Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Pass the tissues. It's another heart-tugging episode filled with amazing people who truly deserve to have their crumbling homes made over. I only needed one Kleenex this week instead of the half a box I used during the last episode with the deaf parents and the blind, autistic son. Regardless, this home-makeover show can pretty much be counted on to bring on the waterworks in my own work-in-progress home on a weekly basis.
Tonight's show featured a recent widow, Jennifer, raising her two children on her own while trying to keep the family farm, which had been handed down for more than a hundred years, afloat. I was composed until Paul started tearing up after meeting Jen's parents. Then Randy Travis came to town and performed a benefit concert that brought in about $60,000 for a scholarship fund for the kids. That's when it was all over for me. Thankfully, about that time Ty came by with his big megaphone and started working people up about the family coming home. I know that many people think the yelling has got to stop, but for me, his goofy antics provide a much-needed break from the rest of the truly touching fare.
Dr. Mike from Ed got a new job! Even if it is only for one episode, it is still lovely to see familiar faces on other shows. But this series kind of confuses me. While the flashbacks are seamlessly intertwined, it freaks me out when the present-day people start answering questions in the interrogation room as their former selves. But it does give it a very different look and feel from all the other procedural dramas that are clogging the airwaves.
The Wool Cap
I am sure that this William H. Macy piece about a mute who befriends an abandoned child is wonderful and Emmy-worthy. But after my the tear-jerking EM: HE experience, I opted for some much-needed laughs watching Macy's brilliant real-life wife Felicity Huffman on Desperate Housewives...
And Huffman didn't disappoint. Her secret addiction to ADD medication in order to become a perfect Martha Stewart-style wife was subtly crazy and, more importantly, relatable. I could so see that happening to me, if I ever decided to have a ton of kids and quit my job. Teri Hatcher's Susan, on the other hand... while I feel for her during all her pratfalls, getting conked out by a mechanical bull is just too over-the-top and unrealistic. It still made me laugh, though. Not quite as much as when Susan's wise-beyond-her-years daughter uttered the quote of the night while her mom was prepping for her first date with Mike: "I always assumed I'd have sex for the first time before you had it again." This one-liner topped the second-funniest comment by the mysterious detective/assassin who noted that, "Sometimes, evil drives a minivan." I always thought there was something suspicious about those carpool-friendly vehicles.
But is that detective/assassin really going to whack Nicollette Sheridan? NOOOOOOOOOO! I love her little mean-spirited jabs and snarky comments, and we just finally got to see her working. Please, pretty please, let those sneaky trailers be misleading, or at least let her take over the annoying voice-overs that Mary Alice does. Now that would a catty good time. On another weird ominous note, is Gaby's mom-in-law still alive, or was snooping the death of her? All I know is that if I owned a home on Wisteria Lane, I'd sell fast. I've got a feeling property values are about to plummet. But I can't wait to watch it happen.
Touching the Void
I saw this in the theaters and started watching PBS's airing tonight, but again, I was all cried out from EM:HE and I couldn't watch the whole thing knowing what was coming. This touching true-life story is a moving example of the real power of Mother Nature and the ability of the human spirit to triumph in the face of an amazing amount of adversity.
I was a faithful watcher of this show for the first couple of seasons, but when it went on extended hiatus it fell off my must-see viewing. While I've been gone they've seemingly dropped a great deal of the outside lives of the M.E.s, tightened up the interoffice relationships, eliminated the whole pretending-to-embody-the-deceased-person aspect, and created a sharp, slick-looking show. I would have been annoyed that they changed it around — thankfully they kept Bug and Nigel's bizarre banter — but oddly enough it is better, and I might have to add it back into my TiVo.
Trading Spaces helped to bring popularity to this whole home-makeover phenomenon, so while oodles of other shows have benefited from its existence, it has fallen slightly off the hot list. In an effort to keep up with the Joneses, they've changed it a bit, making it that homeowners don't get to pick which room gets remodeled and that peppy hostess Paige may dole out more than the thousand-dollar budget if the designers and neighbors choose a bonus room. While these gimmicks — and others, like their Home Free and big-money specials — may draw in more viewers, the show remains basically the same and all the enthusiasm that Paige can exude can't change that fact.
Saturday Night Live
U2 performed three songs... is that a record? Even if it wasn't, it was still pretty cool, because the musical guest was the highlight of this mostly bland episode. Even Debbie Downer fell flat — the sketch only really works if Rachel Dratch can make someone crack up. In this case, the walking turkey stole the skit.
Joan of Arcadia
I realize that God is supposed to be this all-knowing, all-seeing being, but do you really think that he/she wastes time being concerned with the fact that Joan may become hunchbacked? Honestly, I know that in this case he/she's posing as an assistant in the guidance office at Joan's school and trying to help Joan cope with the recent loss of her friend, a deposition about the circumstances surrounding her brother's paralyzing accident and her major lack of hope of getting into a good college. But the sage advice that he decides to dole out is, "I didn't create you to slouch. Stand up." I don't buy it. But the pop tart-thingy-with-chocolate-syrup breakfast that Joan snacks on? That's something I can really get behind.
The Subway commercial
The geeky guy chowing down on his "total happiness" sandwich, with the bossy girl telling him that he's got "total happiness" on his shirt? Eww... Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that easily twisted comment doesn't exactly make me want to run out and buy one. — Danny Spiegel had the weekend off. Today's column was written by Angel Cohn.