Saturday Night Live (Saturdays 11:30 p.m. Eastern, NBC)
For all the advance buzz surrounding Sarah Palin’s cameo this week on SNL, after seeing it, there wasn’t much more to report than the day before she appeared—the big news was only that she appeared at all. In the cold open, sadly the only part many people saw of the episode, instead of putting Palin’s relatively sharp comedic timing, the show merely used her as a prop barely-related prop. Worst of all, it wasn’t very funny. Her reappearance on Weekend Update was at least a bit funnier (and did a fantastic job of showcasing Amy Poheler’s rhyming skillz) but again, begged the question of whether the real Palin was a necessary component at all.  It seemed that SNL was only positive enough to Sarah Palin to keep her from walking out, instead of “risking” making her look good by writing her something funny. Despite the missed opportunity with such a profile walk-on, the rest of the episode was strong. Josh Brolin proved an adaptable and likable host. He particularly excelled in a bizarre pregnancy-fetish/Allman-Brother-Band send-up, as well as what is almost certainly the only skit that will ever make repeating the phrase “Fartface” so funny, with Will Forte and Bill Hader. Keenan Thompson was a highlight at the Update Desk, trotting out his reliable, French-for-no-reason standup Jean K. Jean.  Mark Wahlberg undid a week of public whining over last week’s very tame (and dead-on) impression by popping up to confront Andy Samberg, the perpetrator. Even the duds weren’t terrible (Narc School, Josh Brolin as a guy who’s really, really into fall colors).  Next week’s another pretty good hand: Mad Men’s Jon Hamm and Coldplay.—Don Sparrow

 

Gossip Girl (Mondays, 8PM Eastern, The CW)
Bart Bass returns home to lay down the law with his new family (turns out he’s closing a business deal with someone who has actual family values, and Serena’s constant presence on Page Six isn’t helping). S responds by trotting out to 1Oak in the sluttiest dress she’s ever worn, but little bro Erik scolds (also, respectfully decides not to bring his new boyfriend to the Family Values Housewarming). In a forced, laughable side plot, Vanessa, who still has a compromising photo of the stepson-bedding Duchess, blackmails Blair to save a historic Brooklyn bar. B calls in Chuck, and motivates him to destroy Vanessa by offering much-desired “services.” Chuck gets all in love again, and, when B swipes V’s phone, deletes the photo, and calls off the deal—and offers the prize anyway—Chuck demands the “three words” he couldn’t say to Blair before. She says no way, never. Meanwhile, an annoying, over-the-top bromance is budding between Dan and Nate, leading D to discover N squatting in his own seized house. Dan and Jenny plot to move N into their Brooklyn quarters, an idea he passionately rejects. Until Dad, in an astoundingly sappy speech, sends Dan in pursuit of his new love. On the way, D finds Serena, who, vulnerable after blowing up in front of reporters in at the housewarming, want to have an overdue apology session. Dan obliges and returns home with a sheepish Nate, while S gets into Daddy Bass’ family limo and heads home for another apology session.—David Sessions

 

Pushing Daisies (Wednesday 8PM Eastern, ABC)
Private Investigator Emerson Cod’s mother (and purported best friend) returns after we learn that she endangered her five month old son’s life to solve a case she was working on. (This, of course, hastened their blossoming friendship.) Charlotte decides to room with Olive (who’s returned from the nunnery) instead of living with Ned which makes him jealous of his lost attention. Emerson learns that his mother (suspecting his son’s secret-keeping) is spying on him and he reveals to her the existence of his seven-year-old daughter, who’s missing. (Her existence was previously unknown by everyone except Ned.) In their free time, Emerson, Ned, and Charlotte solve a body-laden case involving a company that provides friends for hire (so called “frescorts”). Oh, and I forgot! At the end of the episode Charlotte comes to Ned in the nude. Seeing as they can’t so much as touch without Charlotte going limp and, you know, dying I’m not sure where, exactly, that’s leading.—Timothy Zila

 

