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Sunday Night...

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 7, 2006

Well, I got those other two bushes out, more easily than the first one, proving that even a little experience can ease the task. (By the way, after writing this morning's post, I went to church, where the sermon was called ''Spring Pruning'' and the pastor had many stories about his own fun with plants. Sometimes these things are in the air -- especially when the air has bright sun and warmth passing through it, and being outside is mandatory.) We have accumulated groceries. The bride cleaned house and put a second coat of paint on the shed door, and washed her car, and made a lasagna. I ran the edger along the sidewalks, which wasn't bad, and swept up the cuttings, which is not among my favorite things. Younger son went to his job.

In other words, the day was full for everyone. And some TV was squeezed in. Well, a little bit of ''The Sports Reporters'' this morning. At lunchtime, we watched ''Survivor'' and caught up on all the strategizing and scheming.

I don't really have anything to add to the discussion I saw online after the telecast. Terry seems a lock for the final two, with a game that combines great individual effort with terrible team strategy. He reminds me of the ''Saturday Night Live'' parody of a Bush/Dukakis debate, where -- after ramblings by Bush -- Dukakis says, ''I can't believe I'm losing to this guy.'' The folks on ''Survivor'' must feel that way every time Terry approaches them with a plan. Cirie, on the other hand, is really smart. We'll just have to see how smart. At this point, if I'm Terry, I want her in the final two since she has been so skilled at betraying nominal allies now sitting on the jury. But when has Terry ever managed to influence who joins him at anything?

Watched some of the Cavaliers-Detroit game during the afternoon. Might have watched more if it hadn't gone like this:

Passed through the house at one point, score's tied 14-14, looks good. Back to the yard, where the bride later informs me that Detroit is up 10. A short break around half time, to see Detroit was up 21. Another check later, when Detroit's lead was in the thirties and time was short. Not a lot of reason to sit by the set and expect a Cavs comeback -- at least, not in that game.

Finally, evening brought a chance to really couch out in front of the TV. Rewatched ''Alias'' and it makes more sense to me -- well, as much sense as ''Alias'' ever makes. As I've said before, I'm sick of Rambaldi but I keep hoping it's finally leading somewhere. Odd to have not only two deaths but two involving cut throats -- an eerie symmetry underscoring the betrayal and obsession in each. And I like the way Jennifer Garner is playing Anna-as-Sydney, grabbing onto a facial expression as shorthand for Anna.

I thought a lot about faces during ''The West Wing'' (which I actually watched after ''The Sopranos,'' but I'll order my notes here by the clock). I may be overthinking this, but when I look at ''Sopranos'' or ''The Shield,'' or tonight's ''West Wing,'' I see shows where the people involved know they're near the end and they want to go out great. Everyone on ''WW'' was on his and her game tonight, and I don't mean they were chasing Big Moments. They were just working -- working together, playing off each other.

Think of the scene where Joshua Malina (Will) and Mary McCormack (Kate) talk about him running for Congress. Timothy Busfield (Danny) on the street. Busfield in the apartment with Allison Janney (CJ). Janney and Richard Schiff (Toby). And what about the way that Jimmy Smits (Santos) is morphing into Bartlet -- like in that moment where Santos gives CJ a won't-take-no speech? I will really miss seeing these guys go at it.

'"The Sopranos'' was a dud for me, the first one this season. The best explanation I can give is that the show was so intent on showing us why Tony was bored, it made the show boring. The Christopher stuff felt flat. We know he's the victim of his own demons. The scenes at the street fair may have been touching on their own, but in the larger context they didn't really tell us anything. And the flashback to his betrayal of Adriana, while filling in a gap, didn't fill it in a way that brought us a new insight into what happened. And guess what, Pauly is cheap and selfish and mean, and Janice is selfish. Not great.

I'm hoping to post tomorrow about ''Grey's Anatomy'' and maybe ''Saturday Night Live,'' which I recorded. But for now, I'll leave you with my hope that there was sunshine in your day, too.

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