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Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 3, 2006; 1:00 PM

Post TV Columnist Lisa de Moraes takes a look at what's on the tube in a fast-paced give and take about reality, non-reality, cable and you name it.

Join Lisa on Friday, March 3, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the latest on TV.

The transcript follows.

De Moraes has written "The TV Column" for The Post since 1998. She served as the TV editor for the entertainment industry trade publication the "Hollywood Reporter" for almost a decade.

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Arlington, Va.: Seriously, what was up with Paula last night? I caught it on CNN this morning, and well, it looks like girlfriend needs help. I also find it interesting that the Web recaps of the show aren't talking about it. Are most media outlets ignoring it so she can save face?

Lisa de Moraes: Hi. Is Paula on glue? "Depends on whether they ate salad" when asked which person on stage was getting whacked this week? What was up with her? My theory is that she's in love with Simon -- all that arm punching, putting her head on his shoulder, interrupting him, not shutting up -- ever -- reminds me the girls in my fifth grade class when they would fall desperately in love with one of the cute boys in the class...Perfectly revolting then, it's just as revolting now. Interesting how much better the show seemed this week when Paula, in a fit of pique, changed seats with Randy after Simon described her as a "petulant child" -- which pretty much hit the nail on the head, by the way. They should keep that seating chart...

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Chevy Chase, Md.: Hi Lisa. It's my first time here, but I'm an avid reader of your columns. You wrote today about the Parents Television Council's study of violence in children's shows and basically you made fun of them. I find it funny too that they consider the Roadrunner an evil and dangerous character for our kids, but my point is why do they deserve your attention? I think their claims are so ridiculous that they shouldn't even appear on the TV pages. Thanks.

Lisa de Moraes: ...because, my avid reader, having covered the TV industry for so long, you get a sense of when there is going to be a "pile on." And you never want to miss a good pile on...

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washingtonpost.com: Today's column: Violence! Violence! Violence! Burps! Nose Picking! , ( Post, March 3, 2006 )

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House: Where has FOX moved House? Is it on hiatus until American Idol is over, or is it somewhere I cannot find it?

Lisa de Moraes: Here and there and yes it's annoying. I think it's back to Tuesday next week with what sounds like an interesting episode: House has to cure a dead woman so her organs can be used to save a dying man. Now if only the dead woman was Sela Ward's character it would be perfect....

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Germantown, Tenn.: Pookie: I need the AI top three singers for my AI pool tiebreaker, but I haven't watched yet (always love to bet on something I don't know anything about). Please give me some picks. Thanks...

Lisa de Moraes: Three best voices are Elliott Yamin, Mandisa and, for third, a three-way tie among Lisa Tucker, Paris Bennett and Gedeon McKinney. But Ace will probably win, because he's sooo perty....

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Georgetown, Md.: Maybe I'm just mean, but I'm getting really sick of Kellie Picker's "Mom ran out, Dad's in jail, I'm a country girl in the big city" sob story on American Idol...It was cute at first, but the girl is not that good of a singer!

Lisa de Moraes: Yes, her "golly -- if I never have to eat that calamari stuff again I'll be happy." routine gets old quick. If we have two consec blonde country chicks win I'll have to give up on this show...

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Alexandria, Va.: I am looking at the picture of Donald Trump accompanying your column and wondering if he has a passing resemblance to John Madden. And now I am wondering if a John Madden version of the Apprentice would be entertaining. Perhaps tryouts for a football team.

Lisa de Moraes: zzzzzzzzzz....

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washingtonpost.com: With the Bar Set Low, Trump Limps Over , ( Post, March 2, 2006 )

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Arlington, Va.: In regards to Condi Rice exercising on WRC...what's next? Condi Rice's Darfur Diet! Eat nothing for a week! Seriously, when our country is at war, the port deal is major news, the president is heading to India, etc. couldn't have the reporter asked at least one or two questions relating to something of substance?

Lisa de Moraes: Which probably explains why Condi did the bit with a local TV reporter instead of a network reporter. On the other hand, now that I think of it, America's Sweetheart Katie Couric probably would have agreed to the "no hard questions" rule just so she could be seen in the February sweeps working out with Condi Rice. Ditto Ann Curry, for that matter. And Diane Sawyer for sure. Not to mention Soledad...Oh, I give up.