America’s Next Top Model
There’s a standoff between the immigrants—Elina and Marjorie—and those who can no longer listen to them complain—Sam and Sheena. Back to fashion: Ron and Richard Harris give the girls lessons on how to sell garments. They’re put to the test when they have to model garments at a show for Nony Tochterman. The catch?  They’re wearing green bodysuits that make all but the clothes they’re modeling invisible.  That means, no one can rely on their pretty faces. Elina feels claustrophobic in the bodysuit and freaks out. But guess who wins? Elina. Then comes the dreaded Cover Girl commercial. Cycle through cycle, the girls—including guest star Whitney Thompson—have all done terribly …that is, until Analeigh. Not only does she look the part, Analeigh is perky and personable. Meanwhile, Joslyn, not one to complain even when she’s sick, pukes onscreen and then delivers a cheeseball commercial. Tyra makes all the girls cheer about their trip to Amsterdam, and even makes them walk in clogs, before telling them one of them won’t be going. Josyln’s out, and we get another week of Elina’s whining. Yay.—Stephanie Nikolopoulos

 

Grey’s Anatomy (Thursdays 9PM Eastern, ABC)
Seattle Grace is elated to find McDreamy on the cover of a big medical journal publicizing the success of his clinical trial and completely ignoring Meredith's contribution—which piques her, she makes quite clear. Bailey organizes a massive twelve-patient kidney swap that will only work if none of the donors back out. A donor backs out when she finds out another donor is sleeping with her husband, and Meredith drops a kidney but thanks to the five-second rule, all is well. Cristina—and all the rest of these sick, twisted people—want to keep the dead kidneys in jars. Callie and Erica are having lesbian sex issues so Callie turns to McSteamy for lessons. Lexie is still trying to reach out to George with balloons and cinnamon candles, but he is being an idiot. Izzie is still trying to reach out to Alex, but he is being  a jerk. Alex finally lets Izzie care about him (or at least make out with him), and McDreamy loves Meredith so much that he gives her a glow-in-the dark kidney in a jar! Cristina snorts that there are no real men left in the world. Cue Badass Army Guy, ordering whiskey! End of scene.—Alisa Harris

 

The Office (Thursdays 9PM Eastern, NBC)
Michael helps Pam get a job at Dunder Mifflin Corporate in New York after she realizes that going to school has become too expensive. He then proceeds to call her incessantly. Michael and Holly make out in a stairwell in the office building and, because they forget to lock the door, thieves break into the office and steal stuff. They decide to set up an auction in the warehouse in an effort to raise money to replace the stolen items. Pam leaves Jim a drunken voicemail, and Jim sarcastically refers to her as the "future mother of [his] children.” When Michael allows the staff to auction off any item they choose, Holly decides to auction off a yoga lesson (which only Michael bids on) and Phyllis auctions a hug. (Micheal: "Seriously Phyllis? A hug? Nobody wants that") Darryl auctions off an opportunity for someone to join him and the rest of the warehouse workers at the bar for beers. Jim bids $5, and they leave immediately. Meanwhile, Angela and Andy set a date for their wedding, which pretty much kills Dwight to death. Under Phyllis’ guidance, Dwight gives Angela an ultimatum: call off the wedding or "lose out on this," as he says pointing to his crotch. Angela ultimately chooses to lose out. Jim encounters Pam's ex-fiance Roy at the bar, who join them for beers. Jim fills Roy in on Pam's life (including his recent engagement to her). Hearing about Pam’s partying, Roy hints she may do to Jim what she did to him. Apparently at the end of the episode, CEO David Wallace catches Michael kissing Holly after the auction, but thanks to my friends PVR I didn't see that part. Technology sucks.—Jordan Kurtz

*****
Alisa Harris is deputy editor of Patrol. She teaches journalism at The King's College in Manhattan. Jordan Kurtz is a Patrol music editor. Stephanie Nikolopoulos is a writer and editor in New York. David Sessions is the editor of Patrol. Don Sparrow is a freelance writer and illustrator in Saskatchewan. Timothy Zila is a Patrol music critic.

 
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Alisa Harris

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