Friends America, by selecting "The One Where No One's Ready" as the No. 3 favorite episode of all time, my faith in you has been renewed. I love this one from the show's sublime third season, which I personally think is one of the series' strongest years. I love the real-time aspect of the episode, a device that keeps the urgency of the plotline about uptight Ross's vain attempts to get the rest of the gang ready to attend a dinner at which he's giving a speech. In a mere 20-something minutes, Chandler and Joey duke it out over the rights to an armchair, a battle that includes pirated cushions, wardrobe sabotage (Joey: "I'm Chandler. Could I be wearing any more clothes?" Chandler: "That is so not the opposite of hiding someone's underwear!") and the revelation of Mr. Tribbiani's proclivity to forgo skivvies ("I'm not going commando in another man's fatigues.") Then there's Monica's meltdown at hearing ex-boyfriend Richard's voice on the answering machine ("Old or new? Old or new?!") and her painfully desperate attempts to erase an embarrassing message she impulsively leaves on his machine ("I'm breezy.") And let's not forget our Pheebs, who's the only one to show up ready to go, only to end up spattered with dip after unwittingly finding herself in the crossfire of the escalating Joey-Chandler face-off ("I've got the hummus!"). But the best part of the show is due to Miss Green, who decides to stand up for herself after Ross humiliates her in front of their pals: She gets in sweats and decides not to attend the event in favor of catching up on her "correspondence." From the beginning, I was never a proponent of the Ross-Rachel thing proceeding past the unrequited-puppy-love stage, but I do like how Rachel is beginning to assert herself here, refusing to be bullied by her crazed Type-A boyfriend. Ross is at a dangerous fever pitch here, but any man who's willing to drink the fat to get back in his gal's good graces deserves a second chance in my book. But getting her to go commando to an awards banquet is gonna cost him more than a bottle of Pepto.
Tru Calling In an odd casting move, the show has added ex-90210er Jason Priestley to the cast as a morgue-job applicant with a mysterious past who might be linked to Tru's mom's tragic past. While I'm glad to see that Priestley has recovered from the serious race-car crash he was in a few years ago, I can't wrap my brain around him playing such a "serious" role. He'll always be Brandon Walsh to me not that there's anything wrong with that. But Priestley's not the only Aaron Spelling refugee here: Melrose Place's Laura Leighton (Sydney) plays Tru's stepmom, who shows up to persuade Tru and her sibs to attend Daddy's birthday party only to end up as Tru's latest cadaver-prevention project. And she's not bad at all. Unfortunately, her talents are being wasted on this tedious supernatural series.Will & Grace I've finally given in to the cold hard truth that this once hilarious show is past its prime, having shot its smarmy self in the proverbial foot when Grace and Leo got hitched and resorting to the guest-star-of-the-week shtick. Sure guest stars are fun and it's cool that so many A-listers are still jazzed to pop up on this floundering former Must-See darling, but so many famous day players have passed through W&G's revolving door that I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't a swag-hag goody bag waiting in the wings for them after the show. Don't get me wrong; some of the guest spots work, like Third Watch's Bobby Cannavale's stint as Will's endearing new love interest (and it's about freakin' time the show's about city singles Will and Grace, not celibate gay Will and never-manless-for-long heterosexual Grace!). But I can do without pointless and unfunny appearances by potty-mouth Sharon Osbourne as a bartender at a boy bar and the usually ab fab Bebe Neuwirth's bizarre cameo in which she laments the demise of the oh-so-long-in-the-tooth Frasier.
TMI Too Much Information Alert (Guys, You May Want to Skip This One) Dear Kotex, While I am appreciative of the strides you and your feminine-protection-products compadres have made over the years and I don't usually question the validity of or absolute need for certain specialty items, I gotta know one thing: Since when do I need quiet pad wrappers? Seriously.
The Apprentice I've been behind Amy winning this thing from the beginning, but I really thought she did herself in when she chose Katrina to go to the boardroom with her over Nick (my pick for a male winner) especially after The Donald learned of their growing flirtation. I thought for sure Trump would toss her out on her perky blonde butt, but he instead bounced Katrina, Miss "I'm Not Successful Because of My Looks but I'll Flirt with the Car Dealer if He'll Give Our Team a Car." So now it's down to two more episodes and five remaining contestants Amy, Nick, Kwame, Troy and Bill and my money's on the Nickster. Kwame's no leader; Troy's bumpkin act will backfire in the big-city business market; Bill's tall, dark but boring; and Amy has revealed a weakness by fraternizing with another player and admitting the flirtation to the boss. You could argue that Nick has exhibited the same weakness, but he hasn't been confronted about it yet and my gut tells me he would flat-out deny it or refuse to discuss his personal affairs in the boardroom, which is what Amy should have done instead of telling Trump that Nick has a crush on her. She may think she's the smart one by playing on his feelings for her, but I think he's the smarter one having distracted her with his aw-shucks demeanor toward her.
Most Extreme Elimination Challenge Have you seen this yet? It's a bizarre Fear Factor-Iron Chef hybrid on Spike featuring contestants performing various bizarre stunts that are backed by hilarious voiceover commentary. Some of tonight's challenges involved shooting at a target while riding a bucking-reptile machine; clinging to a suspended spinning mushroom as it zips down a cable; and keeping one's footing while rolling a runaway stump over a watery canal. (Hey, it was either this or figure skating. Men's figure skating.)