FRIDAYThe Daytime Emmy Awards Ellen DeGeneres is right. Daytime

is the new nighttime! It's also educational, and not just in the Sesame Street way. No, there are true lessons to be learned from all the high cheekbones and low-cut dresses. Check it out... 1) Soap religion lesson: Show openers Deidre Hall, Eric Braeden and Susan Lucci are the holy trinity of daytime. Sadly, they were saddled with ungodly dialogue. And could someone please get Erica Kane a doughnut?! 2) LOVING that The Young and the Restless' Greg Rikaart and Christian Jules LeBlanc took Outstanding Supporting and Lead Actor for playing the scariest brothers this side of the Menendez boys. Gives me hope for the Holbrook sibs. 3) Soap math lesson: A cancer survivor who was raped by her fianc&#233's evil look-alike is greater than, not equal to, a baby snatcher, two barely ex-alcoholics, a white-trash barfly and Crystal Chappell. So congrats to General Hospital's Natalia Livingston on both your Outstanding Younger Actress win and for sparing yourself a lifetime of Hilary Swank jokes with that last-minute shout-out to costar and lovah Tyler Christopher. Nice. 4) One Life to Live's Heather Tom, Nefertiti called. She wants her eyeliner back. Take Hunter Tylo's platinum toga gown with you, OK? 5) "Rob and Amber Get Married"? How about "Rob and Amber Get Lost." So tired of those two. 6) Oh, my god. Guiding Light's former Phillip, Grant Aleksander looks awful. Is he on the Erica Kane diet? 7) Soap logic lesson! Leave a show, win an Emmy. Both Outstanding Younger Actor and Actress trophies went to kids no longer on the canvas. And while Eden Riegel totally deserved it for making Bianca so much more than All My Children's token lesbian, Y&R's diabetic pushover Raul, David Lago, needs to give his back just for that insane speech. I didn't realize nitrous was included in the shindig's goody bags. 8) "Amber Frey: Witness for the Prosecution"? How about "Rob, Amber and Amber Get Lost"? Seriously, CBS, this is what you're touting? 9) AMC's David Canary and Oscar the Grouch: the cutest same-sex couple that isn't Ellen and Portia DeRossi. 10) Bobby Flay married Stephanie March?! 11) Merv Griffin should be beaten with his Lifetime Achievement Award for discovering Ryan Seacrest and not putting him back where he found him. 12) Hey, is that "International heartthrob" Lorenzo Lamas? 13) Only two good things have come out of the loss of the great Bill Bell: Susan Flannery's loving tribute and the comfort of knowing that my mom — who gave me my love for soaps — is up there thanking the man who gave her the best parts of Y&R, GL, The Bold and the Beautiful, Days of our Lives and Another World. "Such a storyteller shall not pass this way again soon." 14) Eight Outstanding Lead Actress nominees and they give it to OLTL's Erika Slezak? The woman has five already! I mean, yeah, she now has more than anyone else, but what about her costar, Kassie DePaiva? The poor girl spent like, a month trapped in a car trunk. Or Guiding Light's Kim Zimmer? You know, playing menopause can't be easy. 15) Soap history lesson! In 1971, As the World Turns distinguished itself as the first daytime drama to be featured on the cover of TV Guide. Tonight it scored the gold for Outstanding Writing Team, even though they recycled half of their plots from last year and still can't find something juicy for Elizabeth Hubbard's delicious Lucinda. Come on folks, get on that! 16) Maybe we could save a little time by just giving Best Talk Show and Talk-Show Host out at the same time? That way Ellen wouldn't have to keep getting up. 17) Looks like Y&R's Eric Braeden found his goody bag. Either that, or sharing the stage with Aretha Franklin has him all flustered. 18) And the Outstanding Drama goes to... General Hospital! Because nothing says love in the afternoon like mobsters, kidnappings, sexual assaults and drug lords. Of course, executive producer Jill Farren Phelps didn't get to say anything about GH's record-shattering eight wins since she was so rudely cut off seconds into her speech. Hmmm. I wonder what would have happened if a CBS show had won? — Damian J. HolbrookSUNDAY

Desperate Housewives
Wow. Rex died. Just like that. I can't believe how sad I felt watching Bree get the news and then, after the initial shock, gradually break down into uncontrollable tears. Like real life sometimes, we were blindsided by this, so the effect is both overwhelming and hard to digest. And to think Rex's final thoughts were that his wife possibly killed him (which he didn't know wasn't the case). Even though Bree had that hard-to-reconcile moment last week in which she waited to take Rex to the hospital (also because of a George-created plot), it seemed like earlier in the episode that the Van De Kamps had somehow moved past this. I imagine that at some point next season we'll see Bree discover what Rex meant by his cryptic note and it will be beyond heartbreaking.

