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 the Republican National Convention! Tonight’s speakers will likely include John Boehner, Rick Scott, Nikki Haley, and Mike Huckabee. Expected topics: how Barack Obama is totally an American citizen and how anyone who dares to say otherwise is probably just someone obsessed with spotting dirty Kenyans. (PBS and CNN, 7 p.m.)
Canadian Pickers is like American Pickers, but—well, you know. Because we don’t just need 4,000 shows about antiques; we need Canadian versions of all those shows as well. (History, 8 p.m.)
Great Lake Warriors is another reality show about people doing jobs that have nothing to do with war. At least this one (tugboat piloting) is legitimately dangerous, but Televisualist feels strongly that, if you work in a job where you will not be routinely shot at with guns, your reality show should not use the word “warriors,” “soldiers,” or “battle.” Because that’s stupid. (History, 9 p.m.)
And now it is time for Cajun Pawn Stars. Also tonight: debuts of Pawn Stars and American Pickers. All three of these are basically the same show. Have we mentioned that reality shows—whose supposed infinite breadth was always one of the strongest arguments for reality shows, particularly the documentary subgenre of them—have become a series of increasing repetitive brands? Because they have. (History, 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively)
Day two of the Republican National Convention! Assuming the whole thing is not wiped out by Hurricane Isaac, prospective speakers are expected to include Rick Santorum and Ann Romney. Thrilling! (PBS and CNN, 7 p.m.)
Republican National Convention! Day three! John McCain! Jeb Bush! And vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who we are told is a very good-looking man, which makes up for the whole thing where he wants to enact policies that would cripple his country for poor and soon-to-be-elderly people, but, oh, his blue eyes. (PBS and CNN, 7 p.m.)
The season premiere of Royal Pains will, we are told, finally answer the burning question of why anybody is expected to care about Royal Pains. No, just kidding, it’s still gonna be a boring show about a boring doctor. (Showcase, 10 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer Badman,” wherein Homer is accused of sexually harassing a babysitter when he reaches for a Gummi Venus de Milo stuck to her ass and becomes the centre of a media firestorm. “Of course, there’s no way to see into the Simpson home without some kind of infrared heat-sensitive camera. So let’s turn it on! Now, this technology is new to me, but I’m pretty sure that’s Homer Simpson in the oven, rotating slowly. His body temperature has risen to over 400 degrees—he’s literally stewing in his own juices.” (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)
Republican National Convention! Day four! Mitt Romney! Presidential-candidacy speech to end all presidential-candidacy speeches! Will Mitt go for boring Republican talk about taxes or will he go full-on pandering and throw in enough dogwhistles about Obama being blackity-blackity-black-y’all to make David Duke say, “Wow, that’s a little much”? (PBS and CNN, 7 p.m.)
Mountain Men is a new show about people who live entirely off the grid, surviving on what they can shoot, trap, skin, and eat, along with the money that they earn from being on a reality-TV show. (History, 10 p.m.)
Slice debuts I’m Having Their Baby, which is a show about mothers giving up their children for adoption, usually because said mothers had sex with the wrong guys. It wouldn’t be Slice if the tawdry details weren’t backed up with some painful rote moralizing! Maybe they can fit that on a business card somehow? It’s a better slogan than everything they’ve tried so far. (8 p.m.)
Breaking Bad concludes the first half of its final season (with the second half set to air next year, which of course makes one ask, “so why aren’t they just admitting it’s two seasons,” but forget it, Jake, it’s TV), and we have nothing to write about it because we are about a season and a half behind on Breaking Bad and therefore anything we could write will be shockingly out of date. Does Walter ever grow his hair back? We don’t know. (AMC, 10 p.m. Sunday)
This post originally stated that Canadian Pickers and Great Lake Warriors air on Discovery. The shows in fact air on History.