Modern Family recap: Fright night
The highlights of this episode for me were Phil and Luke’s goofy treasure hunt, especially when they were guessing what could be hidden under the house: ”bugs frozen in amber,” ”really expensive bottles of wine,” ”ancient Indian arrow heads.” Cameron and Mitchell’s hilariously awkward butt-kissing brunch with Lily’s pediatrician — I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I could happily watch an entire episode with just the two of them. And last but not least, Claire’s painful dance moves in the DMV parking lot — did anyone else get flashbacks of Elaine from Seinfeld??? —Lesley Savage
Nip/Tuck series finale: Christian and Sean call it quits!
Tonight’s finale wisely eschewed amped-up dramatics and instead focused on the bromance between Christian and Sean, the beating heart of the show. Although there was still time for some typical Nip/Tuck craziness like, oh I don’t know, Japanese senior citizen porn! But it was an oddly apt metaphor for Sean to realize he needed to move on and live his dream. —Tim Stack
American Idol recap: Women on the Verge
Season 9 gets rolling (at long last) thanks to strong showings from more than half of the top 10 ladies
The judges had no such problem heaping praise on Crystal’s effortless rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ”Long as I Can See the Light,” a performance made all the more impressive by the fact that the singer had just yesterday been hospitalized for diabetes complications. Crystal promised us she would take the arrangement to church, and she most certainly didn’t bear false witness against the Idol audience — from the blast of organs on the intro, to the Gospel-tinged riffing where she cried ”mama’s comin’ home” over the wails of the backup vocalists. I love that Crystal enunciates and emphasizes her lyrics in a way that makes you feel like you’re hearing them for the very first time. I love that she doesn’t reach into her dragonfly bag for a vocal trick on every other line. And I love, as Simon pointed out, that she didn’t play the sympathy card tonight, simply telling Ryan she was a ”tough cookie” and then grabbing her acoustic guitar and rocking her way into an inevitable top 12 spot. (Oh, and the interview package with Crystal busting Simon’s chops about his ”subway” remark and pointing out the size of his trailer? Priceless.) —Michael Slezak
Lost recap: The Measure of the Man
Neither Sideways Sayid nor Island Sayid can escape the pull of the dark side; Fake Locke takes the Temple
Anyway, then Dogen and Sayid had a fight. One of the best Lost has ever staged. When you hire The Twilight Samurai for a part, you gotta let him kick a little ass. It looked like Dogen was going to kill Sayid, too, until he saw his own vision of heaven slip out of view, symbolized by his own white rock — a baseball, a memento of his son, the reason why he’s even playing Jacob’s crazy Island game, anyway. We would learn more of this boy later. —Jeff Jensen
American Idol recap: Boys of Slumber
The 10 male semifinalists improve on their dreadful first-week showings, but is going from woeful to middling really cause for celebration?
The kid who has no idea how good he is… Admit it: At least half the fun of Alex Lambert stems from the almost quaint notion that there remains at least one person in this world who, unlike, say, the entire cast of Jersey Shore, didn’t pop out of the womb with a mic-pack clamped to his umbilical cord, craning his neck to try to achieve his best camera angle. Because honestly, Alex Lambert is not an amazingly talented vocalist in the vein of (to name one example) the raven-haired season 8 contestant with whom he shares a last name. Not yet, anyhow….
And yet all issues aside, Alex’s vocal tone is impossibly lovely: It’s like listening to Joe Cocker, only smoothed out with a sheet of super-fine sandpaper, decades of venue-related grit and life experience brushed away to something smoother and decidedly more innocent. —Michael Slezak
The Biggest Loser recap: Who’s Got the Power?
A chance to control the makeup of the teams backfires for one contestant
Mike decided he needed to look out for No. 1, and created two of the most unevenly matched teams in Biggest Loser history. Training with Jillian was Sam, Cheryl, Drea, Stephanie, Sherry and Ashley. Training with Bob was Koli, Daris, Lance, Miggy, Sunshine, and Mike. (Mike granted O’Neal immunity, forcing the former yellow team member to play ”cheerleader” for a week.) Of course, after watching Mike line up the teams, we were all eager to see Jillian’s reaction…
…And she certainly didn’t disappoint! As soon as the trainers walked into the room, Jillian let out an expletive or four, telling the contestants: ”This is, like, the most f—ed-up thing I’ve ever seen.” (Obviously, Jillian hasn’t seen this.) After taking a few minutes to lash out at Mike, Jillian and her vulnerable side took over: ”The underdog thing brings out, you know, the loser fat kid in me from junior high. And it pisses me off.” —Kate Ward
Parenthood premiere last night: Are you joining this family?
I’m rooting for this multi-generational family show, even as I recognize that its mixture of drama and comedy might not appeal to folks who like their shows to fit one genre or the other. I thought the acting by Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Mae Whitman, and Craig T. Nelson was terrific.
Krause is better-cast here than he was as the angsty lawyer in Dirty Sexy Money. It’s easy to believe the uneasy relationship he has with his roaring, papa-lion father (Nelson excels at that sort of thing without going over the top). And the show’s prominent subplot — about the emotional difficulties of Krause’s young son Max (Max Birkholder) — is a potent heart-breaker. —Ken Tucker
The Bachelor finale recap: The Dumber of Two Evils
While he claimed to be ”so in love” with both women, Jake ends his ”journey” with a proposal to Vienna
Whether America believes it or not, this couple says they’re in love, dammit. Vienna is moving to Dallas right away, and while they want to ”get acclimated together” before they get married, Jake says they have talked about tying the knot. For the love of God, why couldn’t they have just ended the show there? Why did they have to drag poor Jeffrey Osborne out to serenade the couple, who obligingly launch into the World’s Most Awkward Slow Dance in Front of a Studio Audience? The only thing that could be more painful is a visit from…oh, Lord, here she is, Queen of Bitch Mountain — and yes, she IS the new Bachelorette. What. A. Surprise. She’s in full-on humble mode, saying how ”blessed” and ”thankful” she feels, but you and I both know her true QoBM colors will shine through come May. And I hate myself for admitting this…but I’ll be watching. Who am I kidding? —Kristen Baldwin
MOMMY ISSUES Uh, why is Preston supposed to be mad at Lynette again?
