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Back From a Break

By admin Published: May 10, 2010

The bride marked her birthday, as well as Mother's Day, on Sunday and to celebrate the dual occasions we took a short trip out of town over the weekend. I've been slowly getting back into catch-up mode, with some thoughts about "The Amazing Race," Betty White on "SNL" and "Friday Night Lights" after the jump.

Also, over on, you can find the most recent "American Idol" chat with Malcolm X Abram, including a Malcolm comment so funny I lost control for a bit. (I don't have a direct link to it yet, but it's on the home page.) And you can find my latest DVD column, focusing on "Daria," here.

On to the jump ...

I was disappointed that the Cowboys did not win "The Amazing Race." They had been very good competitors as well as likable guys. My distaste for Brent and Caite was sufficient that I had no desire for them to win (more about that, though, below). And Dan & Jordan just ticked me off with the backpack stunt in the airport. That was nonsense. I don't think in the end that it cost the Cowboys the win -- I think they lost it when they did not realize quickly enough how to read the virtual-reality clue -- but neither was it in keeping with the spirit of "Amazing Race," where I prefer the teams that play not only well but honorably.

Still, as glad as I was that Brent & Caite did not win, I was appalled by the Lesbians' behavior at the finish line. Cannot remember a season where someone was so snotty at the end. The sarcastic applause/no-applause was bad enough. The argument was even worse. Shameful and embarrassing to them, and by itself reason enough for the Lesbians to be eliminated from the Race. Again, this is a competition that tries to set itself apart from meaner shows, and here it ended with meanness that went beyond the bounds of the game. Who was their coach, Russell?

As for "Saturday Night Live," I cannot remember when I have laughed as often or as much as I did at Betty White's hosting. It was not that the writing was all that good -- as a general rule, I don't like the Scared-Straight bits, or Macgruber, and the "Delicious Dish" muffin sketch just was not on the level of Pete Schwedy. And the digital short was in essence a reworking of the concept in the Natalie Portman video.

Nor was it that Betty showed a raunchy side. Anyone who remembers Sue Ann on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" knows that she's not all wholesomeness. It was simply that she was so good, and so game -- reappearing in sketch after sketch, and bringing with her decades of good will as well as flawless tone and delivery. She was one of those rare hosts who makes the show better just by being in it; while it was nice to see the reunion of former cast members for the occasion, Betty White could have carried the whole thing without them. Eighty-eight "and a half" years old, and she still rocks.

While the bride and I were on our getaway, we watched all 13 episodes of the fourth season of "Friday Night Lights," which has already run on DirecTV and has begun airing on NBC. I had seen some of it during the DirecTV run but not all of it; still, I was as drawn into the episodes I have seen as the ones I have not. And the fact that we sat and watched these over the course of a Saturday should tell you how good it is. Do not miss this series. It is not perfect, but it is still consistently good, and this season has loads of touching moments, especially in the latter stages.

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