All is right with the world — Luke and Lorelai are back together. Just in time too, 'cause Luke was one customer toss away from jail time and Lorelai was one video rental away from spinster time. Not that A Star Is Born wasn't the perfect movie for their romantic reconciliation. "The night is bitter/The stars have lost their glitter/The wind grows colder/And suddenly you're older/And all because of the man that got away," sang Judy Garland just as Luke planted one on Lorelai. I think I felt that kiss right down to my toes. Sigh. Those two are just so right for each other. And speaking of right for each other, my new favorite couple has to be Lane and Zack. (I'm still undecided about Rory and Logan. There's something a little too slick about that rich boy. I'm just waiting for her to catch him in the stacks making out with some sorority snob.) Loved how Lane was oblivious to the meaning behind Zack's candles, homemade dinner (Ragu with garlic powder and a little wasabi!) and rose petals. ("I told you I wanted to have a special evening. I'm a guitarist. I don't say the words 'special evening!'" said a frustrated Zack.) I don't want to see these two split, but Lane should stick to her moral code. Besides, I hear there's an opening for town virgin. And now that Rory's playing the field, there's no more competition. — Robin Honig
All right, is it me, or are the ladies not so much? Honestly, after three seasons — of which I have seen nearly every episode, thank you very much — I want talent that has me text-messaging like a freshman in homeroom. Instead, I'm eyeing the remote and wondering where I put my Kelly Clarkson CD. Sure, some are working it, but overall, the girls need to bring it or they ain't gonna be singing it come final 12 time. So here's this week's report card. Let's hope some of them raise their grades next week.
Aloha Mischeaux: Forget what Simon, Randy and Paula said. I'm loving her on Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name." Trust me, girl. I know it. I just can't spell the damn thing.
Lindsey Cardinale: Well, she sure is purty. Too bad that pseudo-Shania mess all but buried her usually smoky vocals. Could be crying tomorrow night.
Jessica Sierra: Are you kidding me? Another country song? Again, no clue which one, but that final note? Delicious. One of my top three.
Mikalah Gordon: God bless this child. The teenage Fran Drescher of karaoke totally stepped it up, toned it down and just joined Miss Sierra on my must-have list. Like Simon said, a total joy.
Celena Rae: I regret to inform you all that Faith Hill's "When the Lights Go Down" just went down in flames.
Nadia Turner: Now, ya'll know I loves me my Nadia, but "My Love Does It Good" doesn't do right by anyone. Song selection, people! Come on!
Amanda Avila: "Turn the Beat Around"? Aiight. As long as this hottie turns around and beats whoever suggested that aerobics-class cliché. Perilously close to cheese.
Janay Castine: Adore the tie-dyed half-top. And the boots? Heaven. Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style"? A car wreck, no survivors. Sorry, hon.
Carrie Underwood: This just hurt. Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" should not be messed with, OK? And blondie was so on the top of my list until now.
Vonzell Solomon: How do you spell fierce? Starts with a V, does Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" like a pro and convinces me that Simon's "overcooked" jab is the result of his nipple-T cutting off oxygen to his brain.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to bawl my face off over the end of NYPD Blue. And there is no shame in that, ya hear? — Damian Holbrook
The Amazing Race
Why is this the best reality show on television? Because, I ask you, where else can you see a llama belching? OK, maybe America's Next Top Model. But does that show have 35 lbs. of alfalfa for each contestant? Wait, I'm actually not sure about that, so never mind. Anyway, Patrick's reaction to the llama burp said it all: "Oh yeah, that was ripe." You could almost smell it after that.
Now on to more important things: Ha! Rob and Amber were third! Ha! One more — Ha! I swear, if they had won another $20,000 you would have seen Lex from Survivor fly out of the bushes and tackle both of them.
Considering Debbie and Bianca gave Ron and Kelly a false lead for the buried airline tickets, I'm not overly thrilled that they came in first and won the cash. (I was always amazed that past winners of each leg were awarded trips. After traveling tens of thousands of miles like crazy people, getting on another plane had to be the last thing they wanted to do.) Nevertheless, as long as the oh-so-privileged Rob and Amber don't win this whole thing, I'll be happy. They are this edition's villains. And don't even think of blaming editing. No one forced Rob to boast that "We're winning the million. Did I fail to mention that?"
Unfortunately, one team who definitely will not be winning the top prize is the thoroughly entertaining duo of Ray and Chuck. That sucked. They were easily one of the more fun pairs to watch.
A few other tidbits:
"When you're gone, you're gone," said Greg Medavoy. When you're right, you're right. And how often could Medavoy claim that privilege? The former bumbling detective, who recently hung up his badge to sell real estate, made an obligatory cameo in the farewell episode of this great and once-controversial police drama. Guess what? No one really had time for him. Life, and the job, had moved on. And so, in a way, has TV, at least where NYPD Blue is concerned. When you're over, you're over.
Was the not-very-grand finale anticlimactic? You bet, but in all the right and classiest ways. Sergeant Andy Sipowicz (the great Dennis Franz), newly installed as the 15th Precinct's squad commander, made some new enemies as he defied authority one last time, urging his troops to pursue the murder of a high-priced hooker, no matter how many powerful toes got crushed along the way. In most regards it was just another routine case in the never-ending grind of gritty New York detective work. But for the purposes of bittersweet closure — Andy's and our own, we who've been loyal to this show to the end, long after it peaked — it was a trial by fire for a new boss who only cared about the loyalty of those who work for him. To a man and woman, each took an emotional final bow to show they were with Andy all the way.
Emotion was always NYPD Blue's greatest asset — I can't imagine feeling such a sense of loss when Law & Order hangs it up, if it ever does — and I bet most longtime fans were satisfied by the show's quiet dignity at the fadeout. I certainly was. If, like they say about the month of March itself, NYPD Blue came in like a lion and left like a lamb, that's not such a bad way to go. The reality is that the show was more than ready to quit. It long ago served its purpose, pushing prime-time drama into darker, more adult and deeply human directions.
Let the final words be that of series cocreator and former head writer David Milch, whose own personal demons were reflected in Andy Sipowicz's personal travails. In the hourlong retrospective that preceded the final episode, Milch said of his most enduring character: "Even a marine crustacean can be a beautiful creature of God." — Matt Roush