The Amazing Race recap: Don’t Cry for them Argentina
The cowboys are keeping the lead as the race heads to Argentina, but is there a dark horse team?
And has the team to beat turned into the most likable (albeit with slightly garish belt buckles) pair of globetrotters since, well, last season’s Globetrotters? They know who they are, don’t have a tolerance for bitchy Brandy comments yet aren’t rude to her, and damn, can Jet throw a lasso. (On the second try. That’s right, buddy. You’re not getting off scot-free.) —Jessica Shaw
American Idol recap: Jesus Balks!
Jermaine Sellers thought God would help him crack the top 16, but ‘Idol’ voters had other ideas, kicking the sassy singer and three other contestants to the curb
The evening’s most satisfying moment arrived with the elimination of Jermaine Sellers, who Ryan Seacrest diplomatically described as ”one of our more vocal contestants — even when not singing.” After spouting some nonsense on Tuesday how his ”homeboy” Jesus would magically usher him in to the Top 16 — despite a vocally abhorrent cover of ”What’s Going On” — Jermaine seemed to get struck by a thunderbolt when Ryan Seacrest called him down to center stage along with early front-runner Andrew Garcia, then declared that one of ’em was heading home. —Michael Slezak
The Office recap: Ooh, baby I love your way-hays
Pam was putting off going to the hospital, despite being in the early stages of labor, because she wanted the HMO-allowed maximum amount of time in the maternity ward…
Jim wanted to go, Pam wanted to wait, panicky bickering, etc. etc. — at this point I was really, genuinely afraid that Pam was going to deliver the child at the office, and we would all have had to set ourselves on fire at that point. Michael convinced Jim and Pam to let him drive them to the hospital (whaaaat?), and with Dwight providing a police-impersonating escort and then getting Pam’s iPod from Chez Halpert, what could possibly go wrong?
At the hospital, it was finally actually baby time: Officers, let’s welcome Cecilia Marie Halpert to the fictional world. —Margaret Lyons
IDOL THOUGHTS J.T. knew he was making history, just not in the way he intended
Grey’s Anatomy recap: Moving Forward
Cristina and Owen are finding a comfort zone with Teddy, while Avery and Meredith find common ground and Derek acts Chiefly
Yes, the apparently famous Dr. Harper Avery was in the house, having passed out in a restaurant with abdominal pain. Oh, and he also happened to be Dr. Hotness Monster’s grandpa. (It looked like Jackson was getting initiated into the Grey’s family by having his first random-family-member-stop-by, but I fear we’ll be losing him to study medicine by Grandpa’s side. Sigh.) Everyone was all aflutter that Dr. Avery was there, given that he gives out important research awards and stuff, but Jackson was, of course, embarrassed by his overbearing grandfather, etc. So, to recap his issues — even if he isn’t long for Seattle Grace — his immediate family all underestimated him because he was too pretty, as we learned a few episodes ago, so he became a doctor to prove them wrong, except, oh, oops, Grandpa is a world-famous surgeon, whose help he refuses to take. That is what you call a mess of high-class problems. —Jennifer Armstrong
Project Runway recap: Full Metal Bikini
A snafu with the hardware store design challenge leaves Emilio bare of ideas and his model just plain bare
There is no way Jesse should have gone home over Emilio. I don’t care how many times Jesse was in the bottom over Emilio’s none. It simply ain’t right. Are we really to believe that his unfortunate Jiffy Pop explosion was worse than Emilio’s Barbie-meets-Barbarella-after-she’s-waded-through-a-jungle-of-stringy-bubble-gum monstrosity? At least Jesse made, you know, clothes. Cause this is a clothing-design competition, is it not? Emilio’s failed string theory of a garment wasn’t remotely functional as a swimsuit. What’s more, I do believe Emilio’s all-important accessory was a flimsy bracelet that looked like it took approximately six seconds to assemble. L-A-M-E, lame. —Missy Schwartz
Burn Notice season finale: Was Michael finally un-burned?
You knew this was a key episode in Burn Notice‘s history since it was written and directed by the show’s creator, Matt Nix. He undoubtedly wanted the tone to be just right, and I think he succeeded. After killing off Gilroy (good riddance), we got Simon, a stone psychopath right up the alley of the always superb Garrett Dillahunt. Along with the revelation that the crimes and misdemeanors Michael has been ”burned” for was actually the work of Simon, and like any good super-villain, he wants full credit for his work. ”I want my life back.” Both he and Michael subscribe to that sentiment, in different ways. —Ken Tucker
The Real Housewives of New York premiere recap: New alliances, accusations of Countlessness
I loved the friendship between these two, never stronger than last season when they snuggle-worked on Jill’s Hamptons four poster bed. Jill thinks Bethenny had grown cold and distant, and cannot forgive her last stern voicemail in which she declared Jill in dire need of a hobby other than herself. The women gasped with narrowed eyes. She didn’t! Cut to Bethenny on top of the world, her Skinnygirl brand reaching ever loftier heights. She’s got a nude PETA campaign, she’s got an a? to die for, she’s got a team of stylists holding various shades of pasties. And as we all know, she’s got a new boyfriend. She groaned meanly when her assistant brought up all the unread emails from Jill, referring casually to her in-box as glutted with nonsense. Jill is right to feel cast aside. —Karen Valby