How I Met Your Mother - Aside from Ted dressing up as a hot dog and Will Forte reprising his role as Randy, Marshall's socially awkward, nosebleed-afflicted assistant, it was a fairly mediocre episode. Oh, and Lily pulling a Godfather on her ill-behaved kindergartener's stuffed horse was classic.
Chuck - In another feat of guest starring brilliance (where does such a ratings-challenged show find the money for these big name guests?) former Bond Timothy Dalton made an appearance as a mysterious piece of the puzzle of Chuck's mother's (played by Terminator actress Linda Hamilton) controversial past as a (maybe defected) CIA agent. In a scene that pretty much sums up the show, Chuck and Sarah had a serious talk about their relationship while performing evasive spy maneuvers, managing to achieve the show's signature blend of action, romance, humor, and suspense--a cocktail served best shaken, not stirred.
Gossip Girl - I have to say, I'm pretty impressed that Serena has been able to keep it in her pants this long. I didn't think she'd be able to wait it out for six weeks while she and her professor hold off on their relationship until it's no longer grounds for expulsion/firing. Of course, she's still Serena, so naturally she decided to spill her dirty little secret to Juliet, AKA Ms. Ulterior Motives. This was only a few weeks after Serena discovered Juliet was trying to sabotage her friendship with Blair, so clearly Juliet is a really trustworthy person. This show of Serena's dimwittedness only further demonstrates that she and Nate belong together. They're just two really dumb, really beautiful people looking for love in all the wrong places. (And I mean all the wrong places.) But the couple we really care about, of course, is Chuck and Blair, whose semi-reunion made the last few minutes of the episode positively unforgettable. What could be more fitting for these star-crossed lovers than color-coordinated, slow motion hate sex on a piano? Show of hands, how many of you replayed that scene more than three times? Yup, that's what I thought.
Hawaii Five-O - Usually I'd complain about the fact that H5O went to the trouble of introducing the character of McGarrett's sister (Taryn Manning) a couple of weeks ago, only to ignore her for two episodes, but I really, really don't like her, so I'm actually pretty okay with it. Not only was this week's episode free of Manning and her Lisa Rinna lips, but it featured a solid two to three minutes of Alex O'Loughlin without a shirt on, which you can watch here. (You're welcome.) Note to the producers: This is an excellent formula for a successful episode. Since Danno doesn't swim (and this particular mission took place on a boat), McGarrett's sidekick this week was a retired Navy veteran who gave a moving speech recounting his experience watching the attack on Pearl Harbor. He also broke McGarrett out of the bathroom he was locked in, and got shot while trying to prevent any casualties in the final shootout. Um, can we keep this guy on as a season regular instead of Taryn Manning?
Election coverage. (Boo.)
Survivor - I've been watching Survivor for almost half my life, and usually by the merge I have the remaining castaways' names down pat. But this season's awful cast has so many forgettable faces that even this far in the game I still find myself saying to my TV, "Who is that blonde woman?" (In my defense, I swear Purple Kelly hadn't spoken a word on camera in at least three weeks.) I'm also pretty sure I couldn't pick Benry out of a lineup. The most disappointing aspect of this season is probably the fact that almost no one seems to have any idea how to play the game of Survivor at all. (Unless Dan's useless invalid strategy is actually an elaborate plan to keep him from being seen as a threat.) Brenda might be the only smart person still in the game, aside from the one shining star in a cast of idiots and douche bags: the gem that is Jane Bright. She almost has enough personality to make up for the bland group of morons she got stuck with. This week's immunity challenge had a male and a female winner, and after outlasting all the other women, Jane asked Jeff, "What if I want to beat them?" referring to the remaining men in the challenge. Jeff seemed as charmed as we were, and told her to go for it. Jane, the 56-year-old dog trainer from North Carolina outlasted everyone. She's officially my new hero. Unfortunately, her awesome victory only distracted us from this snore of a season for a few minutes, and then they were at tribal, where they once again voted out the wrong tribe member. When Benry held his vote for Alina (whose brilliant "pick me! I'm a pawn, not a mastermind!" speech was useless on these dumbasses), he told the camera, "You are a 100% Grade-A dirt squirrel," which left everyone in the world wondering, what the hell is a dirt squirrel? (If you're curious, it's defined on UrbanDictionary.com.) Another lingering question: Now that the tribes have merged, who gets to keep the nickname "Uncle"? Fabio or Dan? Hey, I know, let's vote both of them out, and then problem solved!
