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Thursday Night Madness: ''Survivor,'' ''The Office'' ''Grey's Anatomy''

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 28, 2006

I think ''Survivor: Cook Islands'' is in trouble. Tonight's episode ended the deliberate provocation of the racially divided tribes, turning the show into just plain ''Survivor,'' and not great stuff at that. The eventual double cross that sent Cecelia packing was mildly entertaining but most of the episode dragged. And that's not very enticing when the competition includes ''Earl/The Office,'' ''Ugly Betty,'' ''Smallville'' -- in other words, shows people can get passionate about.

We watched ''Survivor'' and then ''Grey's Anatomy.'' I had already seen ''Ugly Betty'' and ''Earl,'' and the DVR caught ''CSI,'' ''The Office,'' ''Smallville,'' ''Supernatural'' and ''Six Degrees.'' Maybe even more. It was an easy night to lose track. Anyway, ''Grey's'' made me feel as if its strengths are making its weaknesses more glaring.

The worst for me was Bailey's forgiving Izzie. First of all, no one should be forgiving Izzie. SHE KILLED A GUY. And I've had issues with the whole no-real-consequences for her going back to last season. Tonight's episode made that even worse. Nor should Bailey have to apologize for anything.

On a larger point, the medical characters have become so strong, and their stories sufficiently engrossing, that the patients just aren't that interesting. Last night's patients would not have been that exciting under most circumstances; we've seen the life-to-its-fullest bit before, and the bride noted that cases involving impaling have been around.

Good work, though, from Sara Ramirez, Chandra Wilson, Kate Walsh. The McSteamy surprise was pretty good, although I don't like the way it was played to let McDreamy off the moral hook. Better effort than usual from Ellen Pompeo, who is managing to look livelier than she did last season.

And deep bows of respect to the great Diahann Carroll as Burke's mom. Wonderful stuff with Cristina and with Burke. Nice use of Richard Roundtree, too; he's there, he's formidable and he needs few words to make an impact.

Last week, ''The Office'' did an episode that should rank among the greatest sitcom episodes of all time. This week, it was merely terrific: Michael and the wedding-dress comment, Angela's jealousy, the double date, the looks on Jim and Pam's faces after the phone call and then, to pay it all off, the scene with Jim in Michael's room, loaded with pain, bitterly funny. Talk to Roy, indeed.

And, as if that wasn't enough, the stains ...

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