrealistic expectations of the men I date. Well, them plus Duckie, Brian Krackow, Dwayne Wayne and Lloyd Dobler. Lord help me, 'cause I'm going to drown in all this syrupy-sweetness. Seriously. I'm getting high off all these isn't-he-great? vibes. So much so that I'm willing not to go off over the fact that Jonathan shamelessly hit on Deb's cousin, and Ben's corny dad did everything but back flip, he was so proud that his son bagged a teacher babe. See how I'm letting that go? See how I'm not letting it ruin my buzz?The Latest McDonald's "I'm Loving It" commercial Don't they [pause] see That this in this spot They've created a Parody A Mockery A Disgrace To the way And the pace At which those spoken word artists Speak? Badum, bum-bum-bum. I'm not loving it.Tilt On the other hand, how can I not love a show where Michael Madsen plays a poker player called "The Matador" and brags, "If I run out of toilet paper at home, I wipe my [bleep!] with eight grand"? Or where Eddie Cibrian outbluffs an old-school player, then takes part in the following exchange: Old guy: You played 'em like you had a pair. Eddie: I played them cause I have a pair. Come on, now. ESPN is bringing the corny goodness. Seriously. The one-liners on this show had me rolling. I just wish I understood more of them. I mean, I know fourth-graders are playing Texas Hold'em right now. And I occasionally follow along with Celebrity Poker Showdown. But I still don't get all the lingo. I get the whole story. Three poker-playing puppies plot to take out the big dog. But I'm going to need an interpreter next week to explain how my chops deadhanded into the river or something.CSI All right. An undercover reporter messed with his favorite band, so Juanito killed her. Boy, Swimfan had nothing on this guy. He's stalker-fan super-loco. And, as if running her over with his truck wasn't bad enough, Juanito paid a witch doctor to cut off her head and work some Mexican mojo. That's cold. My question, though, is why did he have to wear a lock of her hair on his belt? And did he not think of the little children? The poor paperboy who found that reporter's head is going to be scarred for life. I'm just saying.Extreme Makeover Just when I thought I'd broken up with this show, the promos pulled me back in. "Amy is the most difficult case of my entire professional career," they showed the doctor saying. All right. You've got me. I'll watch. [30 minutes later] And now I'm pissed. I hate to say it, but Amy was not ugly enough. From the way they were talking in the commercials, I thought she was going to be missing a nose or something. But she wasn't. She just had bad teeth, an Olive Oyl body and a long Cher head. As I learned from The Swan, most of those things are totally fixable. Granted, the doctor did a great job turning her into a drag queen-esque mama. And Anastasia did work magic on her eyebrows. But there was no miracle here. Oh, and another thing, when are these shows going to own up to the fact that some of their patients got their scary teeth while feeding a serious drug habit? I'm not saying Las Vegas Amy a married mother of two children did drugs. Not at all. I'm just saying that a lot of crazy-crooked, rotten-tooth smiles I've seen on this show (and The Swan) look a lot like the crackhead grins I see on the train. That's all.ER Damn. Abby had a bad day. First Susan ripped into everything she ever did wrong. Then some thug kids kidnapped her and forced her to treat their brother. And the icing on this sick-cake? While Abby was riding around in an SUV, fearing that the kids would kill her if she couldn't patch up the dying, stereotypical, black gang-banger with an emergency sewing kit, her coworkers back at the hospital just thought she was off pouting somewhere, mad. Thanks, Carter. While I'm ranting, let's go back to the misleading promos for tonight's episode. Not for nothing, but the next time NBC runs commercials that make it look like one of their main characters is going to get shot, they'd better off somebody, or at least drop another helicopter on a doctor. For real. They spent a week making me think that Abby's life was in danger, or that she would at least have to watch some innocent guy get killed. Then all they do is shoot a wounded cat. That's not cool. I mean, I hate to be mad that a woman's life was spared or that someone wasn't killed. But NBC needs to not tease about murder. That's all I'm saying.Primetime Live I can't even talk about the 42 witness accounts from Michael Jackson's grand jury. Forty-two!! Remember the King of Pop? He used to be cool. He used to be black. He used to not be a suspected pedophile. We loved him. Now I have to hear how he took kids into a bedroom guarded by special sensors and seven door locks, gave a sick boy Jesus Juice, surfed porn sites and offered to teach some kid to masturbate. And I could go on. But I won't. It's too depressing.