What else? Well, John finally confronted Carlos and told him that he beat up the wrong guy. Oh you're s-o-o-o brave, you lame-o. Saying that to Carlos in a courtroom full of people and armed officers as he's about to go back to his cell must be the chicken move of the year. What a wuss. And finally not being a wuss was Tom, who, after finding out about Lynette's questionable scheme, told his loving wife that it was time for her to go back to work. Thank god. Sorry, but there've been more than enough "Lynette randomly yelling at her boys" scenes.

At the very beginning of the series, Susan asked, "Mary Alice, what did you do?" And now we finally know the entire sordid mess. But except for the actual knife thrust, nothing was particularly new or shocking. What I am surprised about though, is that it seems ridiculously obvious that Zach is Mike's son. (Two Watercooler readers e-mailed me with this theory several weeks ago.) Boy, just think how proud Mike will be to reconnect with his violent, out-of-his-mind offspring. "So let me get this straight, while I was threatening to kill your 'adoptive' father, you clocked Felicia Tillman? Huh."

With that, this year's prime-time phenomenon ends its first season. However, before I wrap up this sucker, I have one final question: Who was DH's most pathetic character? Sure, George and Zach (and maybe even Susan) are strong contenders. But I think it is, without a doubt, Edie. And not because she seeks companionship any way she can get it. It's simple, really: Just remember — she's the one who actually has to sell real estate on Wisteria Lane. Good luck with that. — Danny Spiegel

Grey's Anatomy
Well I'd been waiting for those "last five minutes" since last week's previews. Very interesting. Derek Shepherd has a wife! But now we have to wait until the fall to find out if Addison Shepherd is a recent ex-wife, or if they are going through a separation or — who knows? Very primetime soap. But that sort of fits after watching Desperate Housewives, eh?

Since George is my fave character, it was great that he had to expose himself to and (literally) get poked by Alex, Izzie, Cristina and Meredith. Loved it when he had to tell Mayim Bialik, I mean Olivia, that he had syphilis. Loved it even more when it was revealed that it was Alex who gave Olivia and George "the syph." My favorite moment was Cristina and Dr. Burke standing in the syphilis line telling each other they hadn't had sex with anyone else. "Do I need to be in this line?" "No." Then they walk away in unison — loved the smile on Sandra Oh's face!

And, of course, I must mention the obscure guest stars. First there was Lauren Bowles as the bitchy daughter of the man with the enlarged stomach. It was driving me crazy trying to remember where I'd seen her before. Voil&#224! She's Julia Louis Dreyfus' real-life sister and played her sis on Watching Ellie. But portraying her mother (and you don't get more obscure than this) was the barely recognizable Patty McCormack. TV fanatics will remember Patty as Jeffrey Tambor's wife on The Ropers, but movie fanatics go way back with child actress Patty as the title character in The Bad Seed. — Dave Anderson


