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Still Sweeping

More May Sweeps and season-finale fun in TV land.



NBC: They’ve resorted to everything from girl-on-girl kissy action (between Winona Ryder and Jennifer Aniston—and Lisa Kudrow, as a bonus) to greatest-hits flashback episodes (unwisely highlighting funnier times). They’ve even thrown in Kathleen Turner as a drag queen dad (do you really need a parenthetical punchline here?), but Friends has still been getting its collective teensy ass kicked by CBS’ Survivor for weeks. Now that the coast is clear, it’s time for the big Chandler-Monica wedding, climaxing with Joey jumping a shark tank on a motorcycle—heeeyyy. (Thursday, May 17)

As with Friends, the funny has been painfully absent from Will & Grace for most of this season. When you’re laughing at dirty lines only because you’re picturing the suits at KSL’s “Broadcast House” feverishly punching ad-revenue numbers on calculators to justify airing such kiddie-league smut, something ain’t right. Afterwards, some nut-job shoots up the hospital in this year’s typically melodramatic exit of ER. Asking, “When is the hospital not getting shot up?” is like asking, “Why is this damned thing letterboxed like a movie?” You just roll with it. (Thursday, May 17)

On the season finale of Providence, goody-goody Dr. Syd (Melina Kanakaredes) gets caught on film romancing a married congressman and incurs the wrath of his estranged wife. Can’t we just settle this with bikinis and a mud pit like civilized people? (Friday, May 18)

Elvis Costello turns up on the hour-long series-end party for 3rd Rock From the Sun, as Dick (John Lithgow) and the gang prepare to return to the home planet after their Earth mission is finally canceled. Since most everyone was under the impression that 3rd Rock’s Earth mission was canceled years ago, Elvis gets stiffed on the door cover. In its eighth-season (!) closer, the Frasier clan hits the Caribbean, where bony Daphne (Jane Leeves) is tragically mistaken for a swizzle stick by a drunken E! Wild On crew. (Tuesday, May 22)

In the season capper of the ever-cool Ed, titular Ed (Tom Cavanagh) helps Carol chaperone the Stuckeyville prom, teen Warren considers hiring a leggy blonde from an escort service as his date for said prom (haven’t we all done this?), and criminally underutilized Phil (Michael Ian Black) discovers his latest True Calling—as a Tom Green-style shock-geek TV host, only funny. (Wednesday, May 23)

Fox: The eternal Simpsons go out with a sorta-educational episode, featuring the ’toon family playing folk legends like Paul Bunyan and Tom Sawyer. And you thought the well was dry. On the just-get-it-over-with season finale of The X-Files, Mulder and Doggett finally learn the true identity of the father of Scully’s baby. Remember, one Jell-O-Shooter bender at TGI Friday’s with an alien reptile can haunt you forever, ladies. Know when to say when. (Sunday, May 20)

That ’70s Show and Titus sign off with shows themed around love and junk, the latter featuring star Christopher Titus begging fiancée Erin (Cynthia Watros) to reconsider her bleached-Furby haircut before the wedding. Tuesday’s real cliffhanger, however, is Dark Angel, James Cameron’s pricey weekly sci-fi epic starring lippy Jessica Alba. Since every episode costs $80 zillion to produce, biz insiders predict Fox will drastically cut programming costs across the board to keep it. Then, all Fox will be able to afford next season will be Dark Angel and cheap-o reality shows, like World’s Deadliest Pedicures Caught on Tape and Temptation IHOP. (Tuesday, May 22)

The WB: Out of sensitivity for the fine advertisers who’ve (wisely) purchased prime newsprint real estate directly across from The Only TV Column That Matters™, let’s keep the Buffy the Vampire Slayer references to a minimum—she’s jumping to UPN next fall, but at least she’s not taking Angel with her. Needless to say, the pair’s WB season finales are loaded with killer action, sly humor and whip-smart writing, qualities really appreciated over at UPN …m, yeah. (Tuesday, May 22)

Charmed, which routinely draws higher ratings than the ballyhooed Buffy and would sure as hell like you to know it, ends Season 3 with the Halliwell sisters being accidentally outed as witches, live on local TV news. Surprisingly, it isn’t a “Get Gephardt” segment on flimsy tube-top workmanship. (Thursday, May 17)

As the only admitted viewer of Popular, I’d like to point out that this bizarrely funny show doesn’t stoop to guest-star hype like, say, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, who’s using those Popstar skanks Eden’s Crush to dress up her season finale 60 minutes prior. The only cunning stunt Popular ever whips out is psycho-comic loon Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman), which may explain the show’s recently announced demise. Dang. (Friday, May 18)

Renewal isn’t in the cards for the alien teens of Roswell, either, so they’re closing the season in a suspiciously 3rd Rock From the Sun fashion by saying buh-bye to Earth—but not before Max (Jason Behr) tracks down those smack-typin’ brats at How much cyber-abuse can one pretty, vaguely heterosexual male/alien take? Before that, 7th Heaven finishes Season 5 with more of the warm ‘n’ fuzzy family fun that I know I won’t be watching, either. (Monday, May 20)

The season wrap of Felicity finds Ms. Maybe It Wasn’t the Haircut That Drove Viewers Away After All (Keri Russell) at odds with the pretty, vaguely heterosexual males in her life. Jeez, is Mitch English the only real man on this channel anymore? How scary is that? (Wednesday, May 23)

UPN: You’ve got your Star Trek: Voyager two-hour series finale and, well, that’s about it. Can Cap’n Janeway bring Voyager home? If so, will non-Federation employee Seven of Nine have to take a job at Hooters? Spoiler: The next Star Trek series will actually be a wacky UPN spin-off sitcom about a fish-out-of-water Borg babe just getting by as a hot wings-peddling waitress titled Suddenly Seven. Sorry, Trekkies. (Wednesday, May 23)