Programming Note: Thanks to President Bush's last-minute decision to hold a live news conference in prime time, Fox's Must-See Tuesday schedule was all screwed up. That meant I missed out on writing about two of my faves, American Idol and 24, both of which had to be rescheduled. And if that's not a good enough reason to vote for John Kerry in November, I just don't know what is.

Gilmore Girls
During tonight's shows, the WB had the words "Fresh Episode" in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Hmm... Is that just fresh as in new or fresh as in "funky fresh"? Anyway, this was the first new GG episode since March 2, so it's about time. Uptight good girls Rory and Paris trying too hard to "go wild" on spring break was adorable. Paris was so desperate to be cool, she even went for a lesbian chic moment! But I was definitely suffering withdrawal from this show's non-stop sparkling banter. (Those repetitive comments from the judges on American Idol get a little old after awhile, ya know dawg?) This leads me to...

The Quote of the Night
A girl asks Paris and Rory — who rush home to their dorm soaked — if it's raining outside.
Paris: "No, it's National Baptism Day. Tie your tubes!"

One Tree Hill
You know how I have to watch TV through my fingers when I'm embarrassed? This episode — which started off with the "Boy Toy" bachelor auction — definitely elicited that sort of blanching and squirming. First, Chad Michael Murray (Lucas) stepped onstage, playing it coy and stuffing his hands in his pockets, while the girls hooted and hollered. Yuck! So cheesy. Also, it's not very believable when it's a 22-year-old playing a high-school boy. He's not even all that, unlike James Lafferty, who plays Lucas's way yummier half-brother, Nathan. Can't say I minded Lafferty going shirtless — until I spotted my wholesome dream dude sporting a nipple ring. Ouch! Those always look painful to me for some reason. Teen trends be damned. The tats (I'm talkin' about you, Miss Haley) and piercings on this show just ain't right.

P.S. Yes, I know there was more happening in this episode than style issues — These-Boys-Love-Those-Girls and Brooke-Might-Be-Preggers — but who can take that girlie rubbish seriously?

The Shield
Just when I was getting disgusted with Vic Mackey's greedy money-train shenanigans, he gets a sympathetic episode. Well, as sympathetic as it gets with Mackey, anyway. A fellow cop's family got whacked, and Vic went out of his way to find the perp, only to find out the cop was mixed up with the killer in a shady way. Plus, Vic came home to find his estranged wife walking around in her panties — with their autistic son's special-needs teacher in the house. He puts two and two together and realizes they're dating, right under his own roof. It seemed a little too convenient that the teacher guy just happened to have a criminal record, so Vic had an excuse to fire him. Still, I like these situations where Vic feels disappointed and let down by people's character flaws — maybe that's how he cynically justifies his own dirty doings in his mind. It's a dog-eat-dog world, after all.

One more thing: It was cool to see Shane — who's definitely not the politically correct type — go undercover with male street hustlers. He seemed to take a homophobic 'tude at first, then found himself bonding with one of the guys over car talk. Next thing you know, he's busting gay bashers with a vengeance. Now, this definitely doesn't make up for him calling Tevon a "darkie" and nearly killing him two weeks ago. But it's still nice to see Shane's bigotry doesn't always have to get the best of him.

Hey, there's Jessalyn Gilsig — formerly a teacher on Boston Public — playing Ortiz's new partner. She's not just giving out detention slips anymore, kids, she's packin' heat and handcuffs! I love it. Her tough-love attitude during the abandoned-baby storyline won me over right away. But wait, I'm suddenly having a very random association moment: Has anyone else noticed Gilsig's strong resemblance to Sarah Kozer — the Joe Millionaire runner-up who turned out to have a sordid past in bondage-fetish films? You should totally Google both ladies and see for yourself. It's freaky!