<p>&nbsp;Jeff Probst gets VERY concerned during Thursday (Oct. 22) night's 'Survivor: Samoa'</p>

 Jeff Probst gets VERY concerned during Thursday (Oct. 22) night's 'Survivor: Samoa'

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Samoa' - 'This Is the Man Test'

The ongoing rain causes trouble for one Russell, happiness for the other Russell and a 'Survivor' first
Pre-credit sequence. Foa Foa keeps losing and they keep voting out people I like. Well, except for Ben. He was a tool of epic proportions. But I'd only begun to stop missing Marisa when Foa Foa bid adieu to Ashley and her dimples. It's Day 15 in Foa Foa and the rain is coming down. MickDreamy is shivering and his wrinkled toes and fingers are just a bit gross. "There was some envy last night when Ashley went home," MickDreamy admits. Jaison makes a really geeky "Captain Planet" reference, saying he wishes he had a heart ring. But as for Psycho Russell? He's just lounging in the water in his fedora. "Hell yeah, I'm having fun," Psycho Russell declares. He makes the accurate point that when they were just enjoying sunny days in Samoa, it might as well have been a family vacation. He promises, "This makes makes me stronger."
 
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<p>&nbsp;Erin of 'America's Next Top Model'</p>

 Erin of 'America's Next Top Model'

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' - 'Interview 101'

The tiny models meet Jessica Lowndes of '90210,' but a Covergirl commercial causes trouble

I knew something was off about "America's Next Top Model" Cycle 13. There's a mom in the competition, but she isn't whining and crying about missing her baaayyy-bee. Wow. How refreshing and respectable and ... cannot ... compute ....

Instead Rae prefers to compete in a hair-thrashing competition with Nicole, who --- awwwwww -- is coming out of her shell. Bye bye, fetus girl, hello, high-fashion contender!

[Full recap of Wednesday (Oct 21) night's "America's Next Top Model" after the break...]

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<p>Cat Deeley, host of &quot;So You Think You Can Dance.&quot;</p>

Cat Deeley, host of "So You Think You Can Dance."

Credit: AP Photo

Recap: 'So You Think You Can Dance' - Top 20 Revealed

Could anyone make judge Adam Shakman cry tonight?

 

Okay, cue overly dramatic music, preferably something Fox News played during the Balloon Boy incident. And then cue the increasingly annoying SYTYCD theme, which always sticks in my head for a good week, only to be flushed out just in time... for another episode. Finally, imagine Cat Deely reading this in her usually breathless but appealing foreign accent: One hundred fifty-two came to Las Vegas with a dream. Thirty-eight made it to Hollywood. And now... the final 20! Can you stand it? Apparently the excitement was too much for Mia Michaels, as she quit the show last week but not before Hollywood auditions were done, so I’m watching girlfriend for clues as to why she’d walk away from one of the better dance gigs out there. On first glance, I’m wondering if that prison haircut may have made her all kinds of crazy. Hello, Mia? The skinhead look, better left to actual skinheads. Blech.

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<p>&nbsp;Zachary Quinto of 'Heroes'</p>

 Zachary Quinto of 'Heroes'

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Heroes' - 'Tabula Rasa'

As Sylar struggles to regain his memory, Peter employs Noah's help to save Hiro's life

 I’m trying to look at “Heroes” objectively. I really am. I’m trying to look at it from the perspective of someone that doesn’t recall just how bad the last two seasons have been, because I have the sneaking suspicion that had I looked at this season’s first few episodes devoid of any previous context, I might have actually somewhat enjoyed them. Even with the bad taste of the previous three volumes in my mouth, I can still say “Redemption” tops them all. But that’s also damning it with faint praise, sort of like selecting my favorite “Yes, Dear” cast member. 

So when I realized that a good chunk of tonight’s episode would feature Robert Knepper and Zachary Quinto squaring off, I found myself…excited. About an episode of “Heroes.” I know, right? Cats and dogs, living together, etc., etc. So did the episode live up to the hype? Not really, but in the show’s defense, they chose to spend tonight’s episode planting seeds for the long haul versus setting off fireworks this early in the game. While that’s understandable from a storytelling perspective, it still left this viewer feeling short-changed. 

[Full recap of Monday (Oct. 19) night's "Heroes" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Mika and Canaan of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

 Mika and Canaan of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' -- 'I'm Like Ricky Bobby'

A Fast-Forward races one team into the lead, while poor choices and general idiocy sends another team packing in Dubai
Unlike "American Idol," "The Amazing Race" isn't a show that I consider myself to be a scholar off. I've watched regularly for 10 seasons (and done recaps for nearly as long), but I often forget teams and challenges and historical precedent. The longer I watch, though, I become more and more convinced by the idea of "Amazing Race" karma and its centrality to the game. 
 
