Desperate Housewives
It would go without saying that Mary Alice Young, having blown her own brains out, is the luckiest one on Wisteria Lane. But now she's gotta stick around, watch her former "loved" ones and "friends," and tell us about it. Which means we're the luckiest ones on the block, 'cause we get to watch. Sure, it owes a lot to forebears like American Beauty and Blue Velvet, but I'm liking it.

Worth noting: Casting the unsettling Teri Hatcher is truly inspired, and choosing the even more unsettling Nicolette Sheridan is a flat-out stroke of genius. 'Cause to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure they're acting. Matter of fact, I'm fairly certain they're not. But Felicity Huffman proves once again that no matter what you toss her into, she's sure to shine.

And bonus points for Huffman's Lynette nearly breaking hubby's nose after his cavalier "Let's risk it" comment.

The Wire
I remember sitting in French class in junior high, waiting to take a test I hadn't even cracked a book for. My friend Paul was aghast at my being able to sit there without freaking out, knowing I wasn't ready. Little did he realize I was. So I know exactly how Taylor feels being grilled by Rawls on his district's poor performance and — even worse — the woe of the time beforehand, which is all about the dread. He's relieved of duty. I failed French and had to repeat. Consequences suck.

Anyway, having one of Omar's girls get gunned down when the robbery went bad? Needed to happen, ugly as it was, as was that brief scan of the fear on their faces once things started going wrong. Omar was starting to look like a superhero, and this show's appeal is its realism.

Sending series co-creator Robert Colesberry, who recently passed away during heart surgery, off with a barroom wake for his character, Det. Ray Coles, was a class act. And working references to Colesberry's past work on such projects as Mississippi Burning and The Corner into Jay's pre-binge eulogy took it over the top, quality-wise.

Oh, and you know what word I hate because it sounds way too much like what it is? Whiff.

Boston Legal
Oh, for God's sake — wasn't there a way to let us know Larry Miller wasn't wearing any pants without showing us the lower half of his butt? I know it's a Kelley show, but I was just about to tear into this unusually fuzzy peach and... well, forget that now.

I was going to ask why a wealthy, powerful guy like Philip Baker Hall couldn't just go out and hire his own private eye, but then he did. So instead I'll ask: Couldn't he have gone out and bought his own gun?

While Annie's a cute show, I now have to spend the rest of the evening with "Tomorrow" stuck in my head? That I will not forgive.

But speaking of tomorrow, toasting to "no tomorrows" is a sure way to jinx a new series, if you ask me, Emmy or no Emmy.

Family Bonds
I've never seen men sit around in their boxers so much, with so little justification. I'm not exactly body-beautiful, either, but for pity's sake, man....

Meanwhile, Tom expects acupuncture to help him with his smoking when he sports twin nipple piercings and body ink? How's this guy gonna even notice needles and a few extra holes?

As for Flo's big-O talk about the only time in her life she has control, or what Jeffrey was up to when they apprehended him? You don't really think I'm gonna get into that in a family column, do you? I already mentioned nipples again.


Saturday Night Live
"We're workin' hard... It's hard work." — Will Forte as George W. Bush, discussing his plans to restore stability in Iraq during the first debate.

Dead-on, huh? It'd be funnier, and I'd sleep better at night, if it wasn't, though.

And speaking of dead-on, Ben Affleck does a surprisingly good James Carville.

SNL's still trying its best to be fresh, but as my wife pointed out while we were watching, wasn't there a stuck-on-the-escalator skit on ABC's Fridays 20 years ago?


Joan of Arcadia
Joan: "Well, I have free will, right?"
Goth God: "Of course."
Joan: "Well, I'm using it right now by choosing life without you."

So in her post-"crazy camp" world, Joan thinks it's that easy to blow off the Supreme Being? If there's one thing I remember from my Hebrew-school days — and I'm forgetting as fast as I can, trust me — it's that He/She is everywhere. Trying to duck the Creator is just, well... nuts. (Goth God is damn needy, though. Is there anything more irritating than the whining of the omnipotent?)

And I'll bet Anita from Six Feet Under can't wait till that show starts up again so she can go back and party, booze and drug in a world without consequence. The God's-country existence of J of A has all those nagging repercussions and junk. And really... she screws up and Joan's the one who feels bad? Stupid categorical imperative.