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Charlottesville, Va.: What do you think of Tony going to Monday Night Football? He's gonna be awfully cranky on that bus...

Lisa de Moraes: The crankier the better as far as I'm concerned...

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Albany, N.Y.: What does the future hold for "Everybody Hates Chris," unquestionably the best sitcom on right now?

Lisa de Moraes: Not to worry -- "Chris" is expected to survive the merging of UPN and WB in the fall...

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Kansas City, Mo.: Do the Oscars on TV matter anymore? If it was such appointment TV, like the SuperBowl, why aren't the ads as interesting as the SuperBowl's? I say dump the Oscars and Barbara Walter's blabfest. Anybody can get actors to cry, get them to jump up and down on a sofa like a maniac and then I'll watch.

Lisa de Moraes: The Academy Awards is called the Super Bowl for Chicks, and I don't know why there aren't more interesting ads. Maybe because cosmetic companies and feminine hygiene product firms don't see the need to spend a gazillion dollars on those ad campaigns for the Oscars...Also, the numbers for the Oscars are great, but still well behind SB numbers. Oh, and the Oscars have never really mattered, but I still love watching.

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Chantilly, Va.: Lisa: Could NBC have done a worse job of publicizing the new season of the Apprentice? I'm a regular viewer of this show, and I didn't know it had moved to Monday and started a new run until I read about it Tuesday on MSNBC.com.

Of course, if it's on opposite 24 I'm not going to watch it anyway. Why was it moved to Monday?

Lisa de Moraes: Because it was dying on Thursday. And where have you been hiding that you were not bombarded with all the press reports about the Trump-Martha hatefest -- most of which mentioned the debut date. That said, it's true that when a network's audience falls below a certain critical mass, it's on on-air becomes far less efficient for promoting new programs, season debuts and timeslot changes to its audience. Typically, the network then buys a lot more ad time and space elsewhere -- magazines, billboards, etc. I'm thinking ABC during the dark years....

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Washington, D.C.: Lisa-

On a show like "Lost" where characters can go episodes without being seen (Michael) or even nearly a season-to-date (Walt), do those actors still get paid a salary comparable to actors that appear in every episode? Or are they compensated on a more prorated basis?

Lisa de Moraes: I assume the actors we see only very occasionally are "recurring" actors, rather than "regular" and paid accordingly...That said, I'm guessing actors who aren't in every episode but who are in most of them are still "regulars." Could this answer be any more iffy?

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She Already Called Me Pookie: Uh, 18 months ago, the Olympics weren't in Sydney.

Athens, pookie.

Lisa de Moraes: You say Sydney, I say Pohtatoh. Honestly, I'm not geographically challenged. I am, however, totally date challenged which is what happened with that bit of confusion. Like, I know we're in March now, but I have no idea what is today's date.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Does anyone else find that Brenna girl that got kicked off last night extremely, ingratiatingly irritating? I was wishing that bad things would happen to her...

Lisa de Moraes: Pookie, you're supposed to let go, once they get booted off the competition....

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American Idol: I believe the winner is going to be the bald rocker, Chris. He is the only real performer. The others may have tolerable voices but he can work it.

I agree with the other chatter - Paula was high on something last night - she was a mess.

Lisa de Moraes: You can find boatloads of Chris's out there. He's nothing special...(steeling self for the backlash)..

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American Idol: What happened last night?? I caught it earlier in the week and was disappointed by how durn normal Ms. Abdul was acting.

Lisa de Moraes: Yes, she was acting all normal, and then last night happened. She giggled uncontrollably and when Seacrest asked her which singer she thought was going home, responded something about eating salad and later she gave another incoherent answer and couldn't even finish the sentence. Paula's Back!

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Lancaster, Pa.: Trump went in the dumper big time. Even all the ink he got from his little thing with Martha Stewart did not help. Is Trump's gig over or is it the sharp suits at NBC who messed it up, as seems to be their specialty in everything these days?

Lisa de Moraes: I think NBC may have made the same mistake ABC did with "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" -- overplayed it. NBC has not run "Apprentice" four times a week, like ABC did with "Millionaire." But this franchise maybe can't hold our interest when there's more than one edition a year. (Fox deserves credit for holding "Idol" down to one edition a year.)Or, maybe Trump is just a gag that wears thin quickly...

