Survivor: Pearl Islands
Jonny Fairplay, a sore loser unable to deal with falling on his butt in the final immunity challenge, is voted out: That's what you get for having a living grandma, Lie Boy. (However, I must say that though he's the closest thing to Tolkien's Wormtongue I've ever seen in the real world, I don't hate him for the fibbing as much as the "peace out.")

Lill? She deserved to lose for the creepy Village of the Damned/Omega Man effect she achieved whenever the night-vision camera was on. That and referring to herself in the third person so damned much. Mike can't stand that.

Good for Sandra. And may Rupert live out the rest of his days doing commercial and animation voice-over work.

Survivor: Pearl Islands Tribal Buff offer
You're gonna pay 20 bucks to go out in public with one of these things on your head? When you can make and wear an "I'm an Ass" sign for free?

The Simpsons
"For every piece of Krusty merchandise you buy, I will be nice to a sick kid," promises the beloved clown. "For legal purposes, sick kids may include a hooker with a cold."

Ah, the spirit of giving, Springfield-style. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Angels in America: Perestroika
"It's 1986. There's a plague. Half my friends are dead, and I'm only 31," says Prior Walter (Justin Kirk) in a stark summation that barely scratches the surface of all this play is about. In a post-funeral moment of bitterness, he calls gay people "just a bad dream the real world's having — and the real world's waking up."

I don't know what else Tony Kushner dreams, but I'm glad he wrote this one down. And that HBO, once again breaking ground, put it on TV. But it's a shame those who need to watch this most — who see AIDS as punishment, who deny the humanity of the suffering — are those least likely to. It wouldn't change their minds, of course. But it might make the intolerance and lack of empathy cost them a little more.


It's A Wonderful Life
George is on the bridge, Clarence wants his wings, Mr. Potter's a mean old coot. And I'm thinking it must've been something to live in an era where the biggest danger in a public school wasn't a weapon snuck past the metal detector, crumbling asbestos or a decrepit brick facade raining down on your head. It was the automatic gym floor opening to expose the giant swimming pool beneath? There were no cries for voucher programs in Bedford Falls, I'm betting.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
When I was in first grade, I never thought my life could be anything but catastrophe, either, but Gene Wilder's and Jack Albertson's wonderful performances and the just-plain-messed-up antics of Veruca Salt and Mike Teevee (no cracks about my career choices, please) let me forget for a while. That was before I got hep to all the drug imagery, too. More than three decades later, the movie still holds up, even if the Wonka Bars and Everlasting Gobstoppers I've saved all these years haven't. Ew.

Is the grisly reaper mowing? Yes! The danger must be growing....


The Powerpuff Girls: "Twas the Fight Before Christmas"
I must admit there's some pretty boss poetry going on in this episode:

"And all of the young 'uns are waiting with glee
Thinking only of morn' and what's under that tree
And not just the children, the teenagers, too
Chuck wants a football, Kathleen a tattoo"

In fact, it's inspired me to give it a whirl:

TV delivers such cute bouts of rhyme
In cartoon specials at holiday time
The Powerpuffs battle the spoiled Princess
Whose scheming creates quite a Santa Claus mess

Try as I might to identify, though
I can't generate too much yuletide glow
While my friends all grew up with St. Nicholas, you see
I sang songs that honored Judah Maccabee

The concept behind what I thought was so great?
One day's worth of oil lasted for eight

Yeah, I know. "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" it ain't.

If you have to have a stiff, by-the-book Navy guy for a legal guardian, you could do worse than Harm. He'd look smart in a uniform when everyone brought their dad in for show and tell. (Plus he can fly!) And if there were a problem at school, like, if you didn't make the team or a teacher disparaged your new piercing or something, he could sue the pants off the principal and the district. That would just add to the problem of our overly litigious society, you say? Oh, c'mon — it's better military parenting than Robert Duvall bouncing a basketball off your skull, chanting "one, two, three... cry," or Chris Cooper capping your girlfriend's dad.