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Snap judgment: ABC's new 'Eli Stone'

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Eli_l

Eli_lAs someone who often breaks into spontaneous dance and song, I know the plight of our titular hero, Eli Stone. Granted, I don’t have an intracranial aneurysm located deep in the cortex of my right cerebral artery. I’m just a little crazy. But guess what? There’s no cure for that either.

Anyway, if you watched the series premiere last night, or read Ken Tucker’s B+ review, then you know Eli Stone is an extremely successful lawyer at a prestigious L.A. firm. He has a fiancé who is ridiculously attractive and who presumably hibernates in a tanning bed. He wears contacts or got Lasek, so he doesn’t have to wear those unfortunate glasses anymore. He has a sassy secretary named Patti, who I love because she hates Eli’s fiancé even more than I do. He has a boss played by Victor Garber, who’s supposed to be a smug jerk named Jordan Wethersby, but who I liked anyway, because he’s Victor Garber. He has private George Michael concerts in his head, his bedroom, and his office — whenever the universe is trying to tell him something. Eli Stone has it ALL. Or does he? (My vote is that he does, but that’s not the moral they’re pushing here.)

Eli Stone (notice how I keep repeating his name? Writers tend to dothat in pilot episodes. Or they just name the show after the character,because they think you’re really dense. Does anyone know why the ‘O’ inStone is tilted? Can you legally italicize letters in your name,and if so, who can I see about having my named legally bolded andunderlined?) wants more, by wanting less. Looks like someone just gottheir memo from Jerry Maguire. He wants to change his money-hungry,corporate barracuda ways to cater to the little people, or the peoplehe slept with when he was younger. When Beth introduced us to herautistic son Ben, I was worried we might be headed down a long, windingOctober Road. But Ben wasn’t Eli’s son; he was yet another signfrom the universe that it was time for Eli to reinvent himself. Afterall the code crunching, anagrams, and misleading clues on Lost, I wasprepared for Ben’s building blocks to spell out a cryptic message whichwould result in several DVR rewinds and agonizing frame by framepauses. Not Eli Stone. ”Make peace George Michael.” Pretty hard tomisinterpret that brain buster. I also caught ”lion,” ”gin,””run,” ”root,” ”xray,” ”gum,” ”push,” ”rain+salt,””fish,” ”pig,” ”tool,” ”hill,” ”guy,” ”pry,” ”hay,””hilly,” and I haven’t even gotten started on diagonals.

Speaking of Lost, it seemed ABC was willing to do just about anything to hang on to Lost‘saudience for another hour. The public announcements from Oceanic wereintriguing, but I’ll probably draw the line when Eli starts havingvisions of Jacob.

When he wasn’t seeing visions in waking reality, Eli’s acupuncturist(who, according to Patti, can cure tennis elbow and constipation injust one visit!) was helping him see into the past. Though I preferredhis brother’s official medical diagnosis of ”double butt head,” Dr.Chan was a little more insightful. ”Everything has two explanationsEli, scientific and divine. It’s up to us to choose which one we buyinto. Now science explains the enlarged vessel in your head, but doesit explain how the girl you lost your virginity to happened to be suingyour law firm? How her son happened to spell out a message to you withhis blocks?” It’s up to you to decide if it’s divine or a divine plotcontrivance. Regardless, I liked the Dr. Chen, especially when he lostthe accent, handed out the booze, and started getting real.

In the end, Eli won $5.2 mil for the underdog, Beth, and the twoshared a promising look before parting ways. He honoredhis father’s wish by spreading his coffee-canned ashes at the top of the Himalayas, and broke up with his lame fiancé, who,upon hearing she might lose Eli at any moment, chose that very momentto lose him. So I guess he didn’t really break up with his fiancé; I justwanted it to happen so that he’d go eat pot brownies with Beth. But theend, well, according to Eli, ”that’s just the beginning.” I felt waytoo, Eli. In fact, I have a feeling we will spending a lot of Thursdaynights together. Have you met my other friend, Ally McBeal? You should.You two are soul mates.