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Viewer land: Could you please bring back your "we watch so you don't have to" columns? Without them, we are forced to watch for ourselves! And I'm not sure I can take another night of that creepy little boy (who really does look like chicken little).

Also, what do you think of the hippie dudes on the new Amazing Race? Nice outfits, huh?

Lisa de Moraes: You mean Perv-y Boy? He is kinda creepy with the chicks pinching his cheeks, etc. You want to think he's cute and cuddly and all but then the stuff that comes out of his mouth -- not so much. And yes, We Watch So You Don't Have To will be making its triumphant return -- soon...I'm in training now.

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San Francisco, Calif.: Hi Lisa,

I don't like to gossip, but man oh man, is Paula Abdul on drugs, or what?? She was ditzy, blitzy, flighty and flirty, and out of it all week long, especially last night. Drunk, stoned, off her meds, on her meds, I don't know what, but she needs immediate help. Do you agree, or am I just off my meds? What are others saying about her bizarre behavior?

Lisa de Moraes: you can see, I'm getting loads of questions on Paula's strange behavior last night. How odd that Ryan Seacrest has emerged as the adult in the show, lecturing her and Simon that they should knock off with the flip answers because last night's results show was going to be one of the most important moments in those possibly-about-to-be-booted contestants' lives. Good for Seacrest. Shame on Paula and Simon. Ohmygawd -- I really need to get a life.

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Morristown, N.J.: For the record, I was really offended that a poster during last Friday's discussion attacked me for not liking Jon Stewart, surmising (incorrectly) that I must be some "Christian conservative". That is so offensive. Is he going to flippantly attack my race because I liked "Hustle and Flow"? What an ignorant fool!

Lisa de Moraes: No, no. This is the kindler, gentler chat this week. No mean stuff. Unless it's about Paula....

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Washington, D.C.: Hi, Lisa! Word is West Wing's in town filming this weekend. Have you heard exactly when and where they'll be?

Lisa de Moraes: They're shooting in Baltimore today -- Leo's faux funeral. Over the weekend shooting in Cleveland Park and, I think, some White House exteriors....

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American Idol again: OK - you are right about boatloads of Chris but at least he can carry a tune. Most of the others were way off key. Maybe when they pare them down to the final 12 and start working with them someone will finally start to shine. (See - that wasn't so bad now was it?)

Lisa de Moraes: A bunch of them seemed to crack this week, but I still think there were some fine performances. Like Paris and Gedeon. And Mandisa, who this week is who I'm hoping will win...

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Workout Questions: Barbara Harrison ask a hard question? Barbara's idea of a hard question is "Do you think I look fat?"

Lisa de Moraes: My point exactly...

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Falls Church, Va.: I can't decide who is more annoying: Katie Couric or Nancy Grace.

Lisa de Moraes: Tough question. Any takers?

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Parents Council: So how can that study count burps and nose pickings, and leave out farts? Is it because while burps and nose picking destroy the fabric of our society, farts are genuine entertainment?

Lisa de Moraes: No, rest assured, Parents TV Council clocked farts as well for the study. (For those of you wondering if I got my hands on Paula's meds, I'm speaking about today's column). Grievously, when one is limited as to how many inches are available in which to write a TV Column, one is sometimes forced to make hard decisions as to what bits to leave out. I felt it was more important for parents to know about the rampant burps and nose picks on children's programming.

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Ames, Iowa: I don't get it, I don't get, I don't get it!! Can you you explain why 30 million Americans experience a collective haze and spend an hour of their precious time watching untalented people sing bad songs and be judged by washed up musicians and Elton John's ex-hairdresser?? My wife experiences this haze and I can't get a straight answer from her.

Lisa de Moraes: You dare to suggest that "Lady" is a bad song? Are you too on Paula's meds? (I'm guessing you are a riot at parties...)

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Washington, D.C.: Do you have a Project Runway prediction? Or do you know the outcome? Also, I like Tim Gunn as much as the next person, but why is he all over all of a sudden?

Lisa de Moraes: I am clueless this time around. It was pretty clear with the first edition....

