TV Gal Tidies Up After Sweeps

Last Thursday I came home and my TiVo was having an identity crisis. It was so confused -- how could it not be taping anything on a Thursday night? Did I not care about it any more? Had it done something wrong? I'm not going to lie to you. The whole thing got a little ugly.

See the week post May sweeps is tough for us all -- even inanimate objects. A look back on the good, bad and the ugly.

Best Kiss: What I loved about the kiss between Jim and Pam on "The Office" was that it looked like two real people kissing -- not a big sweeping only-in-Hollywood kiss. It was slightly awkward and sloppy first kiss. Just like real life.

Kiss I Wanted But Didn't Get: For a show that always willing to have people lock lips at the most preposterous times, I don't understand why we couldn't have had the First Lady and Aaron smooch in the season finale of "24."

Savviest Show on TV: You have to give the producers of "American Idol" credit. They know people are going to watch their show no matter what but they still went all out. "American Idol" has transcended being a mere television show to becoming a colossal pop-culture phenomenon -- like the Oscars or the Super Bowl. I would skedaddle the fake awards but other than that the show was quite fun. With horrifying performances (what was Toni Braxton trying to do with Taylor Hicks) and a preview of the upcoming concert tour (I still love Mandisa), this was the best results show the series has had to date.

Best Channeling of "The Sopranos": The entire season finale of "House" only existed in House's head.

Best Direct Address of Fan Theories: Desmond told Jack, "We're stuck in a bloody snow globe" on "Lost" while Locke told Eko "It's not real. We're only puppets, puppets on a string."

Best Romantic Surprise Besides "The Office": Sara and Grissom together in the bedroom in the final moments of "CSI." Nothing like watching your friend almost die to make you finally realize you have to make a move.

Most Poignant Death: You have to love how Papa Bristow ended it all on "Alias."

Death That Could Change a Man: Jack Bauer exacting his own form of justice on Christopher Henderson on "24."

Best Season Finale, Comedy: "The Office"

Best Season Finale, Drama: A tie between "Lost" and "24," with the edge to "Lost," brother.

Best Part of "ER": Gallant's surprising death (he was mid-sentence) and Parminder Nagra beautiful performance.

Worst Part of "ER": Really, do Sam and Abby always have to be in danger?

Most Ridiculous Part of "Prison Break:" So they chopped off T-bag's hand and he's still able to run through the woods? Forget the loss of blood; wouldn't he pass out from the shock of it all?

Least Surprising Death: Ever since I heard someone would die on "Close to Home," I knew poor Christian Kane's Jack wouldn't live to see second season.

Most Welcome Death: There are some times where the only option for a character is death. Such is the case with poor-little-not-so-rich girl Marissa on "The O.C."

Least Believable "Desperate Housewives" Plot Development : Um, why would Mike be close to proposing to Susan? Shouldn't they at least try going out to dinner first?

Most Disturbing "Desperate Housewives" Plot Development: Um, do we really need Bree to have another crazy boyfriend? But good bait-and-switch by the show to bring on Kyle MacLachlan as a seemingly innocuous love interest for Susan.

Season Finale That So Didn't Have To Be Two Hours: "Boston Legal."

Least Surprising Surprise Pregnancy: That Lois was pregnant yet again in the series finale of "Malcolm in the Middle."

Most Surprising Surprise Pregnancy: That J.D.'s new girlfriend is expecting on "Scrubs."

Most Ridiculous Moment: That Izzie would cut Denny's cord on "Grey's Anatomy." I've gone over and over it in my mind and it will never make sense.

Most Poignant Series Finale: Was "The West Wing" not just pitch-perfect? Only drawback -- we so needed more Donna and Josh moments.

Most Satisfying Series Finale/Best Flash-Forward of Time: I said I needed Vaughn and Sydney walking off into the sunset and that's exactly how "Alias" ended. Plus it was an excellent touch that Sark is still up to his shenanigans.

Worst Flash Forward of Time: I've already said my peace about "Will and Grace."

Best Surprise Ending: All hatch broke loose in the season finale of "Lost." Those scientists calling Penelope on "Lost" and announcing "I think we found it." I haven't been that surprised since the whole "you've been gone for two years" ending of the second season of "Alias."

My Most Rewarding May Sweeps Moment: My parents have never been big fans of TV. I think I've told you the limited the amount of TV I could watch growing up (thus creating the monster who writes for you today). On Wednesday May 24, my mom was in one room calling me about "American Idol" while my father was in another calling me about "Lost." I've never been so proud.

What did you think of May sweeps? Talk about it on the TV Gal message boards.

"Rescue Me" Returns

Denis Leary and the rest of his "Rescue Me" crew return for a third season Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX. Now you know I have loved this show since Tommy Gavin's first dysfunctional moment. If I were on some sort of self-destructive bender, I would so run away with him. I have seen the first three episodes of the season and the show's hilariously politically incorrect sense of humor is still in tact, but I've got to tell you I'm a little concerned.

