I'm really glad that there's not an overload of product placement on this show. Instead we get interesting trivia about New York City's high-society landmarks. While the two teams learn "how to be etiquette" (I forget who says this, but will there be a grammar lesson, too?), Madison's ranch hand Jabe and Park's construction worker JW are released into the wild to find a gift for their hostess. If Jabe weren't so adorable, I really would have loved it if the store clerk, who couldn't bother to give him a freakin' card to go with $100 worth of chocolates, had misspelled Kathy's name. Then it was pretty painful to watch Jabe and JW attend dinner acting as their teams' etiquette puppets while the others screamed directions through their earpiece. So did the Hiltons, Ted Allen, Billy Bush and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia have to eat dinner twice to do this test?
Elimination is definitely not the highlight of this show. They're all sitting uncomfortably on the couch while Kathy looks like someone's mom scolding them. Oh, no, Anne's singing again! And Kathy? At least you should know what "fracas" means. How embarrassing that a British showgirl has a better vocabulary than you. Alain is totally the scapegoat. But he seemed too nice to be very entertaining, so here's to the fracases to come! — Sabrina Rojas Weiss
As regular fans know, the title of this show applies even more to Tommy than it does to the people he and his cohorts pull out of burning buildings. But "rescue" is a relative term, and it depends pretty heavily on how your friends decide to go about it. When I was a younger and more out-of-control lad hanging with people even more out of control than myself, we had a basic guy understanding: If you act like an ass and refuse to change your ways no matter how many warning signals your buddies send your way, one of them may just take it upon himself to punch you. Hard. In the face. And it usually does the trick, especially once you've had the time to let the pain work its magic and reflect on why someone who ostensibly likes you would go that route.
So it goes with Tommy, who doesn't get punched enough. (At least not yet.) But before things go that far, we get to see Kenny jump into Tommy's truck to give him an update, which turns into an obscenity-filled tirade. A classic scene. Then it's on to Tommy's new cursing-free Staten Island firehouse (until he gets there, anyway), which I have a hard time swallowing since Staten Island's still a New York borough after all, not some God-fearing hickville, and if you live within the city limits and don't cut loose with a good F-bomb now and then, they seriously consider making you move. It's, like, a rule. But again, I like this show, so I don't care. Anyway, it's a funny story point, and Tommy's mega-vs.-ultra slap-fight scene in the diner with Johnny and cousin Eddie redeems it. Which is where my aforementioned face-punching rule comes into play. When Johnny finally knocks Tommy around and cuts him off, I can't blame him. Nor can I blame Sheila for getting mad at him for drinking while they're messing around. Or for kneeing him in the groin. Or for exposing his illegal sublet. Matter of fact, I can't blame anyone for putting a hurting on Tommy, especially since they can't begin to match the job he does on himself. Gonna be a good season, kids. — Michael Peck
Finally! After two weeks of nothing but Jonathan crying in therapy and checking out the ladies, the producers must have realized that we get it. He's damaged and straight. And we love him for that, really. A Welbutrin ad trapped in a Viagra bottle, right? But the boy needs to be doing hair. Mercifully, New York's Fashion Week forced the chisel-cheeked one to get down to some salon-caliber action, serving up finger curls out the wazoo for B. Michael's semi-hot collection (the champagne number with the crazy cape? Hello. The rest? Eh.) Anyhoo, it was delicious to see Jon Boy wielding the clippers again and kicking those product-line VPs to the curb before they could entirely annex his office back in L.A. Damn squatters. "We're high maintenance and we need more of your time." Have they not been watching? In between hiring mousey stylists and Chippendales-cum-stylists for the 90210 shop, Antin has spent more time than I've clocked on Earth reminding us how he's being pulled in a thousand directions. Me, I'm only being pulled toward QVC or Sephora.com, since they're apparently the only joints peddling the magical Dirt texturing paste. So thanks to all of you who wrote in with that tidbit. Hopefully it'll help keep the locks looking hot while I rack my brain figuring out why our so-called celebrity stylist stooped to do runway work for some designer even my W-devouring editor has never even heard of. — Damian J. Holbrook
The Real World: Austin
Even though it's been many seasons since I've really enjoyed The Real World, I keep trying to give it a chance to be the story of seven strangers I once knew and loved. Nope, not this time either. Maybe I'll watch it on mute from now on, so I can enjoy looking at their unfairly beautiful house and, OK, these unfairly beautiful people. Everything else can be boiled down to the same flavor of drama we got in Philly, San Diego, Chicago and Las Vegas. Let's review:
10:04 pm First bet that the housemates will cheat on their significant other (Nehemiah and Rachel).
10:07 First crush forms (Danny for Melinda)
10:17 Requisite game of Truth or Dare in hot tub
10:17:05 First orgy suggested (Melinda)
10:17:45 The declaration of virginity (Lacey)
10:18:08 Girl-on-girl makeout session for the benefit of the boys (Rachel and Melinda)
10:19 First group shower
10:27 Love triangle established (Danny, Melinda and Johanna)
10:28 Drunken makeout session masking real crush (Johanna for Danny)
10:46 Misunderstanding between dangerous alcoholic and protective friend (Johanna and Nehemiah)
10:47 First scary street brawl with fame-seeking strangers (Wes and Danny)
Scenes from the coming season include: more flirting, more making out, more brawls and at least one actual arrest. Hmmm, maybe I'll tune in for the highlights. — SRW
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