'Friends' tying up loose ends

With the end of "Friends" (7 p.m., NBC) fast approaching, the comedy appears bent on resolving as many loose ends as possible. Chandler and Monica will adopt a kid and move to the suburbs; Phoebe and Mike (Paul Rudd) will marry tonight; and Ross and Rachel will finally get back together. Or maybe they won't. Nothing has to happen to Joey, because he gets his own spin-off show next season when "Joey" moves to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career. Fans and critics already have their knives out for this follow-up, but I'll at least wait for the pilot to offer my opinion.

No entertainment phenomenon since "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" has seen as many weddings as "Friends." The writers wasted a whole season building up to Monica and Chandler's big day. We've breezed through Ross's many trips and falls down the aisle. We've even attended his first wife's second marriage to another woman. And that was before such unions became a hot-button political issue! And, lest we forget, the very first episode involved Rachel walking out on her own ceremony.

Given Phoebe's dating history and flaky biography, it should be interesting to see who shows up, or doesn't bother to attend, tonight's ceremony. Will her triplets be there? Remember, she bore them as a surrogate for her half-brother (Giovanni Ribisi, "Lost in Translation") and his wife (Debra Jo Rupp, "That '70s Show"). Have they been invited? After all, this is "Friends," where people get married at the drop of a hat, and children come and go so conveniently.

  • Is producer Mark Burnett trying to sabotage his own franchise? Why else would he stage a show as uneventful as "Survivor: All-Stars" (7 p.m., CBS)? No one seems more bored than Richard Hatch, but he did make one profound observation last week when he dismissed the immunity challenges as dull. Hatch believes that the real fun is in the head-games between players.
  • Viewers interested in understanding America's mission in postwar Iraq should not miss "Beyond Baghdad" on "Frontline" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

Tonight's other highlights

  • The team on "This Old House" (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) set sail for Bermuda to renovate an 1805 Georgian-style home in the historic city of St. George.
  • Valentine's Day is a killer on "Tru Calling" (7 p.m., Fox).
  • A charity auction on "The Apprentice" (7:42 p.m., NBC).
  • A grocery store holdup ends in murder on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • A grade school student vanishes after a bloody boy's-room scuffle on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS).


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