IMMUNITY SERVICE Good job getting rid of both those immunity idols, Parvati!
American Idol recap: Man-ick Depression
The guys of season 9 make a middling first impression, putting the cap on a two-night fiasco that doesn’t bode well for this year’s talent pool
After Tuesday’s literally shaky start by the Top 12 women ? here’s hoping poor Janell Wheeler won’t be operating any heavy equipment this week with those trembling hands of hers! ? a dozen male contestants took to the stage tonight to try to disprove Randy and Simon’s recent press tour declaring the season 9 crown will ultimately rest on the head of a lady. Unfortunately for the guys (and for all of us), the telecast’s menu was filled not with for genuine charisma and unique, powerful singing, but rather the deadly combination of random rearrangements, feeble falsettos, and murderous melisma ? not to mention a miming exhibition and the debut of a contro-ver-see-ahhhl bolero jacket with tails! —Michael Slezak
Lost recap: Mirror Image
Jack’s Sideways life echoes his Island life as he continues to wrestle with his daddy issues
In the season premiere of Lost three weeks ago, Jack Shephard looked at himself in the mirror and saw a small cut on his neck that left him baffled. He wondered: How did that get there? We wondered: What does it mean? In last night’s episode, ”Lighthouse,” Jack’s man-in-the-mirror season continued with a series of peculiar looking glass encounters. On the Island, Jack’s story began with a shot of the flawed and fallen castaway leader scrutinizing his reflection on the surface of Temple Lake like a seer trying to discern his fate in a scrying pool. It ended with Jack smashing the enchanted glass inside the Lighthouse after peering into it and seeing the haunted manse of his unhappy childhood home.
He was left to ponder the implications while gazing out on the ocean; here’s hoping his deliberations will include the epiphany that his paranoid conclusions about what he saw inside the Island’s derelict divination tower were all wrong. (That’s my theory, at least. More on that in a little bit.) —Jeff Jensen
PopWatch on Ice: Ladies short program sets the stage for a 21st-century Battle of the Brians
Despite a brilliant skate, Japan’s Mao Asada finished nearly five points behind South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na (middle), who broke her own world record in the short program. NBC pitted the two 19-year-olds’ routines side-by-side in this crazy video. So which Brian of the 1988 Battle of the Brians is Kim? Even though silver medalist Brian Orser is Kim’s own coach, the answer has to be gold-medalist Boitano. The chunky jewels on Kim?s mosaic-style James Bond dress simply come far closer to the gold hardware on Boitano’s blue military-style costume than anything on Asada’s dress ever could. But enough about that. EVERYONE rose to the occasion last night! Or more succinctly, in the immortal words of one of Scott Hamilton’s guttural spasms after someone lands a tough jump, ”Owwwhh! What a night, unnhhhhh, I can’t believe it!”—Annie Barrett
American Idol recap: Ladies’ Blight
Season 9’s 12 female semifinalists take the stage for the first time, but pitch problems and nerves derail more than half the pack
You’d think Idol’s judging panel would have the same basic goals in mind, but last night Ellen, Simon, Randy, and Kara all seemed almost as interested in achieving parity among the ladies as they did in sorting out the pretenders from the contenders. True, each judge (even Randy and Kara!) provided more specific examples of constructive criticism than I’d have reasonably expected (how ’bout Randy pointing out Haeley Vaughn’s upper register is thisside of unpleasant?), but I still can’t understand why superior vocalists like Crystal Bowersox and Didi Benami were held to higher standards than the likes of, say, Ashley Rodriguez and Paige Miles. I mean, if Ashley and Paige both got ”you definitely should/will live to fight another week” critiques after slaughtering entire villages of notes in their respective performances, then Crystal and Didi deserved nothing short of cash prizes and ticker-tape parades at the end of theirs. —Michael Slezak
16 and Pregnant recap: Fascinating, disturbing, utterly All-American
This is MTV, so there’s a whiff of unhealthy glamour even in the grittiest handheld-camera-filmed OBGYN appointment. (The worst part about watching this second season of 16 and Pregnant is imagining these girls with positive pregnancy tests in their hand, thinking, ”Hey, I can go on MTV!”) But at the best moments of the show (which, admittedly, are usually the worst moments for the people onscreen), it feels like the network has grafted the impeccable stylistic timing of a more fun reality hour — The Hills, or Jersey Shore — onto a real human emotional spectrum.
