Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

I haven't worn a costume since a brush with the law 14 years ago (long story), but I do love this holiday. Today's All TV column is Halloween-themed. It started off as an excuse to make fun of Danni's skeletal physique on "Survivor" again, but I eventually came up with some legitimately scary TV events.

The biggest (and by far strangest) event of my weekend was being inducted into my high school's Hall of Fame. The other inductees included a pediatric cardiologist, a multi-millionaire and a record-holding fullback who went on to play at Penn State. And then there was me. Hell, I'm not even the most famous guy in my own graduating class (that would be Pete Yorn). But it was a nice honor, I got to see some of my favorite teachers, and I was able to take some lessons from all those years reviewing the Oscars and Emmys by keeping my speech as short as possible while still finding time to thank my agent, my business manager and my three attorneys.

Most of my weekend viewing was spent on advance screeners of tomorrow's shows, including "The Office" (which opens with the funniest three minutes on TV so far this season), "House" (which brings in Ron Livingston -- forever loved in my house because of "Office Space" -- as a sort of anti-House), and "Bones" (a show that spends far too much time kissing its main character's ass to make her seem more interesting than she actually is).

I also endured the opening 20 minutes of "SNL," which tends to be more painful than usual when an athlete hosts. (The main exception: Wayne Gretzky, whose episode in the late '80s included both "Waikiki Hockey" and "Fishing with the Anal-Retentive Sportsman.") Almost as excruciating was the latest "Curb Your Enthusiasm." I still refuse to buy into the shark-jumping theory here ("The Larry David Sandwich" and "Kamikaze Bingo" were too good for that), but this may have been the worst "Curb" ever. Predictable, slow, and not even the Larry/Lewis scenes had any zing.

I had already reviewed last night's "Grey's Anatomy," easily the best episode they've done so far. "West Wing," meanwhile, was like the "Back to the Future Part II" of "West Wing" episodes: an entire installment devoted to setting up the next one. Despite all the talk about how great Donna was on TV, she seemed stiff, and the White House press corps wouldn't punch themselves out so quickly on the Toby thing if our actual press is any indication.

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