5:00 am-6:00 am
While Jack was this hour's hero for saving Tony's life, the entire 60 minutes really hinged on Michelle, who did the right thing by telling Buchanan she was being blackmailed by the terrorist. For a second I really thought Michelle might call off all those field agents, especially since Tony once committed treason to save her life. (Here's an idea for a required course at CTU school: "Relationships with a Fellow Agent: Don't Do It. No, We Really Mean It.") Talk about an ethical dilemma — your love interest/ex-husband or millions of dead people? Luckily, her choice set in motion the capture of the terrorist who then led Jack to Marwan. Here's what I learned:
1) Marwan knew some freakin' hot terrorists. Mandi's a cross between Jennifer Connelly (long, straight, black hair covering intense eyes) and Angelina Jolie circa Tomb Raider (complete with teeny-tiny, tight black shorts and gun strapped to her way-muscular leg). No wonder Marwan wanted her to escape the country with him!
2) Rain doesn't wash away bloody footprints. A smart move by Tony, who cut his toe so that Jack could find him.
3) But rain should have been heard on tape if Miss Hot Terrorist (MHT) was indeed the one inside the getaway car. Which can only mean one thing: Tony's still alive! Oh, and that MHT sent her two neighbors to die in the car blast. (Reminder to self: Be really, really nice to the people living next door.)
4) Logan suffered more meltdowns than a thirsty Courtney Love fresh out of rehab. This time I half expected Palmer to slap him across the face. "Act presidential!" he barked at him after Logan whined about the missing missile. How about acting normal instead?
5) CTU needs to train their agents better. Man, did Burns give it up too fast or what? And they didn't even lay a hand on the guy. What a wuss!

6:00 am-7:00am
Our poor hero, Jack, forced to fake his own death... Looks like he got the raw end of the deal with Marwan dead (who really expected him to be taken alive?), the missile shot out of the air (phew!), the war with the Chinese averted (phew again!) and Michelle and Tony living happily ever after (awww!). Guess that's the burden of saving the world. Here's what I learned:
1) Palmer should have run for (and won) a second term. What was classier than signing off on the MHT's (see above) immunity deal even after finding out she once tried to kill him?
2) If you can't escape the country with MHT, then you might as well free-fall to your death off a parking-lot deck.
3) A point-blank shot from an automatic weapon won't wipe out the hard drive in a GPS system. (I drop my laptop once and I lose everything. Go figure!)
4) You can't decode any information with a correlation matrix unless you expand the parameter. Duh! (Just ask Chloe.)
5) Never trust a politician. Did you notice how fast Logan turned on Palmer after thanking him for saving the day? Same goes for security chief Cummings, who immediately went against Logan's wishes by putting a hit on Jack.
6) When absolutely necessary, find a way to stage your own death. Do a really good job of stopping your heart and your breathing, and bring along some fake blood. Oh, and hope like hell the epinephrine works. (Good thing it did....)

Talk about a looooong 24 hours. But you did good, Jack, and saved millions of people. Hope you find your way back to us and to CTU. See you next year. — Robin Honig

Cue the sensitive Natalie Merchant "My Beloved Wife" tune over an image of a distraught Harold Abbot praying in the toilet while Andy slices and dices that terrible tumor and the weepy waterworks start flowing for this Everwood fan and don't stop until after the show returns from the commercial break. Thankfully the heavy drama took a slightly more upbeat turn with news on the romance front: Andy kissin' Nina and sparking even more conflict in the love triangle with Dr. Dimples; the often unseen Delia making the first move and telling Ethan that she likes him; and last, but certainly not least, Hannah ditching Shasta McSpastic and finally getting her first "sweaty" kiss from Bright. YAY! I've been waiting all season for the show's two most likable and endearing characters finally to give in to their mutual attraction. I just knew that once he licked her butterscotch-pudding top, things were going in the right direction. And speaking of the right direction, glad that Dr. Abbot finally gave Andy what-for. The no-nonsense doc took his partner to task for just about every wrongdoing imaginable — what a brilliantly composed wake-up call! — then apologized (unnecessarily, if you ask me) and just as convincingly gave an emotional speech begging his best friend to stay in town. Color me teary-eyed again over that, and over Harold's honest admission that he trusted Amy to do the right thing after he hit her with the zinger about Zoloft. So perfect. Frankly, the Abbot family is the best reason for anyone to stay in this small town. From the gruff head of the household to the ailing true head of the household and town mayor to the sometimes self-involved but always interesting Amy to the adorably sensitive Bright to no-nonsense Grandma Edna — these are people worth knowing, and I'm glad that I get to watch their little fake family every week for an hour and a good cry. — Angel Cohn