Last night’s pregnant teen, Nikkole, introduced herself: a cheerleader, ”definitely a princess,” a girl with a lot of friends (”One of our favorite pastimes is TP’ing houses,” she explained). She never used condoms with her boyfriend — I tried to find a PG-rated euphemism for their method of birth control, and the best that I could come up with is ”Leaving the party early.” If nothing else, 16 and Pregnant really does function as the best sex-ed video ever.—Darren Franich
The Bachelor recap: Skanks for the Memories
The ”ladies” reunite for ‘The Women Tell All,’ but the evening is all about accused producer-seducer Rozlyn
Harrison gets perhaps the biggest laugh of the night when he likens Rozlyn’s version of events to his son’s stories about ”unicorns and magicians and stuff.” And yes, the idea that she was the victim of an elaborate conspiracy is pretty ridiculous — if the producers were going to feed the ”ladies” fabricated stories about Rozlyn’s relationship with UPG, they certainly could have come up with something better than Ella’s butt-in-the-air anecdote and Valishia’s vague story about how she once woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn’t find Rozlyn, her roommate. But really, is there any reason for the show to be so aggressively on the defensive with her? Rozlyn’s just kind of a pathetic figure — she’s not really a dangerous target that needs to be annihilated with guided missiles of mockery. —Kristen Baldwin
American Idol recap: The Crazies?
With a wide variety of woeful contestants to choose from, voters instead send a trio of halfway decent singers (and one obvious pick) to an untimely demise
As the first results show of the American Idol season 9 semifinals came to an end tonight, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d just witnessed a horror flick. The pretty blonde girl got picked off early. Another vaguely defined character was introduced just in time to get dragged off into the bushes of anonymity. And at one point, a pack of two dozen zombies stalked the stage, bringing pre-recorded vocal terror to everyone they encountered.
With Ryan Seacrest doing his best Jigsaw impression — ”a brutal night of results,” he cooed, eyes burning with delight — all that was missing was the screaming. Wait, scratch that. I know I can’t be the only one still experiencing intermittent flashbacks to Jermaine Sellers’ wounded cockatoo impression on Wednesday night, can I? —Michael Slezak
24 recap: Cue the harps! Jack meant it like it sounded!
That was no concern for Jack, who first took out a guard and then put a chokehold on Kristin, all while muttering ”How dare you? After all (Renee’s) lost, have you no decency?” I don’t know about that, but she certainly appears to have no worth — at least not to Hastings, who seemed all too quick to forgive Jack this little trangression if it meant keeping him on the mission (it was either him or some ROTC graduate who looked way too young to scout the city for bad guys and nukes). Wow, not only does Renee dodge another bullet but she’s managed to commandeer Jack’s heart, too?at least that’s what I think she got, judging by this short and cryptic exchange: Renee, ”Jack, I don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to say it cuz I need to make sure I’m not misunderstanding but? when you said that I have you ?.” Jack, ”I meant it like it sounded.” Renee, ”So now what do we do?” Jack, ”We’ll figure it out.” Seriously, my fellow 24 admirers, could Jane Austen have written it any better? —Lynette Rice
Men of a Certain Age recap: Back in the S–t
All three of these guys gave superb performances with utterly different acting styles. Romano, who co-created this series, has taken his Everybody Loves Raymond manner — the hangdog stare; the monotone voice — and adjusted it to fit a depressed guy afflicted with compulsive behavior. Braugher, who made his fame as a powerhouse in Homicide: Life on the Streets as a homicide cop who needed to dominate suspects, perfected a quiet humility for this series, knowing that Owen is just this side of being a beaten-down man, robbed of pride. And Bakula goes where other actors love to go — playing an actor less successful than himself, which is the thespian version of ”Write what you know” — and did the opposite of Braugher: He plays Terry not as a defeated schlub but as a blustering, randy, but still wounded soul. —Ken Tucker
Brothers & Sisters recap: Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!
