<EM>The O.C.</EM> The O.C.

They. Are. So. Lucky. Honestly, heads were gonna roll if the finale faded out with Vince ditching "Aquaman." Ugh. It was bad enough that Eric was circling Ari's old job at the agency. To have our "It" boy quit a James Cameron movie and fire his best bud would have been too much, you know? Especially since we had to put up with him being all "I get to be a tool because Mandy Moore dumped me" for most of the episode. Thankfully, the proven wuss of "Queens Boulevard" backed out of backing out, so the movie's on, E's still on board and Ari is slowly on track to rebuilding the career he torched last week. Now if only he could sign someone other than The West Wing's chronically morose Richard Schiff and a brat who thinks of bailing on a project every time a girl gets in the way. Because if Vince doesn't grow up while shooting his comic-book breakthrough role, I may have to ask the HBO gods to refocus the show on Turtle's turning Saigon into a star instead of that whiner with the good hair and bad attitude. And for more Shawna, since Debi Mazar pretty much rocks. We'll see. It's a long time between now and next season. If Jeremy Piven can score that Emmy he so deserves on Sept. 18th, anything can happen, right?  Damian J. Holbrook


The Comeback
Am I allowed to quote other magazine's quotes about The Comeback? I hope so. I've been reading some really great stuff in the last few weeks in People and Entertainment Weekly. After reading all of this, I pictured Michael Jackson coming toward me singing "You Are Not Alone." And I'm so glad I'm not alone. I keep running into more and more people who love it and say the catchphrase. I just told a fellow fan that sometimes I think I am Valerie Cherish. Like when I'm at the gym and that same out-of-shape man walks around the locker room completely naked, I become Valerie and think to myself "I don't need to see that!" But I'm glad I did see tonight's very satisfying season or series  finale. It said a lot about how reality shows get edited so that there's more drama. The whole viewing-party scenario, with Valerie being humiliated in front of the cast, crew and her family, was disturbingly hilarious. "Reality TV is humiliation TV" said a crazed Valerie. Other highlights:
- Valerie's anti-Paulie G speech was awesome and way overdue.
- Shut up that Mickey, the most effeminate character on TV, finally came out, repeatedly introducing "my lover Robert."
- Gigi going on the Zone diet and then gorging at the chocolate fountain.
- Valerie calling Jane "Spider Eyes" and driving to her home with, of course, the camera crew.
- The brilliant use of the song "Cherish" by the Association during the end credits.

Valerie's appearance on Jay Leno was indeed classic (the episode was entitled "Valerie Does Another Classic Leno"). Her going from wanting to quit the show to being overjoyed that her show was picked up for a second season after only one episode just killed me. Let's hope HBO doesn't kill the show and allows The Comeback to come back.  Dave Anderson