Rob and Amber Get Married
OK, first things first: I actually like Rob and Amber. I know that's not a popular opinion, but I've talked to them a couple of times and they seem genuinely happy together and, as grating as Rob can be, he actually kind of cracks me up. I did grow up in New England, after all. I really thought it was sweet that Amber wanted to get her dress made by a local Beaver, Pa., dressmaker instead of some haute couture designer. That said, I can't even deal with watching my own hourlong wedding video, let alone this two-hour extravaganza. This is the exactly why I avoided Trista and Ryan's nuptials like the plague. Not to mention that I'm sick of hearing about their Panamanian love affair, when Rob fell for Amber's slammin' ass and Amber loved the way Rob looked shirtless with a hammer. So romantic. Oprah party-guru Colin Cowie — or CC, as Rob dubbed him — was on hand, courtesy of CBS, to pimp this wedding, though he seemed utterly baffled at the prospect of having surf and turf or sausage and peppers at an upscale affair. And the product placements just kept on rolling in. I'm guessing they didn't have to dip into Ambah's million bucks or their runner-up Race winnings to pay for this swanky to-do. I did wonder, since Rob and Amber managed to get pretty much everything they could wish for — a fully decked-out new house (which his parents actually bought), access to the Red Sox' spring training, fancy food and a huge party — if they were miffed that Mother Nature uncooperatively decided to make the wind gust out of control and blow Amber's veil around, getting it stuck in a flowered archway. (Which my friend Monica said she deserved because the veil looked like a flowing roll of toilet paper.) I also couldn't help but be curious that I didn't notice any former Survivor or Amazing Race cast members at the shindig. (Someone spotted TAR's Ray and Deana, but they're crazy, so that doesn't count.) Does that mean that people didn't enjoy Romber's scheming and conniving game play enough to still be friends with them? Or did they just not want to be on camera? The guests who actually showed off for the cameras were Rob's Beantown buddies. When one of them wore an "I heart Rob" T, I actually laughed out loud. And seeing those big, burly guys redecorating was much-needed comic relief. I'm just hopeful that the overexposed reality duo will take a break from the limelight for a while, because even I don't want to see them on "The Surreal Life: The Married-Couple Edition" anytime soon. — AC

One Tree Hill
Yes! Now that is how a finale is done! Dag, Jake split town to find awful Nikki and their kid, leaving Peyton in a pile of tears and perfect curls until her possibly real mom showed up looking just like Laura Palmer. Lucas finally told Brooke that he loved her seconds before she left to visit her folks. More tears. Deb came home from rehab and raced right back into saving Nathan from his plague of a dad. Hailey showed up in time for the end credits. Even more tears. And someone torched Scott Motors with a drugged Dan inside. No tears, just cheers. It was classic. At first I thought it was just going to be a poisoning, what with the laced scotch. Then the cameras panned to that gloved hand and the lighter. I felt like Krystal and Alexis were gonna come rolling right through the window of Dan's office! Which wouldn't have been too shocking, since the damn thing was shattered twice tonight. So as we fade to black, let's check our list of suspects:
Deb: The worst husband in the world lied to Nathan about Deb's pill addiction to trick him into moving back home and named her as the co-owner of his fraudulent business. Too obvious.
Nathan: Um, hello? The last 17 years of horrifying fathering? But too Greek-tragedy.
Whitey: Maybe threatening his career and blocking Nathan from attending basketball camp pushed this one over the edge? Yeah, but he's too kindly-old-wise-coach.
Hailey: Dan did force her into filing for an annulment from Nathan, right? Nah. She's too... Hailey. We love her.
Lucas: The dad he never wanted cut off his heart-med funds, abandoned Karen when she was preggers with him and has spent at least one scene in every episode growling about how his bastard son means nothing to him. That would be too cool if it were him.
Andy: The dude's a guest star, Dan had him deported and Karen will never love him like she loved Keith. Ding! Ding! Ding!
Keith: Big bro hired Jules to dupe him to the altar, bought out his business and stole Karen from him when they were teens. Remember, she did spot him on the street, so he could be back home to settle the score.
Karen: See Nathan, Lucas, Keith, Deb and Andy. Especially Andy. It is so him. — DJH