Surprise No. 1: Rebecca had a miscarriage while Nora was teaching her how to make Justin’s favorite brownies for him for Valentine’s Day. I’d been waiting for this to happen since she first found out she was pregnant, but all those weeks off lured me into a false sense of security. Rebecca and Justin are understandably devastated, and they’re dealing with it in different ways: He cried on Kitty’s shoulder at the hospital, then got Rebecca all of her favorite foods and tried to play nurse; she wants to forget it ever happened and insisted on standing and making those brownies so at least something turned out the way she’d planned. Obviously, this is going to shake up their relationship, because these two can’t be happy: Odds are, she’ll blame him for not wanting the baby as much as she did. —Mandi Bierley
Caprica recap: Frakkin’ Caprican in a Tauron body
I didn’t think very much of Tsattie before last night’s episode. I thought she was a weird pastiche of Foreign Grandparent cliches — ”Tauron” this, ”Tauron” that, eat your Tauron food, send your son to Tauron school. Last night, though, Tsattie was a veritable fountain of important life lessons, the sort of things that you’d want every Tauron child to learn (especially when they’re young, before Caprica softens them up). ”On Tauron, when you’re 13, you’re a man,” she told her grandson, giving him a moral excuse to ditch school for morning booze with Uncle Assassin. —Darren Franich
Undercover Boss recap: The ‘Sultan of the Slurpee’ is sloppy
The drama was decaf in this week’s Undercover Boss. The CEO of 7-Eleven, Joe DePinto, did not discover a low-level manager as creepy as Jimbo was in last week’s Hooters edition of Boss. Instead, DePinto, using the name ?Danny,? encountered almost non-stop inspirational stories: A 7-Eleven delivery man who works so hard, he only sees his wife on weekends; a woman who knows many of her customers by name but needs a kidney donor. Boss once again turned stories of low-level employees’ difficulties into a saga of entrepreneurial devotion for the already-rich guy who runs the company.—Ken Tucker
PopWatch on Ice: Gold medalists Virtue and Moir renew our faith in ice dancing
Theirs was by far the best free dance of the night. (”Free dance” means the skaters can use any music, as long as it has a beat.) It had emotion, speed, stunning lifts, perfect unison on the twizzles (I’ve accepted that I’m now someone who applauds ”twizzles”), and above all, the feel that they were actually dancing on ice. So many of the pairs, including Russia’s Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin (3rd, watch) and America’s Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto (4th) tried to be so dramatic that my mind just processed their performances as a series of stops and starts because of all the tension. (Also, as boring.) —Mandi Bierley
Project Runway recap: Little Style
Designing for little girls (and their adult model counterparts) threw some for a loop, but edgy won the day
If anyone was helped by the lack of screen time, it was Amy. At least initially. When her B-O-L-D bold ensembles first appeared, I thought her multicolored, petal-effect trousers were interesting in an avant-garde, Björk-on-the-Volta-tour sorta way. Hmm? maybe she’ll pull this off after all, I thought. But then came the close-up during judging and my-oh-my was that unfortunate. Suddenly, the trousers’ true identity came screaming through. These weren’t clown pants, as Tim had warned. These were the offspring of David Lee Roth’s fringe chaps (circa ”Just a Gigolo” ) and Flea’s infamous stuffed animal pants. Plus! The fabric disks themselves were frayed and unfinished and just generally busted.—Missy Schwartz