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For the Record...: ...I am a Christian conservative, and I love Jon Stewart. A very funny, provocative and insightful individual.

But Katie Couric? Barf!

Lisa de Moraes: ..You had me till "barf."

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Jon Stewart: Stewart's okay (and I am a Christian conservative). He's actually at his funniest when he's reduced to tears by the incompetence of Democrat politicians.

It's his audience, screaming hyena-like at any attack on anyone to the right of Lenin, that makes the Daily Show hard to enjoy.

Gonna be interesting to see how he does for the Oscars without his standard-issue audience of stoned young liberals.

Oh wait, he's gonna be in Hollywood--never mind.

Lisa de Moraes: sorry, Pookie, you want the Rush Limbaugh chat -- that's tomorrow....

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Nancy Grace...: is too scary to make fun of. When she hits that pose at the end of her promo, I'm ready to confess to anything. Where Jimmy Hoffa is, the Lindbergh kidnapping, Paula Abdul's prescription regimen, anything. She scares me, man...

Lisa de Moraes: so what is Paula's regimen and where is Jimmy Hoffa. (Trust me, I'm striking same mean pose)

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Akron, Ohio: Oh, I think I know the answer to the Great Salad Question...wasn't there a sports announcer who once said of someone who died that he "ate the salad?" A friend told me that story once, and we still refer to people dying as having eaten the salad. (Great...now I'm hungry.) Love the chats, Pookie!

Lisa de Moraes: You're kidding, right. "He ate the salad?" You say that with a straight face? Like the more serious "kicked the bucket" or "handed in his lunch pail." Man, I lead a sheltered life...

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Westminster, Md.: I think Daniel is far and away the best choice on Project Runaway. I'm stunned that Chloe is still around at all.

Lisa de Moraes: Here's one vote.

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About Brenna: Do you think that Brenna girl will actually get any offers for recording contracts or other entertainment opportunities? She seemed to think so last night...

Lisa de Moraes: Good grief no. Unless it's the company that signed William Hung. On second thought, she's not bad enough to be the next William Hung.

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Waynesboro, Va.: I caught "According to Jim" Tuesday because I'd heard Julie Newmar was going to guest star following her feud with neighbor Jim Belushi (she looks splendid for someone who's 71, BTW), but I couldn't believe how bad that show is...it's essentially "Hope & Faith" without Kelly Ripa's charm. If I want a slob-married-to-hot-wife sitcom, I'll take the comparatively wittier "King Of Queens," thank you.

Lisa de Moraes: For the clueless, Julie Newmar was played Catwoman on "Batman" series in the 60s, but did her best work in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?" The big girl -- who couldn't dance but got the cutest brother nonetheless which was so unfair. I sat next to Julie Newmar once while getting a manicure in Beverly Hills; she also looked great while having her nails done. Don't know why I think that's important, but thought you ought to know. Am I babbling?

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Washington, D.C.: I'm not a Christian conservative, and I don't watch Jon Stewart (where do I line up for this dispute?), but I did see him on Oprah (yesterday?), and I have to say I have never seen her laugh in quite such an odd, over-the-top way at a person's jokes that bordered only on slightly amusing to mildly funny. And that's saying a lot for a celebrity suck-up like Oprah. That's when I knew it is futile to resist Jon Stewart.

Lisa de Moraes: It is futile. And I think Oprah didn't get the jokes either, frankly.

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Katie or Nancy?: I asked you several months ago who would you rather be stranded with on a desert island - Nancy Grace or Katie C? You said you'd swim out to sea to become a snack for a shark. Still the perfect response, me thinks....

Lisa de Moraes: it wasn't good, wasn't it....

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AI: There are a lot of wannabe rockers out there, but Chris nails it and is authentic. His performance this week was better than the original. And the guy isn't full of himself.

How far can Geodeon go? The guy is truly... interesting... but may can he sign AND perform.

Lisa de Moraes: I've always wondered exactly what "he is authentic" means..

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From Your Column:: "...that, yes, "Yes, Dear" will not return next season."

I want you to know that for breaking this news, I will name by first born "Lisa de Moraes Anderson".

Godspeed.

- Mike Anderson

washingtonpost.com: See today's column , ( Post, March 3, 2006 )

Lisa de Moraes: I live to spread light and happiness...and thanks.

