Alynda Wheat
January 08, 2008 AT 05:38 PM EST

The creepy clown started it. Somehow you just knew when that harlequin popped up in the toy aisle that all that went asunder last season would not be magically repaired—not immediately, anyway. Joe and Allison would still be unemployed, Davalos and Scanlon would still be on the bubble, and all hell wouldn’t be done breaking loose. The kiddie-luring clown basically said so. 

Then Ariel started lip-synching to the Sound of Music, and that confirmed it. (Sorry, sorry, sorry, I’ll explain my Ariel issues later. Right now, a boy’s been kidnapped.) If you missed Medium’s fourth season opener last night, a little boy shopping with his dad broke faith with all natural instinct and went toward a creepy clown. Just before you can say “that’s always a bad idea,” he was snatched by some freak who liked to dance, hadn’t updated his music collection since the Sugar Hill Gang, and had a predilection for putting his “toys” in shiny plastic packaging. Of course, Allison sees all—in her way.

Fortunately for her, there’s a new outlet for her gifts since she’s been outed as a psychic, and dropped from the DA’s office.

See, it’s easy: You have a psychic vision the new DA bastar—um,let’s just call him the DAstard—you have a vision the DAstard won’tlisten to, you pick up the phone, and you call the nice lady atAmeritips. Then you show up for a meeting and discover she’s MaerosePrizzi (sigh…fine, Anjelica Huston—but that’s the way I like tothink of her). Only Maerose doesn’t so much believe you, so you tellher to Google your ass, she does, and you become work friends. It’s anice relationship (and one you might wanna get used to, since Ms.Huston is with us for at least six of the nine of the episodes NBC hasin the can). I, for one, couldn’t be happier—about that, anyway.

I’m pissy about Joe’s unemployment, even if it does mean he gets to meet with Elvin from The Cosby Show(and really, isn’t the unemployment office exactly where you thoughtElvin would end up?). Joe is awesomeness personified. He deservesmeaningful work—or a nice settlement, whichever comes first. Get onthat, Medium.

Also not thrilled about a certain Dubois daughter. Look, we’re justgetting to know each other, right? (Unless you read What to Watch orfollowed the Kid Nation mini-watch, then you already know I’msoulful but heartless.) Please understand, it’s not that I haveanything against little blonde girls—heck, I adore Bridgette—but mustthey make Ariel so insufferable? And what’s she whining about? Thatshe’s a freshman, and therefore unlikely to get the lead in the schoolplay? Yes, but no: “Just my luck. When I’m 9th grade they do The Sound of Music. When I’m 10th they’ll do The Wiz or Dreamgirls.Just watch.” Ahh, the real problem, you see, is that the black peoplemight unfortuitously get their turn. Thank God Bridgette came backwith, “Yeah, it’s tough looking like you.” That, right there, is whythat girl gets the Annual Jan Brady Award for Best Middle Child onTelevision—and not just for 2008—every year.

All in all, a respectable dose of highs (Huston, Arquette’s rockin’real-sized bod, and one very dead kiddie murderer), a few lows (goodluck not associating “My Favorite Things” with pedophiles from now on),and some nice potential for this season. As long as Joe doesn’t have tokeep calling Mommy for loans, we’ll be in business.

What say you?

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