It’s been a busy TV week. Let’s jump right in.

American Idol. I didn’t watch Tuesday’s show, but I can’t say I’m disappointed George Huff got the boot. He’s got a tremendous voice, but he’s a one trick pony. For about the first four weeks, you think, “This guy is awesome!” After that, though, you realize he sings every song exactly the same way. Good guy, nice singer, but not finalist material. I’m troubled by the teens. I didn’t like anything about Diana DeGarmo at the beginning. I thought she was a screamer, a glorified high school talent show act, and was perpetually annoyed by her insistence on starting each song with an exhortation to the audience, “Come on y’all!” Jasmine Trias, on the other hand, was my dark horse to win it all. Little and young, but with a big voice that was properly restrained, I thought she had the right combination of goods to sneak into the finals then get an upset win. Over the last three weeks, however, something weird has happened. I haven’t hated Diana’s performances. It seems like she’s picked up some of Jasmine’s restraint. As a visual performer, I still have issues with her overselling the songs, but I can’t deny she’s been singing much better recently. Jasmine, on the other hand, has had cracks in her smooth veneer show. She’s chosen some songs that just don’t fit her voice. She’s seemed nervous at times. She’s lacked the effortless quality she had early on. Not that it matters, it’s all about LaToya and Fantasia anyway.

The Bachelor. All right, any doubt that Trish is an ABC plant now? Seriously, they’re letting her come back next week and walk in during Jesse’s dinner with someone else? Just ABC trying to force some drama into a tired concept. My official handicapping is as follows:
Jessica B: 2-1. Gorgeous, smart, grounded, and seems to be taking everything in stride. She didn’t ask Jesse “Will you love me?” she asked him, “Are you open to something happening?” This girl understands the game and isn’t going on about falling for someone she barely knows. At least not yet. I like her family’s healthy skepticism as well. She also seemed to remain largely silent when the other girls were being openly catty about Trish.
Tara: 8-1. Would be higher, but I think her psycho dad seriously impacts her chances. The middle class buyer’s version of Jessica. She’s got a lot going on for her; she’s just not the luxury model. Too much of an instigator in the anti-Trish conversations.
Trish: 10-1. Hey, she’s hot and she knows how to work it. You can’t completely rule her out. Especially when all of ABC is pushing to get her into the final week. I think my favorite moment of this week’s episode was when she was talking privately with her sister about all the drama she faces from the other girls. The unstated message I picked up was “Sister, you don’t understand what it’s like. You’re not filthy and hot, you don’t sleep with married men (allegedly) and you haven’t lost track of how many people you’ve slept with.” A touching moment between two sisters.
Mandy J: 20-1. I’m sure she’s a good person but the beauty pageant stuff is just too weird. Especially when that’s all her family can talk about! I’m sure it’s difficult to have a normal conversation with someone courting your daughter with cameras in your face. But that was ridiculous.

I feel dirtier about writing almost 600 words on reality TV (Another sure sign we’ll be walking the minivan lots in 2 ½ years when it’s time to turn in S’s Passat) than I did paying to download music, so let’s move on to Friends. I thought the final episode was quite good. Nobody could have been fooled with how it ended, so there was no real drama in getting there. But they also didn’t try to do anything the show hasn’t done for ten years, which was nice. It was enjoyable, I laughed, and I didn’t wonder what I thought about it after the final credits rolled (See, 1998, Seinfeld). I think Friends was a vastly overrated show. I watch reruns quite often, and have mostly enjoyed the show over its run, but to say it’s one of the top ten comedies of all time would be a lie. It got attention for creating six funny characters, lasting for so long, and for being the first show about our generation as adults. It was better than 98% of the comedies, but never in the class of Seinfeld, MASH, Cheers, etc. Joey Tribiani will always make me laugh, but let’s not kid ourselves, he was no George Costanza. It’s a little disappointing that Fraser is going out with such a comparative whimper, as it was a much better show over its 11 years, even if its ratings have fallen from the top five slot it claimed for so many years. Friends was a nice show with memorable characters that made you laugh more often than not, but the biggest disappointment about it ending is there will now be one less decent show on network TV. I would put the odds of Joey enjoying the success Fraser had after Cheers ended just on this side of me ever buying my daughter a Missouri cheerleading outfit.

ER. I don’t want to speak for the other prospective parents out there, but I’ll just share that in this household, watching the dramatization of a woman miscarry her seven month fetus wasn’t exactly the most popular ER plot development ever. Fortunately, when I leaned over during a commercial and told the Little Girlfriend she needs to stay in for at least 10 more weeks and make sure she doesn’t get tangled in the umbilical cord, she responded with an immediate and resounding kick. Good to know she’s already paying attention to Big Poppa.