About Last Night: One Tree Hill Enters the Rapid Aging Machine

One Tree Hill, like any CW program featuring cute young people that makes it past its first season, has a small but passionate cult following. It will be interesting to see if that cult survives not only the delayed season premiere to the fifth season, but the utter implausibility of the lives of several of the characters.

The show made the defensible decision (defensible because none of the cast members look anything like teenagers) to skip four years in its timeline and pick up its characters as they are leaving their college days behind (there were the occasional flashbacks that got a little confusing). But in the meantime, several members of the Tree Hill gang went out and got famous, which I'm sure happened to many of your high school friends by the time you all turned 22. Lucas had written a novel with the unbearable title An Unkindness of Ravens that apparently made him the voice of a generation, or whatever. The novel was championed by his editor and current girlfriend Lindsey, who was now getting impatient for a new book (even though several years between novels is hardly unusual). Lucas was serving out his writers' block time as the new Tree Hill basketball coach, with Skills as his assistant.

Brooke had wanted to go into fashion design, and she succeeded to the point where she was had her own line, employees at her beck and call, and even paparazzi tracking her dating life. Nathan was a slightly different story, as his fame had come and gone. On the verge of being a guaranteed high pick in the NBA draft, he was injured in a fight with a heckler that left him temporarily in a wheelchair but permanently without a basketball career. Married to Haley, who was beginning her career as a teacher, he moped around getting drunk and refusing to try to rehabilitate.

The back-to-back hours that served as the premiere had the overarching theme of old friends who longed to bring back the good old days when they were in high school. To that end, Brooke decided to come back home for a refreshing visit, and let her superior played by Daphne Zuniga know she was considering running her business from Tree Hill. Also back home was Peyton, who turned her back on her job as a flunky with a soulless record company in order to come back home, where she moped over Lucas's new girlfriend and made plans to start her own little label. Mouth was still around as well, although his storyline involving his attempts to get an on-air job seemed incidental. As a new teacher, Haley dealt with her high school class testing their limits with her, and at home she tried to get Nathan to stop feeling sorry for himself and repeating old family patterns. Somehow Haley and Nathan found a way to afford a nice house and a nanny on the salary of a first-year teacher, but it's TV and that's par for the course. By the end of the second hour, Nathan resolved to begin walking again; Brooke opened up her new storefront office; and Lucas sat down to do a little writing. And as long as no one else is writing, the remaining new episodes of One Tree Hill will get more attention than usual, I suppose. [Buzzsugar]

People's Choice Awards:

An awards show only a sadist could love. With the writers' strike making a traditional show impossible, CBS came up with a stopgap: have Queen Latifah stand in a studio introducing the nominees and film clips, and give the winners their trophies away from the big bad picket lines. Intermingled with that was footage from past shows, which featured neat things like audiences and speeches. If that sounds like a depressing couple of hours, you're getting the idea. Joaquin Phoenix, winner for favorite leading man (he is?), held up cards to signify he was "speechless" due to the writers, one of the few explanations for why this night was different from the 33 that preceded it. Some of the winners from television: Two and a Half Men won for favorite comedy; House for favorite drama, Dancing With the Stars for favorite reality show; Stargate Atlantis for favorite sci-fi show; Moonlight for favorite new drama; and Patrick Dempsey and Katherine Heigl (whose makeup artist should have gone on strike) for favorite male and female TV stars. [Cotica99]

The Biggest Loser:

Jillian and Bob told the losers that the old setup (which lasted all of one week) was over, and both coaches would be working with all remaining duos, making for even more intense workouts. Alison Sweeney introduced everyone to the "hall of truth," where the losers were given facts on exactly how much unhealthy stuff they had been consuming. Neill continued to act passive-aggressive in the presence of Jillian -- it appears that he simply doesn't respond well to her motivational methods.

A challenge required the pairs to strap themselves onto ends of an enormous seesaw, and generate the energy to go up and down 100 times. Brothers Jay and Mark won yet again and received phone calls home, also winning the right to decide who else got to make calls. Jillian tried to explain to Neill that he was coming across as if he didn't care, which would impact everyone's willingness to want to keep him around. The second challenge split up the teammates, who were then told that they could consume as much of a feast as they could scarf down in four minutes. The team that ate the most would win $5000, which would be great as long as it didn't send you home. Only three players ate anything at all, and Jay and Mark won yet again thanks to Mark's eating of 925 calories.