American Idol
8:02 Truth? I love 'em both, but I had to go with Bo. OK, and Carrie. She'll probably win, but he's gonna get a deal anyway. I'm a finale geek, I know. And don't worry, I'm taping Lost, so even if this thing sucks air, all won't be, er... lost.
8:05 Oh, no. The Top 10 are slaughtering "Good Vibrations." Not a good sign. And they look like Kids, Incorporated on Red Bull.
8:06 It's so nice to see Ryan in men's clothing again.
8:07 Accck!!! Mikalah's on the red carpet! Run, Kirstie Alley! Hide, Marg Helgenberger! Save yourselves!
8:11 "Your results, coming up." Um, Ryan... that's not for another 109 minutes. Stop it.
8:15 Check out Season 2's LaToya London in Bo's Alabama hometown. Awww, good times, good times. She was so robbed.
8:17 Love Bogart on "Vehicle," but we heard this last night. Smoke break!
8:23 OK, what did I miss? Ooooh, it's last year's frat-boy troubadour, Matt Rogers, live from Carrie's Oklahoma 'hood. Hitting on the mayor. Nice.
8:26 Is it me, or did country girl just send "Angels Brought Me Here" straight to the rafters? Even better than Tuesday night. And no crack. Hmmm.
8:33 Time to visit the judges' green rooms. Uh-oh. Randy's working a black suit with white shoes. Ick. Paula's First Lady hair scares me. And Simon is showing way too much U.K. man chest. My eyes! My eyes!
8:42 - 8:49 More Southerners screaming with Matt and LaToya. I think Simon's right about LaToya being tipsy. Probably turned to booze after being robbed!
9:00 Finally, the real show starts. Pass the crackers, 'cause the cheese is coming!
9:03 And here it is... Bo and Carrie just dueted on "Up Where We Belong."
9:05 They both get brand-new Fords? Dayyyummm.
9:07 I think I have a crush on Carrie. How do I tell Vonzell?
9:10 More clips from bad auditions. Oh, well, time to scratch Pepito the Wonder Chihuahua's belly until he passes out.
9:11 Those two loser auditioners Adam and Dirk were invited to the show? What? And David Hasselhoff? Come on, Fox. We've given up like, 50 nights to watch this damn karaoke contest. You couldn't throw a brotha and his Mexican superhero dog a bone?
9:21 All right, the "Simon's Bad Judgment" report spoofing the Coreygate scandal was delicious. Randy cutting a song called "Dawgtics," the telltale items from Too-Tight Tees, Paula crying "He started rejecting me." All because of Cowell's sordid affair... with himself. If only Life on a Stick had been this funny.
9:32 All-Star Medley! The Idols with their idols. This should be... scary?
9:33 Ahhh, Carrie and Rascal Flatts on "God Bless the Broken Road." So far, so good. May need to download that one.
9:35 Anthony, Anwar and Kenny G doing "I Believe I Can Fly"? No, they can't. Sorry, guys.
8:23 Constantine, Nadia, Jessica and Kenny Wayne Shephard tackle "Walk This Way" and instantly, that Britney-Aerosmith Super Bowl mess is forgiven. At least Nadia looks fab.
9:39 Gotta say it, Scott, Nikko and George Benson's "On Broadway" ain't too shabby. And yes, Scott can sing. Nikko's cooler, though.
9:41 With Vonzell and Billy Preston, I'm born again. It's weird that I wanna have her baby. So's Preston's track suit. Thanks for dressing up, dude.
9:44 How the hell did Babyface get stuck with Mikalah and Lindsey? Did he lose a bet? Poor guy. Poor us.
9:45 Now this is what I'm talking about. Bo, Lynryd Skynryd, "Sweet Home Alabama." Someone go hug Babyface.
9:50 My ass is numb.
9:53 Last words from the judges and it's all blah, blah, blah. Read the results!
9:55 And the winner is... Carrie!!! Oh, my god, am I crying? How embarrassing. But look at Bo being so happy for her, too. He's my new idol. Not to mention Robin Honig's secret, imaginary lovah.
9:58 Oh, no... "I Want to Be Inside Your Heaven" will be her first single? I thought she just won? Man, now we all have a reason to cry. — DJH

