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While I Was Out…

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Meg and Jack play Conan off. / NBC

Meg and Jack play Conan off. / NBC

You’ll have noticed that I’m back from vacation. That is, if you noticed I was on vacation in the first place. What did I miss?: 


* Lost had a swing-and-a-miss of an episode. Don’t want to pile on—they can’t all be gems—but I found myself for once having the reaction that Lost haters regularly have: namely, this sounds like a load of hoo-hah. Specifically, I’m referring to Mrs. Hawking’s ever-vaguer explanation as to why the Oceanic Six all have to go back to the Island, and why they must “re-create the conditions” of their original flight, while not actually re-creating them. (I did, however, like the idea of suddenly sending the Six back, leaving the question of how Hurley et al. ended up on board as a mystery for later—though I almost wonder if that wasn’t a last-minute course correction by Cuselof.) There’s been plenty of bizarreness on the Island I’ve been able to accept (why do the boats time-travel with them? etc.) because Faraday gives it a fig leaf of rationality. But the Six needing to return, guitar and all: it seems like a plot requirement with no better rationalization coming, and I’m willing to overlook the ungainliness of it as long as we can get past it quick—which seems to be what Cuselof decided to do.

* Dollhouse aired a second, and to my mind much better, episode. But I should warn you that I’ve also seen the fourth, and to my mind much worse, episode. Your thoughts so far? 

* CNBC’s Rick Santelli discovered populism on a Chicago trading floor—how’d it get there? did a janitor drop it?—and became the poor man’s Rush Limbaugh. Or is he the rich man’s Huey Long? Either way, a once-forgettable biz-news workhorse suddenly made himself a flashy name and probably assured himself a nice economic stimulus in his next contract negotiation.

* Conan O’Brien did his last Late Night, a pitch-perfect, nostalgic but not mawkish sendoff that reunited him with Andy Richter, recalls some of his best bits from the show and featured a sweet acoustic performance of We’re Going to Be Friends by The White Stripes. Now he’s off to become the not-really-the-new-Jay-Leno, while Jimmy Fallon becomes the not-really-the-new-Conan next week. 

* I discovered, once again, that my ratio of deletable to readable post-vacation work e-mails is about 25 to 1. I need to get back to that. 

What else did I miss?