The weight loss numbers fell dramatically this week, as they tend to do after the debut, and Mallory was found to have actually gained one pound. Neill was found to actually be losing at a higher rate than his seemingly harder-working Amanda. Jay and Mark were one of the better losing teams despite "winning" the challenge, but Kelly and Paul (who was one of the eaters at the challenge) fell below the yellow line. However, Curtis and Mallory were narrowly voted out instead. The pair has continued to lose since leaving the campus. Curtis's long-term goal is still to qualify for health insurance. [The Whole Family]

LA Ink:

Joanna came in for a tattoo of the female symbol, with a female face depicted inside it somehow. Corey got to work on the artwork, which he considered empowering for Joanna, something that would come in handy in her life as a porn actress. Kat was returning from her time on the road with her boyfriend, and made a fake announcement that she was pregnant. Corey said he was glad to have Kat back, since the shop had been understaffed with Hannah also gone for an unspecified length of time. A makeup artist named Marty wanted a tattoo spelling out the skin condition he suffers from. Kim handled a first-time customer who wanted a big tattoo honoring the important women in his life. Kim called Hannah in Chicago to feel out how long she intended to stay there; Hannah said that she was wondering if Chicago was where she needed to be. A customer named John who had survived a severe burn wanted a tattoo to commemorate his survival.

Kat was concerned that Hannah's protracted absence was cutting into business, and she mulled over hiring someone as at least a temporary replacement. As if this wasn't enough, Pixie decided to take some time off without informing Kat ahead of time. Kat had a brainstorm for a combined tattoo/music event for L.A. A Mexican singer named Lala wanted a tattoo displaying a traditional Mexican heroine and the national flag. Kat visited her life coach for advice on Pixie's absence. She felt that she might have problems drawing the line between being a friend and being a boss, and admitted Pixie would have been fired already if they weren't friends. [Really watching Reality]

Law & Order: SVU:

The bodies of a man and a woman were found in a park, with the woman showing signs of torture. An FBI agent, Cooper (Erika Christensen, sadly in over her head) showed up at the crime scene, suspecting this was the work of a serial killer known as "the Woodsman," who liked to revisit bodies after he dumped them. Cooper said there was likely a third victim who hadn't been found yet. The agent who had mentored Cooper had had a mental breakdown due to the stress of the Woodsman case, and had ended up committing suicide, and Cooper was coming across to the detectives as somewhat unstable herself.

Cragen announced someone had turned up in the morgue with the DNA profile matching that of the Woodsman. The dead man was identified as a park maintenance worker. Cooper and Benson went to the apartment Moore kept in the city; Cooper said Moore had pretended to be the one who found one of the victims. Moore's aunt was tracked down; she said she knew what he was capable of because he had been convicted of a sexual offense as a juvenile. His movements were traced to a warehouse on the docks, where a torture room was found, and a woman barely alive.

The investigation into who sent the initial email that led to the discovery of the bodies in the park revealed that Cooper had sent the email from an Internet cafe -- leading to the belief that Cooper had killed Moore. Benson interrogated Cooper and began asking questions about the suicide of her mentor again. A search of Cooper's apartment found a piece of Moore's skull and a shell fragment. The third victim died.

There was concern over how Cooper could even be prosecuted given how gruesome a character Moore was, although Benson was disturbed that she had executed him without doing enough to find out where the third victim was. Cooper later followed in the footsteps of her mentor by shooting herself in the presence of Benson, after announcing that she had seen too much on the job and didn't want to turn into a monster. Every long-running show has the right to throw in a clunker episode now and then, but I repeat: Erika Christensen as an FBI agent. This was shark-jumpingly bad. [TV Bloggin']

Real Housewives of Orange County:

Vicki was moving her business into an office, and was breaking in a new assistant, Tammy (this is a new Tammy). Jeana was still feuding with Vicki over the real estate issue, regarding her as too controlling. Lauri officially asked daughter Ashley to be her maid of honor. Quinn was deciding that her current boyfriend wasn't serious enough for her, because she wanted a real relationship again. Tamra went to a "Botox party" at a plastic surgeon's office, as she approached the magic age of 40. The guy talked Tamra and housewife Tammy into getting Botox, but Quinn took pride in the fact that she could date younger men without the help of the plastic surgeon.

Tamra was beginning to think that Ryan needed to move out of the house; while Ryan now had a job, he was using that as a means to blow money on frivolous things instead of saving for his own place. Vicki became infuriated when Jeana allowed someone to use the Altamira house to store things. Vicki informed Jeana of her concerns; Jeana assured Vicki the house would sell.

Quinn went to lunch with the incredibly boring Billy, who couldn't flat-out say he was her boyfriend. Lauri's bridal shower featured the sort of X-rated gifts you would expect for a forty-something bride; former Housewife Kimberly flew in for the occasion. Jeana was positive her friendship with Vicki would not be affected by the house crisis. Simon offered to help Ryan move out by agreeing to help him with rent in the short term until he got the hang of supporting himself. Vicki felt assistant Tammy needed a makeover to look less Midwestern, so she bought Tammy the entire shebang, including a bikini wax (with assorted screams and other sound effects provided). The result was that Tammy now looks uncannily like a mini-Vicki. What a thing to aspire to. [Blog of Eternal Stench]