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''Love Monkey'' and other business

By RD Heldenfels Published: December 22, 2005

Today was technically my last day at work in 2005. I say ''technically'' for three reasons:

1. I can't stay away from this blog for long. (This is my second posting since I got home this afternoon.)

2. I'll probably drift into the office once or twice during my vacation. I did pare down one giant pile of papers on my desk today, but more papers await, and vacations are one of the best times for paring. Then again, I also have to do something about the stacks of material in my study. One way or another, I see a bout of neatness coming next week.

3. I expect to spend part of my vacation looking at shows premiering in January, and will want to talk about them somewhere before I get back to the print world. Hmm, I seem to have this blog...

I've already started looking at some of the new fare, including ''The Shield'' (although I really just glanced at enough of the new season to sense that it will be very good), ''Crumbs'' (good cast, but disappointing), ''The New Adventures of Old Christine'' (Julia Louis-Dreyfus's new sitcom, due in March, which deserves another look), ''Courting Alex'' (Jenna Elfman, not too good), the return of ''Jake in Progress'' (kinda likable) and ''In Justice'' and ''South Beach,'' each of which was sufficiently uninteresting to be dealt with in the small confines of an upcoming TV-book cover.

I rewatched parts of ''Emily's Reasons Why Not,'' the new Heather Graham comedy, which I first saw last summer. I inflicted the whole thing on my visiting stepdaughter, who is in the ''Emily's'' demographic. I am still apologizing for that.

I also want to sit down with the rest of ''Country Boys,'' a new PBS documentary; I saw the first two hours -- out of six -- last summer and very much liked it. And, having seen the pilot of ''The Book of Daniel'' last summer, I'm eager to watch a review disc with more. (Even more eager because one well-known anti-TV extremist is already criticizing it.)

One surprise so far has been ''Love Monkey,'' a CBS comedy-drama coming in January. It stars Tom Cavanagh, who gave me a headache when he starred on ''Ed,'' a show that chronically demonstrated a self-regard that gave me -- well, I've used up headache, so let's say the show overall made my teeth hurt.

Anyway, I kind of liked him in ''Love Monkey,'' where he plays a music-industry executive at one of those personal/professional crossroads that TV shows so often love. (As a matter of fact, ''Ed'' started with one.) And I liked the show, which felt comfortable and intelligent, and capable of pleasant little turns in plot and character. The title is all right; it alludes to Cavanagh's swinging from relationship to relationship. The show even made me laugh some. Although I have only seen the pilot, I'm ready for more of it, too.

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