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I LOVE TELEVISION

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By far, Alec Baldwin is the best Baldwin. Sure, there are other Baldwins —"Fat Baldwin" (brother Daniel who was in Homicide: Life on the Streets), "Douchebag Baldwin" (brother William who was in Sliver), and "Dirty Ass Baldwin" (brother Stephen who just always struck me as a guy who has a dirty ass). However! None of these Baldwins can hold a candle to the most beloved and revered Baldwin of them all … ALEC FREAKING BALDWIN!

Yes, there were dark moments in history (primarily in the '90s) when Alec's status as the greatest Baldwin was in jeopardy — such as when he starred in The Getaway and married Kim Basinger (both monumentally bad ideas). In fact, I've often proclaimed that Alec Baldwin should've killed himself after his bravura five-minute monologue in Glengarry Glen Ross (the infamous "Coffee is for closers" speech), because he could NEVER possibly top himself.

I am here today to say three words I've never uttered in my life: I WAS WRONG.

It's true; the luminous Alec Baldwin hit his heyday in the '80s, with groundbreaking roles in Knots Landing, Beetlejuice and The Hunt for Red October. But it was in 1992's Glengarry Glen Ross that he reached his pinnacle, uttering the most sage words ever spoken on the silver screen: "A-B-C. A … always. B … be. C … closing. Always … be … closing."

At that moment, he was Icarus. No mortal actor had ever flown so close to perfection. Therefore, there was only one direction left to go: into the shit-pile. The rest of the '90s consisted of one horrendous role after another, and the once-great Alec Baldwin threatened to join his brother Stephen in dirty-ass infamy.

But then? Like a filthy crack whore dragging herself out of a dumpster with a half-eaten hot dog in her mouth, Alec Baldwin slooooowly extricated his career by switching from leading man to character actor — much of his work being on television. The most tenacious of all Baldwins scored a whopping five Emmy nominations on his road back to the top, as well as an Oscar nomination for his work in The Cooler. Highly regarded as a comic actor, the most hilarious Baldwin also hosted Saturday Night Live an amazing 13 times. This is where he met writer/actress Tina Fey, and so scored what may one day be regarded as the role of his lifetime: Tina's boss, Jack Donaghy, on 30 Rock.

For those who haven't caught this wildly underrated show about the backstage shenanigans at an SNL clone, Baldwin's portrayal of Donaghy is a crazily effective potpourri of self-absorption, megalomania and sweetness — delivered with the raspy tone of Clint Eastwood after smoking a carton of Newport Lights. It's an amazing role that almost — ALMOST — makes one forget when Baldwin told those Glengarry salesmen that his watch is worth more than their cars.

And while 30 Rock will be back next season, you'd be a fool to miss the season finale this Thursday (9 p.m. April 26, NBC). The proof will be right there in front of you: Alec Baldwin makes all other Baldwins — and practically everyone else — look like a stinking tub of diaper gravy.

`UPDATE! At press time it was revealed that Alec Baldwin allegedly left a voice mail for his 11-year-old daughter, calling her a "thoughtless little pig." The role of "Best Baldwin" will now be portrayed by his brother, Daniel.`

— Wm.™ Steven Humphrey

Always … be … e-mailing.

steve@portlandmercury.com

THIS WEEK ON THE BOOB TOOB

THURSDAY, APRIL 26

8:30 p.m. NBC THE OFFICE

Michael has an R-rated freakout after discovering a shipment of paper bears an obscene watermark.

9 p.m. NBC 30 ROCK

Season finale! Jack's mother picks out the perfect wedding gift for him and Phoebe: a box of NAG, NAG, NAG.

FRIDAY, APRIL 27

8 p.m. CBS GHOST WHISPERER

Melinda meets a competing ghost whisperer and tells her, "This is MY corner, beee-yotch!"

11 p.m. MTV2 THE ANDY MILONAKIS SHOW

Season premiere! Rapper Paul Wall presents Andy with a magical grill that allows him to eat anything in his apartment.

SATURDAY, APRIL 28

9 p.m. FOX AMERICA'S MOST WANTED

Miss America Lauren Nelson helps Walsh and the gang trap sexual predators online. (If you're webcamming, don't forget to take off the tiara!)

SUNDAY, APRIL 29

10 p.m. HBO ENTOURAGE

Drama is the unlucky victim of Pauly Shore's celebrity prank show. Truly, nothing could be worse.

10:30 p.m. COM RENO 911!

In a decision that shocks and confounds the department, the deputies are criticized for their response time.

MONDAY, APRIL 30

9 p.m. NBC HEROES

Hiro is transported into the distant future, and yet, can't find a single flying skateboard.

9 p.m. FOX 24

After rescuing Audrey from her captors, Jack unwittingly mistakes post-traumatic stress disorder for "that time of the month."

TUESDAY, MAY 1

8 p.m. FOX AMERICAN IDOL

This week's musical mentor? BON JOVI! EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

9 p.m. CW VERONICA MARS

Veronica helps a Middle Eastern restaurant owner in exchange for free gyros for a year. SMART … GIRL.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 2

8 p.m. CW AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

The girls model in Australia — and unless there's a boxing kangaroo involved, I don't give a crap.

10 p.m. ABC LOST

A newcomer to the island reveals a shocking secret about Flight 815: They served substandard peanuts.


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