First off, did we need Ellen DeGeneres playing host? I dig Ellen as much as the next guy (or girl), but she doesn't exactly ooze executive-branch gravitas. I was also kinda surprised they started with a backstage segment. I guess director Alex Graves really wanted to try his hand at a live West Wing walk-and-talk.
Wasn't Alan Alda's long opening pause great? For a minute, I thought he had lost it like Admiral James Stockdale in the 1992 VP debate. Vinick's gambit to dump the debate rules turned out to be a stroke of genius. On this judge's scorecard, Vinick and Alda both scored knockouts. Politically, Vinick came off as sensible and passionate. From his line about putting all of America's oil wells in ANWAR to his passionate dissection of African debt relief, conservative West Wing fans (both of them) can be pleased that the Republican viewpoint got its due. For his part, Santos scored on border control, prescription drugs ("Have you seen the price list lately?") and, most importantly, reclaimed the liberal mantle with pride. Dramatically, I thought Alda was much more comfortable. No wonder this guy gets nominated for everything. Smits fumbled a few lines (at least in the East Coast broadcast) and seemed a little wooden. However, it's a testament to both actors that they created a real sense of tension and animosity. To see such polished politicos jumping on each other's sentences and snipping at each other's heels created a sense of emotion and contention that, unfortunately, real debates so often lack.
I really thought this was going to be a coming-out party for a Santos administration on The West Wing. In the end Smits asks, "Are you ready to give Matt Santos the presidency?" Not quite yet. Maybe the producers are going to keep us guessing, after all. Jon McDaid
I'm trying to decide what was crazier the scantily clad Gabrielle seducing Adrian Pasdar just to see if he'd take the bait and then rejecting him or Susan tearfully running into the street wearing a wedding dress as Mike breaks up with her in front of all her neighbors. Desperate housewives, indeed. When Susan's mother first had the wedding dress on, I couldn't help but think of Cinderella. Lesley Ann Warren will always be Cinderella to me. It was hilarious when she thought Mike was there to pop the question to Susan. Wrong question. Of course it had to be Paul Young who told Mike that Susan gave Zach money to leave town. Loved the scene where all the neighbors were outside freaking out because Paul was back and the police were there. Best line was Edie's: "I win I made out with him." Pretty sad that it took a $900 suit to make Lynette a better marketing exec, but I liked when she bought her hubby golf clubs with carbon-fiber shafts just so he could feel the money, too. And the whole Bree and George courtship just gives me the same feelings I get when I see Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes together. When George first went to kiss Bree, I flashed back to Michael Jackson kissing Lisa Marie Presley at the MTV Music Awards so long ago. So. Not. Buying it. The fact that George caused Bree to break out in hives didn't shock me, but I guess she got over it since it seems they did the dirty deed. I'm just glad we didn't have to see that. Dave Anderson
It used to be that when you were watching Desperate Housewives and then a promo for Grey's Anatomy came on, you'd think "Hmm maybe I'll watch it." Now, when you see a promo for GA while watching DH, you're more like "Can't f---ing wait!" OK, maybe some of you don't swear when you say it, but I do. The show just keeps getting better and better. So many highlights, so little space:
- Have you ever seen a husband react the way the husband did when he was told his curmudgeon of a wife survived her fifth open-heart surgery, even after her heart caught on fire? The way he was covering his face when you thought he'd be crying but was actually hysterically laughing was brilliant. "She's like some mythical monster she's never gonna die!" and then "You tell her she'll survive without me," as he walked out. Wow. Props to veteran actor Reni Santoni for that scene alone.
- So glad the pregnant man wasn't actually pregnant. 'Nuff said.
- I love that it was Bailey who told Derek to lay off Meredith. "She's a human traffic accident and everybody's slowing down to look at the wreckage. Leave her to mend!" Loved it even more when Meredith said to Derek "And what are you looking at?" leading him to tell the couples therapist "Meredith is not an issue she's out of my life." Yeah, right. Kate Walsh is now in the opening credits so we shall see how long this situation lasts.
- Very valiant of Burke to tell Webber about his relationship with Cristina. Last but not least, the biggest watercooler moment was Alex finally kissing Izzie, literally sweeping her off her feet. Glad it took his patient Nicole to knock some sense into him. DA