Hurley quietly stared at the pirate ship docked miles inland and asked, "How exactly does something like this happen?" And the crazy French lady glared and snidely replied, "Are you on the same island as I am?" It's about time, after more than a month, that someone start analyzing and talking about the wacky happenings on Mystery Island. And dude, if I were Hurley and saw those numbers, you couldn't have gotten me anywhere near that open hatch leading to Hell or Atlantis or some weird mummy dust or whatever. I would have taken off in the other direction as fast as my chubby legs would carry me. Though Hurley did have the best line of the night when he told Jack, "You've got some Arzt on you." Was anyone shocked that the know-it-all science guy was offed? He was totally expendable. But seriously, I did jump off my couch when he exploded; thank goodness for the instant replay feature on TiVo. Let's have a moment of rambling for the much-married geeky guy who taught us when to go sailing, exposed all the island cliques, instructed us about the touchy nature of nitroglycerin and griped about the fact that Jin doesn't catch fish for everyone. Too bad he sought a friendly ear in Jinx Boy, who in addition to the clever line, also had the best flashback of the night with his haphazard trip through the airport, which showed off more of the numbers, from the soccer jerseys, to the $1600 bucks he used to borrow some guy's scooter and the diminishing KPH of his car, which started at 15 and then dropped from 8 to 4. I'm very excited that I have more numbers to mull over during the summer hiatus, and if anyone had a nice TV and was able to tell what floor the elevator stopped on, let me know. 'K?

While Hurley and Kate were stuck in the middle of Jack and Locke's tension and testosterone-riddled discussion about whose life philosophy is better, potential concussions were all the rage on the other side of the land of the lost — both at the hand of the aforementioned crazy French lady. First she knocked Claire out to steal her baby, and then she set a rock-filled trap that fell on Charlie's head. Good thing Sayid knew that gross trick to cauterize a wound with gunpowder and flames. I've learned so many cool science-y things tonight! Thank goodness little Turniphead, aka Aaron, was found by the happy hobbit and returned to his rightful mother. Just when I start to think that Rousseau really is just crazy, and there are no others; she's just manipulative and for some reason wants Claire's kid, freakin' J.J. Abrams and Co. blow my theories right out of the water with the motley crew of "others" who came after Walt. Now maybe I'm a bit slow on the uptake, or just fell victim to some clever misdirection, but I never saw that coming. Sharks, Captain Nemo, the scary cannibalistic squids that I saw on the Discovery channel? Sure all of those possibilities came to mind when I thought of the fate of the rafters, but never that the Others were really after Walt, or that they had a boat. And what do they want with the special boy and his powers to do things like translating those polar bears from Hugo's Spanish comic book into reality? That just can't be good. If Sawyer, Jin and Michael survive the long swim back to shore, I'm sure that the delinquent-turned-doting dad will search that massive (as he was quick to point out) island in search of his missing son. Hopefully he's not some sacrifice for the island's monster. Instead, let's leave that to Locke, who believes that it is his fate to be taken by the unseen creature. Maybe he's right, maybe he's not. At least he finally fessed up to killing Boone; his wackadoodle theories about fate might not fly in the real world, but on this insane island, you just never know. — AC

What?!?! Holy s---! Around 10:55 p.m., I was getting the feeling that this was way too much closure for an Alias episode. Then I remembered: Irina had warned Vaughn to come clean with Sydney (a deviously placed loose thread). So I knew something was coming. But just when you had digested him saying, "Well, for starters, my name isn't Michael Vaughn..." Boom! Crash! That speeding vehicle comes flying out of nowhere. And now it's gonna be months and months before we find out what happened and what Vaughn's big secret is (and you just know we won't get any real answers until a sweeps period). That was awesome. Never relax when you watch Alias; never mind during the last five minutes of a thrilling season finale.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. So much happened: Zombies were blown away; Elena got shot in the head; a red-eyed Nadia went nutso; Sloane nearly killed his own daughter; Weiss and Marshall perfected their Russian and the fine art of blackmail; Irina and Jack actually kissed; and finally, the big red ball came tumblin' down (last phrase sung to the tune of that John Mellencamp song). Whew! They really jam-packed this milestone installment. Very satisfying, and, most important, I'll say something that I may not have expected back in, like, February or March: I can't wait for next season.

...And with that, it's time for me to say so long to the Watercooler at least until the fall (obviously, the column continues, just minus one contributor). It's been two seasons of rambling, smart-ass comments, late-night typing, semiconscious HTML coding and Aunt Judy references. Thanks to you for reading and watching along with me. — DS