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culture

Televisualist: Begone, James Franco, Begone

Each week, Torontoist examines the upcoming TV listings and makes note of programs that are entertaining, informative, and of quality. Or, alternately, none of those. The result: Televisualist.

"It's an honor just to be nominated," say people who will disappear into the vast swath of history, unmourned and unloved.



Monday

American Experience: Clinton is all about Bill Clinton’s presidency. For two hours, you can relive Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Pardongate, the Vince Foster conspiracy theories, the “Clinton Death List,” the Lewinsky affair, and every other mountain of meaningless nothing that Republicans felt was terribly important for those eight years. Also, Clinton apparently did some things that were not, in and of themselves, scandalous. Maybe they’ll be featured in this show as well. (PBS, 9 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Angry Dad: The Movie,” a sequel to a much better and earlier episode, but this week is slim pickings. “Don’t worry, son. Everyone makes mistakes. Yours is just public and expensive.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)


Tuesday

It’s the 2012 Brit Awards, well-known as the only music awards show that doesn’t take itself seriously, which these days apparently means “supporting Chris Brown through all the suffering he had to endure for being blamed for beating up a woman.” (Number of Brit Awards Chris Brown is nominated for: zero.) Also, Blur will be honored with the British music industry equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, Coldplay will team up with Rihanna for what is possibly the most demo-friendly musical performance of all time, and generally this will seem like the most awesome party you aren’t invited to ever. And did we mention Chris Brown isn’t nominated for anything at all? (MuchMusic, 8 p.m.)

This week on 19 Kids and Counting: the Vanderhoff family visit the Duggar family! The Vanderhoffs, like the Duggars, are a “quiverfull” family, and the episode is titled “40 Kids, Oh My!” Presumably this is because “What the Fuck, What The Fucking Fuck” was deemed inappropriately accurate. (TLC, 9:30 p.m.)


Wednesday

Nature has a double-length episode called “Ocean Giants,” which is about whales. Two hours of whales. We are so there, and we say this with no trace of irony. (PBS, 8 p.m.)

Since Billy Crystal is back in the public eye as Oscar host (which is more or less all he does these days other than some occasional voice acting, most likely because Billy Crystal is ridiculously rich and doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do), CHCH is airing City Slickers, which is one of his most successful films. It’s not his greatest (that would be Throw Momma From The Train, which is brilliant in so many ways), but it’s a reliable piece of entertainment that’s just solid across the board, with no mistakes and a few truly great scenes, not to mention Jack Palance’s Oscar-winning role. It’s just a pleasure to watch professionals doing their job well. (9 p.m.)


Thursday

Battle Castle is a show that rightfully belongs on History Television for once, as it is a show about noteworthy castles and how they kicked ass (in a passive sense, anyway) during major medieval battles. The premiere episode focuses on Crac de Chevaliers, a castle in Syria which was built by the Knights Hospitaller sometime in the 12th century, and which is absolutely badass. (9 p.m.)


Friday

Ringer continues to be a really awful show, but you have to love the show’s episode titles. This week’s episode is called “Whores Don’t Make That Much.” Previous episodes include “What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag?” and “Maybe We Can Get a Dog Instead.” If there’s a system to these names we don’t yet realize, that would be impressive. However, the show is really awful, so we don’t think there is a system. Actually, check that—there’s totally a system, and readers should figure it out! Spend ages on it! Use, like, numerology or something. That should work. (Global, 10 p.m.)

The Weekend

The 2012 NBA All-Star Game will not have Jeremy Lin in it, but rest assured that the announcers will find ways to mention Jeremy Lin every time Carmelo Anthony is on the floor. They will also mention Jeremy Lin whenever a word that rhymes with “Lin” is mentioned. (Expect a surprising amount of discussion about bobby pins, double chins, kith and kin, and Rin Tin Tin.) They will do this because the NBA has found a way to exploit hype and revive interest in a league following a lockout that only served to antagonize fans. But, hey, it’s not like mentioning Jeremy Lin (who is a genuinely good player who deserves the attention, incidentally, because shock stories like this almost never happen in basketball) doesn’t get you more hits! Accordingly: Jeremy Lin Jeremy Lin Jeremy Lin Jeremy Lin Jeremy Lin. And no, of course no Toronto Raptors are in the All-Star Game this year. It was cute of you to ask, though. (TSN, 8 p.m. Sunday)

It’s the Academy Awards, and as we mentioned earlier Billy Crystal is hosting for the ninth time, so that means we get a Billy Crystal “sing the names of the Best Picture nominees” song montage, because everyone plotzed when he even hinted at doing a song montage last year. This year is fairly interesting because, unlike most years, there is no clear favourite or even pair of dueling contenders for clear favourite: instead, there is a messy clusterfuck of leaders across the categories with no one “great movie” leading the way, which is appropriate because this year’s nominees mostly created a wave of “meh,” from Martin Scorcese’s overly precious and overly praised, but not terrible, Hugo to Woody Allen’s “well, it’s better than Shadows and Fog, I guess” opus of Midnight In Paris to The Tree Of Life, wherein Terrence Malick convinced a bunch of critics that he had something resembling a point. Also, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is nominated because the Academy hates you, and War Horse because Steven Spielberg loves horses, and The Help because racism! That leaves The Artist, which we are assured is a divine romp and a love letter to film that balms the soul and teaches us all to be happy again, or something like that. Oh, and Moneyball, which was actually a good movie and won’t win. So maybe Billy Crystal could set this to music, and he’s set. Televisualist: we work cheap. (CTV, 8:30 p.m. Sunday)

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