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culture

Televisualist: Twenty-Five Years of Fart Jokes

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.

Michael Richards flunked.


Monday

World’s Toughest Trucker does what it says on the tin: this is a competitive reality show about truckers trucking the routes that most truckers dare not truck, or the cargos they dare not truck, or the trucks they dare not truck within. In the first episode, the truckers truck cattle across the Australian outback, because that is some bad-ass trucking. This show continues to validate Televisualist’s Discovery Channel Theory, which is that any reality show on the Discovery Channel will be basically entertaining and will not make you hate yourself for watching it. (8 p.m.)

Eureka begins its fifth and final season—a sharply truncated one that will only be six episodes long, and one where the final episode was ordered to wrap up the entire series. What we’re saying here is that Eureka‘s writers are going to have to work some major magic to have the series end on a satisfactory note. (Space, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

We have not been interested in Unplugged for some time, but this week’s episode featuring Florence and the Machine just might do it, if only so we can answer the question of what Florence and the Machine are like when the Machine has no electricity. Or is pedal-powered. Or something like that. This joke seemed a lot funnier when we started writing it, what can we say? (9 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “The Regina Monologues,” wherein the Simpsons go to England for some reason. “We’re big-shot tourists from everyone’s favourite country, the USA. We saved your ass in Vietnam and shared our prostitutes with Hugh Grant, so give me some free maps and none of that dry British wit.” (CJMT, 10:30 p.m.)


Wednesday

So this is where things currently stand on Survivor: Kim has emerged as this season’s Player To Beat, based mostly on the fact that in a cast full of people who do not seem to know how to play the game, she knows how to play the game. Watching her calmly manipulate Jay last week into his own downfall was nothing short of brilliant. Sadly, the only real competition that Kim has at this point is Troyzan, who was smart enough to do some math and realize that a women’s alliance was brewing, but not strategic enough to either wrest numbers away from her or use his immunity idol to force an enemy elimination. Meanwhile, Leif seems determined to fly under the radar more than anybody in Survivor history, as his votes make clear that nobody is telling him anything, and this season’s Designated Crazy Old Guy, Tarzan, is crazy and antagonistic in the way that makes him extremely attractive to bring to the end of the game because nobody will vote for the old prick. (Global, 8 p.m.)


Thursday

Last week we expressed surprise at the existence of Say Yes To The Dress: Bridesmaids. This week, we do it again, because we did not know Girl Meets Gown existed at all. In fairness, where SYTTD: B was a spin-off rather than a copycat show, overlooking it is probably more egregious because nobody ever says, “Gosh, I can’t miss Girl Meets Gown—it’s my second-favourite show about women trying to make up their minds about wedding dresses!” But we have to ask: how many more shows can fit into this subgenre? Is the debut of Female Finds Frock, She Wants the Skirt, or Lady Loves Lady-Garments only a matter of time at this point? (Slice, 8 p.m.)


Friday

Ringer concludes this week, and it looks very much like this is the end of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s “acting badly as not one but two characters” show. Every week, this show just seemed to get stupider and stupider, and watching it became not unlike a death march where, instead of marching to one’s death, one would instead say “whuh?” a lot. We know that wasn’t much of a metaphor, but this wasn’t much of a show. (Global, 10 p.m.)


The Weekend

We’re going to be serious and say that we know literally nobody who watches America’s Most Wanted. Not a single person. Do you know anybody who watches it? If you do, then you should let them know that the latest Wanted quarterly special, America’s Most Wanted: World’s Most Wanted, is this weekend and it will feature criminals from all over the world. If you know anybody who watches this show…well, admittedly, they probably already know. But it is worth remembering that there is a lot of TV out there, most of which you will never watch. And that’s fine. It’s all for somebody. Except multiple shows about wedding dresses, because really, people. (Fox, 8 p.m. Saturday)

The fourth season of the British version of Being Human concludes, and with it in many ways the entire series ends here as well. Granted, the show will continue on into a fifth season, but with the end of the fourth season, the show bids farewell to Original Werewolf Russell Tovey and Original Ghost Lenora Crichlow (with Original Vampire Aidan Turner having left last season), so now Being Human‘s fifth season will feature a new combination of vampire, werewolf, and ghost just sorta hanging out in the same house, which makes it feel like a supernatural equivalent of Big Brother. I mean, instead of the same monsters, one of them could have been a merman, right? Mermen could be trendy if people just gave them a chance. (Space, 9 p.m. Saturday)

It is the Fox Network’s 25th anniversary, and to celebrate it is first airing the pilot episode of Married… with Children, the first show the network ever aired, and then afterward there is a big 25th Anniversary Special that will mostly be hosted by alumni of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Ally McBeal. Thrilling! Here’s to another 25 years of prematurely cancelling shows before they have a chance to grow an audience! (Children 7 p.m. Sunday; special 8 p.m. Sunday)

Unchained Reaction is the new show from the MythBusters crew, wherein the busters assign teams of five the challenge of building entertaining Rube Goldberg machines, of the sort one might see in an OK Go video. Each week has a theme and a twist item thrown into the teams’ machines at the last possible moment. For example, the first week’s theme is “Heavy Versus Light,” with anvils and balloons and lots of tricks involving gravity and pendulums and the like, and the twist is that teams have to insert a piano into their machine somewhere along the line. Basically this is a more focused, less mythbusty variant of MythBusters, and that is just fine. (Discovery, 10 p.m. Sunday)

Veep is HBO’s newest comedy, this one from the creator of the British politi-comedy The Thick of It, which was brilliant. Veep is broadly the same (a sitcom about the delicate intersection of political competence and total screw-ups), but the comedy is, as befits an American show, somewhat broader (but by no means any less funny in its own way). Julia Louis-Dreyfus is excellent as the titular vice president, but the rest of the cast is equally strong: Anna “you remember her, she was in My Girl” Chlumsky is wonderful, and of course Tony Hale is absolutely great in everything ever. With Girls preceding it, HBO now has one of the strongest single hours of comedy on TV at present. (10:30 p.m. Sunday)

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