Cougar Town - Oh, Cougar Town...You never disappoint me. The second season of this ensemble comedy from the creator of Scrubs has been superb. This week was Jules' birthday, which meant only two things: One, Jules changed Grayson's age to 43 so he'd be the older one in their relationship, and two, Jules' friends all competed to see who could buy her the best birthday gift. (Literally, Jules chose a winner. They take it really seriously.) The most significant development of the episode was, of course, the introduction of the "truth gun," which is a phenomenon that occurs when one friend points their finger at another's head in imitation of a gun and he or she has no choice but to tell the truth. This led to perhaps the funniest scene of the episode in which Ellie, Andy, Grayson, and Travis have a four-way truth gun shootout in the kitchen. (Watch it here and laugh riotously.) In an almost equally hysterical scene, Travis decided to help Bobby conquer his nemesis the neti pot once and for all, cheering his father on as he poured salt water into his nasal cavity to the tune of "Hero" by Enrique Iglesias. (Best. Song choice. Ever.) You can watch it here and thank me later. Other notable moments include Ellie's "Look At My Rings" dance while she bragged about winning Jules' Best Gift contest nine years running, Ellie showing off her gift-giving skills by giving Grayson a gift so meaningful that it drove him to tears, and the realization that Andy is Keyser Soze.
Terriers - Have I mentioned that Terriers is the best new drama of the season? And that it's brilliantly written and acted? And that it's smart, funny, and suspenseful? And I'll be a monkey's uncle if the characters on this show aren't the most complex, flawed, and compelling characters on TV since Lost. This week Hank investigated his ex-wife's fiancé's checkered past, ending with a heartbreaking confrontation with his ex, whom he's still in love with. Meanwhile, his P.I. partner Britt helped track down Hank's physical therapist's nephew's hooker, who, it turned out, was a transvestite. Are you sufficiently intrigued? Everyone should be watching this show. It's on Wednesdays at 10 on FX. Be there.
Community - If this were any other show, I'd probably complain about their generalizations about women in this week's Mean Girls storyline, or the fact that Troy and Jeff's secret garden subplot was obviously just because they needed something to do with them since they didn't fit into the rest of the plot. But it's Community, and I just can't even muster up the will the criticize it. I love this show for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. It's like those Sour Patch Kids commercials: Even when they cut off your hair while you're sleeping, you still can't help but love them. While it could have been called "underwhelming," I for one thought the secret garden plot line was actually really funny. I loved the whimsical Alice In Wonderland music that played while Troy and Jeff got high (in the air) on the magic trampoline, "bouncing like a baby on the knee of a goddess." Back on the other side of the hedge, Hilary Duff guest starred as the queen bee dethroned by Britta and co. Watching the girls use Abed's powers of observation (he apparently has a gift for honing in on people's flaws and insecurities) was almost worth it just to see Jeff wearing Ugg boots.
30 Rock - "Ambition is the willingness to kill the things you love and eat them in order to stay alive." - Jack's throw pillow
The Vampire Diaries - This show always manages to pack oh-so-much into every hour. This week's episode was no exception and featured plenty of story development, including but not limited to the introduction of two new vampires, the vague implication that a romance between Bonnie and Jeremy might be on the horizon, and, oh yeah, Damon dropping the "L" bomb on Elena before wiping her memory of it. (For more on this week's Vampire Diaries, click here.)
Fringe - I think I speak for everyone when I say that I'm actually starting to really like the Fringe Division gang in the alternate universe. Lincoln, Fauxlivia (who's actually Real Olivia), and the still-alive-in-this-universe Charlie Francis make a great team with, perhaps, a little more humor and a little less gravity than our usual group. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade Peter, Walter, and Real Olivia for anything. In fact, I was glad we at least got to see a bit of Peter in Olivia's fun Peterlucinations that represent her subconscious telling her she doesn't really belong there. The altverse storyline was a strong one, and it was great to see the Ashmore twins (Shawn and Aaron) playing twin brothers who were reunited after one broke the other out of the amber at a quarantine zone. All in all, season three is going strong. Here's hoping next week brings Peter's inevitable realization that his Olivia is actually Fauxlivia.
Well, that's it for this week, folks. Tune in next week for the rundown on all the fun guest stars and fun gimmicks sweeps has in store for us. And remember, every time you don't watch Terriers, a puppy dies.