No, I don't believe that you're every going to win "The Amazing Race" by helping the other teams and tipping cab drivers above and beyond the custom of the land or patting small children from impoverished villages on the head. Nor do I think you're likely to lose simply because you complained about the way a foreign country smelled, got into a fight with an airline travel representative or gave a bum clue to a rival team. 
 
But it probably can't hurt to put positive vibes out there into the universe. At least in the first four or five legs. Then you can move into, "This is a race and I'm not here to make friends" mode. Also, I'm probably going to like you more if you do the former things and I'm probably going to hate you more if you do the latter things. 
 
That's why, one week after losing the only team I was actively able to root for -- Poor Zev and Justin! -- I at least found another team to tacitly support. I never would have guessed I'd say this, but "Go Team Miss AmEricka!" OK. That's an overstatement, but if they win? Karma!
 
[Sigh. Yes. I had a hard time coming up with an intro for this recap that wasn't just me gloating with excitement about the lame team that got sent home... It happens sometimes.]
 
Full recap of Sunday (Oct. 18) night's "The Amazing Race" after the break...
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<p>&nbsp;Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men'</p>

 Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men'

Credit: AMC

Recap: 'Mad Men' -- 'The Color Blue'

With Sterling Cooper's anniversary on the horizon, Betty Draper learns more about Don's past

 As "Mad Men" nears the end of Season 3, the start of the rest of the century beckons. The dramatic irony lies in the contrast of the characters' expectations versus audience's knowledge of events to come. Whereas Roger Sterling sees the rest of the century playing out in a similar fashion to the first forty years of Sterling Cooper's existence, we know all too well that a few bullets in a few weeks time will end one era and start another. 

[Full recap of Sunday (Oct. 18) night's "Mad Men" after the break...]

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<p>Gerard Butler showed off his comedy and musical skills on this weekend's &quot;Saturday&nbsp;Night Live.&quot;</p>

Gerard Butler showed off his comedy and musical skills on this weekend's "Saturday Night Live."

Credit: NBC

Recap: Gerard Butler sings, Shakira howls and the return of 'The Rock Obama' on 'SNL'

Plus: James Franco appears out of nowhere and asses and gays rule the night

 

Having unfortunately missed Drew Barrymore's hosting stint last week, we're back in the game as Gerard Butler makes his debut as the host of tonight's NBC's legendary skit show.  Having interviewed Butler a number of times, he's always displayed a great sense of humor and it's strange he hasn't landed this gig before.  Thankfully, his work in this summer's dreadful "The Ugly Truth" didn't disqualify him (someone told Lorne Michaels "Gamer" wasn't a comedy, right?).  In any event, on with the show.  Butler's got "Law Abiding Citizen" to hype!

Opening

Yet another Obama opening.  This week, the president (Armisen) is setting up a meeting with his health care foes: Senators Snow, McConnell and Baucus. But as he promises his assistant, he won't get angry.

When one of the Senators tells him, "We don't want healthcare to fail, we just want you to fail," the president undergoes a dramatic transformation.  Yep, it's the return of 'The Rock Obama'!

Johnson seems to do Obama better than Armisen, even it he's ripped to the hilt.  He first throws one senator out the oval office window, rips another's arm off saying "You better call your insurance, say you need new arm."  (Applause from the audience.)  With only Maine's Snow left he says, "Put head in hand, smash it now." (Oops, laughter goes cold. Perhaps a bit too dark for "SNL"?)  Luckily, Joe Biden comes in to save Snow before finding his blooper-loving self thrown out the window as well. Cue Johnson yelling the famous intro...

Grade: B.  Great site gag with Johnson, but felt like something went wrong.

Monologue

Gerard Butler starts off by announcing he's officially hosted "SNL" more than any other Scotsman in history. He then segues from joking about how he stars in movies either wearing his shirt or not and how he is more "sensitive" on screen when he has his shirt on to singing a song from his favorite shirt-wearing musical.  Wait, is he gonna go there? Is Butler going to sing "Music of the Night" from his highly criticized performance in the big screen "Phantom of the Opera"?  You bet he does and somehow he sounds better than he actually did in the movie. While he's mid-verse he's randomly attacked by a crusader.  He tries to sing again, but keeps getting interrupted by warriors and ninjas. Surprisingly, not only can Butler sing, but he can sing and kick ass!  Impressive.  Then Kristen Wiig comes out to hit the high notes at the end of "Night," except -- she's ready to attack him with a knife too yelling, "Take your shirt off." Not tonight Ms. Wiig. Not tonight.