As you recall, when we last left Tommy Gavin, his son Connor had been killed by a drunk driver and his Uncle Teddy (a slimed down Lenny Clarke) had avenged Connor death. Despite the harrowingly realistic way the series dealt with Connor's death, this may have been one too many tragedies to saddle Tommy with. Even Andy Sipowicz misfortunes were more spread out. But the bigger problem is what befalls FX's other out-there series "Nip/Tuck" -- they take what makes the show so special and push it too far. Would every woman who crossed Tommy's path really want to sleep with him? And this season, the show seems partial to clichéd story lines. I could see the surprise ending of the premiere episode coming from the opening moments. I don't want to say more than that because I don't want to spoil anything for you. But after you watch the show, let me know what you think. We'll talk more about this next week.

Where Have I Seen Them Before?

Dave was the first to recognize Sonya Walger, Special Agent Patrice Serxner on "Sleeper Cell," Jane on "CSI: NY," Donna on "The Mind of a Married Man," and Sally on "Coupling," as Desmond's true love Penelope on "Lost." And that was Alan Dale, Caleb on "The O.C." and Vice President Jim Prescott on "24," as her dad.

Shawn was the first to recognize Kenneth Johnson, the dear departed Lem on "The Shield," was Joseph, the not-so-dead-actually drug counselor on the season finale of "Cold Case." We also saw him on "CSI" as the road-raging Randy.

Dave recognized Susan Walters was the woman who started the drug rehab center and was having an affair with one of the teens in her program. Walters was Meg on "Point Pleasant" and Tiffany on "Melrose Place." And Michelle reminded me that Walters was also Dolores on "Seinfeld." Remember Jerry couldn't remember her name? Sam Anderson, Bernard on "Lost," Holland on "Angel," and Dr. Jack Kayson on "ER," was her husband.

Kyle was the first to recognize Kiersten Warren, Alex on "Saved by the Bell: The College Years," as Nora, the woman who, according to my mother, "is going to be quite a problem," for Lynette and Tom next season.

Jim caught Paul Schulze as the doctor treating Captain Brass on "CSI." Schulze was Ryan Chappelle on "24" and Father Phil Intintola on "The Sopranos." And Teal Redmann, Louise on "Gilmore Girls," reprised her role as Brass' no-good daughter Ellie.

Eric Mabius, Tim on "The L Word," Dean Jack Hess on "The O.C.," and Jeff on "Eyes," was the FBI agent investigating the lab on "CSI: Miami." You'll also see him in the fall on the new ABC comedy "Betty the Ugly." Dahlia Salem, Dr. Jessica Albright, the one Morris is sleeping with on "ER," was also one of the FBI agents investigating the lab.

Bluegreen recognized Carlo Rota as Chloe's ex-husband Morris (file under: who knew she had been married?). Rota was Gardner Vance on "Queer as Folk" and Mr. Jones on "La Femme Nikita."

Michelle Clunie, Mel on "Queer as Folk," was the woman House thought was the wife of his patient in the season finale of "House."

Natasha Gregson Wagner was the woman pretending to be an EMT in training but really working with Sam's ex-husband on "ER." Wagner, the daughter of Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, is April on "The 4400." Thanks to Seth who was the first to recognize this familiar face.

Quotes of the Week

"I was wrong." Locke to Mr. Eko on "Lost." Aaron and Rob were the first to submit the most popular quote of the week.

"You beat death Arvin, but you couldn't beat me." Jack Bristow's last words to Sloane on "Alias." Thanks to Jason and Sean who were the first people to send in the second most popular quote.

"I'm not ready to say goodbye." Sara to Gil on "CSI."

"I wouldn't have done anything differently, except maybe Oliver." Ryan to Marissa on "The O.C."

"Synergy, Dynasty called and they want their shoulder pads back." Sean about Synergy's designs on "The Apprentice." Thanks to Stacey for the quote.

Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Time for May 29 to June 4

"Last Comic Standing" returns for a brand new season Tuesday at 8 p.m. Boston's Anthony Clarke replaces Jay Mohr as the host and the winner gets an exclusive talent contract with NBC and a comedy special on Bravo.

Katie Couric gets ready to sleep late when she says goodbye to "Today" Wednesday at 7 a.m. on NBC.

The first part of the last season of "The Sopranos" comes to Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO. I haven't loved this season (did Vito's death surprise anyone?) but the conclusion of "The Sopranos" means "Entourage" returns next Sunday. Whoo-hoo.

That's all for today. I'll be back next Monday with reviews of the new ABC Family series "Falcon Beach," NBC's "Windfall" (starring the longest secret boyfriend I've ever had), and the new Lifetime series "Lovespring International." And don't forget, coming in June, my first reactions to the fall's new series and the annual Amy Awards. Have a question, seen a familiar face, have an inside scoop or want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com.

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