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It's Santino all the way: After making a lot of ugly items, Santino totally pulled it off and created beautiful, refined clothing for the finale--things I'd love to wear.

Chloe's finale designs looked like mother of the bride on crack!

And I loved Daniel, but he just didn't pull it off for the win.

Lisa de Moraes: I couldn't get past Santino's early stuff.. ick, ick, ick.

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Washington, D.C.: So Lisa, why is the singing so horrid this year on American Idol other than like four people (I'm thinking Lisa, Paris, Chris, maybe Taylor or Gedeon (though he just bugs me for some reason... I think it is the smile and the insipid way he spells his name))?

The guys show this week was so painful except for the first and last (Taylor and Chris). Is there any way we can tell them to stop singing old, slow, fairly obscure, bad songs that are dull as a dumpling covered in gravy?.

I must say though that the voting off is going fairly well. They are seeming to be voted off by how bad they are so far. I really expected the crooner guy to somehow live on for weeks to come just like the red-headed crooner from before. Thankfully the Micalah Gordon of this year (Brenna Gethers) has left us as well. I swear they are the same person. So who do you want to leave next week?

Lisa de Moraes: I'll give you old, slow and fairly obscure, but you lose me at "bad," re songs. And what is it about Gedeon's smile that inspires so much discomfort. It's a smile, for goodness sake! Yes, voting has been good so far and next to go should be Perv-y Boy, Bucky, Melissa and Kinnik, though I really am over Amazong Ayla.

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Sweatin' with Condi: Look, this administration understands the power of the Internet better than the former VP who invented it.

They knew that Condi's image-builder would be seen around the world whether they used a local "news" bunny or a network hostess.

'Twas a brilliant salvo in what looks to be an interesting election cycle.

Lisa de Moraes: And how glad we are that they spent valuable time ginning up that publicity stunt...otherwise, Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert might run out of material....

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Albany, N.Y.: Is Commander in Chief toast? I think it deserves a second chance

Lisa de Moraes: It got a second chance....It smells like toast...

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American Idol Zone:

Why oh why does the top show on TV (I mean 30 million viewers can't be wrong)have to have SUCH cheesy backdrops? Is it just a way to send subliminal messages? A burning fire means you are done? A sea of waves means we want to wave you goodbye?

Please share your wisdom!

Lisa de Moraes: But America loves cheese. America lives for cheese....it's one of our founding foods..

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Washington, D.C.: So, Howie Mandell--great game show host or greatest game show host??

Lisa de Moraes: He might just be greatest except for the handshake-phobia thing which does get in the way a bit, don't you think. And just one more handshake-phobic reality-show host on NBC and I have a trend column -- hooray!

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Paula's Melt-down: I'm not sure what was spookier -- Paula's attempt to use a bizarre metaphor involving melons and Corn Flakes (what the. . .?), or the fact that Randy seemed to understand what she was trying to say (and tried to correct the bizarre metaphor).

Lisa de Moraes: There's something in those red plastic coke glasses they're drinking out of, for sure, and it's not soda...

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Lisa, Is it true that WB and UPN are merging? Any idea of which shows will be sacrificed and which will survive the merger? How do things look for two of my favorite WB guilty pleasures (Related and Charmed)? Anything we can do to root for the survival of our favorite WB or UPN shows?

Lisa de Moraes: Yes, it's true; they made the announcement in New York a week or two ago. The list of shows on the promo reel shown to the press, and in the press release (which we assume means they're going to survive) included "America's Next Top Model," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Veronica Mars," "Gilmore Girls," "Supernatural," "Smallville," "One Tree Hill," "Everwood," "Beauty and the Geek," "Girlfriends" and "Smackdown."

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Washington, D.C.: Has anybody else noticed that "I'm so cute" Will Makar on AI looks just like George from Grey's Anatomy? Or is that just me...

Lisa de Moraes: I thought he looked like he'd just stepped out of the "Brady Bunch" DVD....

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Westborough, Mass.: How could they kill "Love Monkey"? Won't someone call PETA?

Lisa de Moraes: It was easy, since no one watched. Except you. And moi. Right show -- wrong network. I'm out of time. Bye.

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