[For those wondering why there is no clip, chances are NBC couldn't clear the Andrew Lloyd Webber song for onine in time.]

Grade: B.  Rough at the beginning, but the man completely mocked himself and pulled it off. Good show.

Commercial: Grand Hoochie Skank Rose

Kenan Thompson appears as the proprietor of a slew of ghetto Champagnes including Maison du Satin, Ghetto Imperial and MInneapolis Mystery.  Now, he's introducing a new champagne specifically designed to pour down women's asses.  Yep, it's Grand Hoochie Skank Rose.  (Do your really want me to continue?)

Grade: C.  Can we get one slam dunk commercial this season?  Just one?

[We then interrupt the show to find out Bud Light Golden Wheat is sponsoring most of tonight's commercial breaks and will be showing highlights from rehearsals over the years with former stars Will Ferrell, Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon,  Darrell Hammond, etc.  Let's not spend any energy recapping these clips because they were 10x funnier than anything original on the show tonight and it just gets depressing. Moving on...]

Gametime with Randy and Greg

Thompson and Bill Hader appear as sports show hosts Randy Dukes and "Greg" to talk about this weekend's Major League Baseball playoffs.  They start to take calls from their viewing audience, but all anyone wants to ask is if Greg is really an alien (duh).  And yes, that's the entire joke of this skit -- Randy's co-host is an alien.  For some reason Butler shows up as a former baseball player who is must more interested in Greg being an alien than making postseason picks, but it only serves to extend an excruciatingly lame bit.

Grade: D. This must have been funny in the writer's room, because it certainly wasn't on the air.

Beauty and the Beast

Singing the title song from the Disney classic, Wiig and Butler appear in costume as Belle and the Beast (Butler singing again!).  Is it true love for the fairy tale couple?  "Oh, darling I can't wait for your transformation," the Beast says. Belle stops mid-dance and replies, "What do you mean mine?" "The curse will be broken and you can stop being a beast," the Beast says. "You think Im' the beast?"  "Yeah, we were just singing about it.  Oh, this is awkward."  It seems the Beast was hoping the curse would end and Belle would transform from what he considers only a "6" to a beauty with a big ass. Honestly, funny stuff, but again with the big asses.

Grade: B+.  One note, but somewhat inspired.  Who knew this would be Butler's "musical" return?

Shakira, "She Wolf"

No nude colored underwear for Shakira tonight, but she can definitely pull off those moves from the video. More impressively, she can sing live, shake her ass and show how limber she is by doing a sexy split.  Not only that, but she does it all in stiletto heels! Wowzers.

Grade: A.  Shakira howled on national television and did a full frontal split.  'Nuff said.

Weekend Update with Seth Meyers

Let's skip Seth's lame jokes and get on with the guests:

Hader and Armisen return as the two gay guys from New Jersey, but this time we discover they are in military service. Some choice one-liners:
"I identify him by his first class privates." "We are just gonna go about our army business -- shining our helmets."  (Funny, but not sure the audience was into it though.)

Next up the actual Ballon from Colorado shows up and Seth argues that he's not news. Ballon cries, Seth makes him feel better telling him nobody is blaming him. Oh yeah, it was all a hoax.



Update's third guest is Butler who appears explaining he wants to talk to his family who are watching live by satellite in his native Scottish tongue.  Seth agrees to interpret but gets some of the translation wrong such as noting "300" wasn't "great," but "gay" and his "New York moment" was "sleeping with a prostitute."



Last, but not least, Wiig appears as a woman who suffers chronic orgasms having had to deal with 200 screaming moments a day.  "Not as fun as you'd think," she insists. Then she starts to have one on the air and Wiig, who is probably the best physical comedian left on the cast, um, nails it out o the park.  Seth finishes with, 'Thank you for coming' getting an evil eye from his guest.



Grade: B - The guests were great, Seth's jokes were not.

Sparta's Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy

Butler's back in familiar territory as King Leonidas of his blockbuster hit "300," but this time his army is wondering when he's going to live up to his campaign promise of allowing gays in the Sparta military (has there ever been such a gay episode without Andy Samberg somehow involved?). Leonidas can't believe there would be that many gay soldiers and finally bows to the pressure.  "If you're gay, feel free to raise your hand," Leonidas says. Almost all of them raise their hands. "OK, but seriously, who here is actually gay?"  Duh, it's "300," they all are.

Grade: B.  Funnier than it should have been, but died way too soon.

What's Up With That?

It's a new BET show with Deandre Cole (Thompson) where he tackles today's issues with soul.  Tonight's guests: environmental activist Leslie Ferer, James Franco (the real James Franco!) and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsay Buckingham.  The joke of the skit is that every time Cole wants to start a new topic he breaks into the show's catchy theme song 'What Up With That?" What makes it work is that Thompson can actually sing and the song is actually good. Gerard Butler appears as White Pete (I can't make this up) and then tries to seduce Ms. Ferer who is wondering what is going on. Honestly, impossible to do it justice.  I mean, Peekaboo Street randomly comes on stage as the scene descends into a funk inspired number. And no, Franco doesn't say one word during the entire sketch.

Grade: A- Only Thompson could make this rock, because he can actually sing. Kristen Wiig has her fans, but Thompson consistently saves the show week in and out.

Cottage Cheese Ad Pitch


Butler is Thomas, an advertising exec whose new assistant Trena (Wiig) interrupts his pitch to a cottage cheese company representative.  Trena appears numerous times and can't stop bugging "Thomas." Another one of those kooky Wiig characters that some love and others, um, don't.

Grade: C. Probably a reason it was at the end of the show.  And it's not good.

Shakira, "Did it Again"

She's back! And Shakira displays even more of her new pop sound which mixes a little bit of Lady Gaga dance with her established latin inspired percussion beats.  Not sure if the Asian drummers behind her were actually drumming, but it was an impressive spectacle. The end of the number finds her once more showing off her amazing flexibility as she bends over to bang some drums.

Grade: B+ No "She Wolf," but she proves she's now Gaga or Gwen Stefani copy cat.

Daveheart

The tale of "Braveheart," but from the perspective of William Wallace's younger brother Dave.  And, yep, he's history's biggest coward.

Grade: C+ Old recycled coward jokes, but worth a giggle or two.

Overall, the show was funnier than the Megan Fox premiere, but not by much.   At least Reynold's turn had some great guest stars and Gaga (not that Shakira didn't impress tonight).

Is it me or does the show seems as though it's paper thin when Samberg is missing (shooting a new movie maybe?) and without the always reliable Darryl Hammond who retired?  It's unclear if this is the result of a new economical "SNL," but Wiig, Thompson and Armisten haven't proved they can carry the franchise on their own.  We'll take a few weeks off to ponder and return to catch Taylor Swift host on Nov. 7.  Let's hope Kanye West doesn't try to crash this moment either.

What did you think of tonight's "SNL"?  Share your thoughts below.

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<p>&nbsp;Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley of 'The Vampire Diaries'</p>

 Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley of 'The Vampire Diaries'

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'Lost Girls'

Stefan takes Elena back to 1864 and Damon makes a new friend out of Vicki

 

Finally, it's Flashback Week on "Vampire Diaries!" Last week Elena figured out that her honey has fangs, but this week, shizz gets real. So, so real. In the best episode yet, truths are told, vampires are made, people die AND Ian Somerhalder dances around the living room with his shirt unbuttoned – what more can you ask for

[Full recap of Thursday (Oct. 15) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Irina of 'Project Runway'</p>

 Irina of 'Project Runway'

Credit: Lifetime

Recap: 'Sequins, Feathers and Fur, Oh My!'

Bob Mackie and a special guest inspire the tackiest designs of the season

Let me just say that this week's "Project Runway" challenge should have been a home run (or at least a lot easier than dyeing crappy 1980s wedding dresses) for our intrepid designers, but instead it only results in some of the worst Stevie Nicks/Britney Spears bedazzled, craptastic leftovers you could ever imagine. But with a guest judge/sequinholic like Bob Mackie at the judges' table, you couldn't exactly expect subtlety and sophistication. I swear I'm crossing my fingers waiting for Tim to announce, in his sober and avuncular way, that one week's challenge will be dressing pre-op drag queens or street hookers, because that will not only be super fun, but really, a natural progression.

[Recap of Thursday (Oct. 15) night's "Project Runway" after the break...]

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<p>&nbsp;Shambo of 'Survivor: Samoa'</p>

 Shambo of 'Survivor: Samoa'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Samoa' - 'Walking on Thin Ice'

A downpour, an eating challenge, flying coconuts and a strategy-free Tribal Council
Pre-credit Sequence. Seriously, after a full day of Balloon Boy, how can you just switch gears to "Survivor: Samoa"? If I figure out, I'll let you know.  It's Night 11 in Galu and they're returning from their first Tribal Council, one Yasmin down. Shambo didn't expect Yasmin's ouster and she's irked she was kept in the dark. She goes to sleep, hoping to regroup the next day. With her napping, the "90210" girls sit around the fire and reflect on how nice things are in her absence. Monica, annoyed that Shambo wrote her name down, wants to take Shambo out next. But what would Balloon Boy think?
 
[Full recap of Thursday (Oct. 15) night's "Survivor: Samoa" after the break...]
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