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culture

Televisualist: Television Loathes…Something Starting With “C”

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.

The joke in this cartoon is that someone has been watching CBC New Year's specials for thirty years, which is clearly not possible. Also that Ron James blows.

Monday

The CBC gets its revenge for all of those funding cuts by airing first Air Farce New Year’s Eve 2012 and then The Ron James Show: New Year’s Eve Edition, reminding us that even when the CBC cancels its awful, sketch “comedy” shows they will just keep coming back, like vengeful ghosts hungry for human souls, never sated, always seeking more. We have it on good authority that Ron James is in fact a 2,000-year-old demon sorcerer, seeking godhood via marriage to a woman with green eyes, at which time he will “entertain” us with his particular style of Canadian-yokel comedy for an undying eternity. (Beginning at 8 p.m.)

If you miss Dick Clark being around for New Year’s Eve to remind you he was still alive, you’re covered: New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Celebrates Dick Clark is here, with two hours of clips and stuff, as Ryan Seacrest finally completes his decade-long ritual to steal Clark’s source of magic. (Ron James is an amateur compared to Ryan Seacrest, but that should not really surprise anybody.) (ABC, 8 p.m.)

If you don’t much care about New Year’s and just want something nice to watch before you turn in early, as all sensible people do, Enchanted is a good option. It’s Disney’s 2007 comedy riff on “animated Disney Princess meets the real world,” and it’s fun, reasonably clever, and, if nothing else, responsible for turning Amy Adams from “that girl who was in that Junebug movie” into a bonafide star, and that is right and good. (NBC, 8 p.m.)

CTV brings us Stars And Scandals That Shook 2012, marking the latest progression in CTV’s plan to turn into E! so gradually that nobody even notices. (10 p.m.)

If you want some televised New Year’s excitement for your house party (or lonely shut-in solo affair you are calling a “house party”), there are of course many options, as there always are. Entertainment Tonight Canada hosts a New Year’s Eve party at Niagara Falls, although it looks like Rick The Former Temp is not slated to appear, and what’s the point if there’s no Rick The Former Temp? As it always does, CityTV airs the New Year’s Eve party at Nathan Philips Square featuring performances by Kardinal Offishall, Shawn Desman, and Jully Black, among others. NBC’s relatively lackluster special hosted by Carson Daly will include live performances by Train and Cassadee “I won The Voice this year, in case you’ve already forgotten I exist” Pope, as well as an appearance by Angela from The Office, who will be running around Times Square and Tweeting things for some reason. If you want round-the-world feelings of togetherness, as well as the only New Year’s Eve party that will double as a source of breaking news if war breaks out on New Year’s Eve when nobody would expect it, CNN has New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper. And finally, Ryan Seacrest ascends to his new position of ultimate power as he hosts Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, featuring performances by Carly Rae Jepsen, Taylor Swift, OneRepublic, Justin Bieber, Pitbull and PSY. (All of these beginning at 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

As we say every New Year’s Day, it used to be a Thing that on New Year’s Day, all there would be to watch was college football, because New Year’s Day was also Bowl Day, and that was important for some reason. Nowadays, the Bowl College Series is staggered out over three weeks because TV people have decided that makes them more money, which is also why most of the Bowls are now sponsored by giant asshole corporations. Hence, only six Bowl games air this New Year’s Day, and here in Canada you can only catch two of them: the Rose Bowl (TSN, 4:30 p.m.) and the Discover Orange Bowl (TSN 8 p.m.). Fans of college football will have to find other means to watch the Capital One Citrus Bowl, the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl and the Heart of Dallas Cotton Bowl.

Kick off the new year on the TLC tip in more than one way, as the network this column loves to hate even more than Slice debuts Totally T-Boz, starring “the one from TLC who was not Chilli or Left Eye.” We note that Left Eye has been dead for over a decade now, which makes Televisualist feel old. At some point one of the former members of Destiny’s Child will die a tragic early death and then you will begin to understand, you kids. Or is Destiny’s Child too old now as well? Do we have to start making 2NE1 references now? (And by the way, that video has thirteen million views, so if you are saying “what” when we mention them, congratulations, here is your complimentary walker and bottle of Geritol.) Anyway, it was only a matter of time before TLC finally managed to air a reality show about either a member of TLC (the girl group) or the wrestling phenomenon that is Tables, Ladders and Chairs, because that is about as much creativity at anybody at TLC can manage these days. (8 p.m.)

The Sisterhood is the latest in TLC’s lineup of “shows that are like Real Housewives but we are not going to call them that.” This time around, the not-the-real-housewives are all wives of pastors in the Atlanta area, where being a preacher’s wife is a seriously big thing, apparently. (9 p.m.)

Storage Wars New York is just like regular Storage Wars, except everybody says the pizza is better for some reason even though it’s really just pizza, it’s not magic or anything, New Yorkers. (A&E, 10 p.m.)


Wednesday

Counting Cars is a show about restoring classic cars, which is kind of like history, so therefore it makes perfect sense to air on History Television. (9 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Papa Don’t Leech,” featuring the return of Lurleen, whom Marge rightly loathes. “She turned down Lenny and Carl? That’s like somebody who doesn’t like hamburgers or hotdogs! What could make her hate men like that?” (Fox, 11 p.m.)


Thursday

Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens is a rerun of a (very, very boring and pointless) 2007 special about the celebrity portrait photographer, because nobody could think of anything better to put on at this point in time. (Global, 9 p.m.)

No, wait, we stand corrected: What Not To Wear returns for yet another season of Stacy and Clinton making us die inside. That is not exactly “better,” but at least it is more…extreme, we suppose. (TLC, 10 p.m.)


Friday

Justice League: Doom is one of the direct-to-DVD DC Universe cartoon movies that DC puts out four to six times each year, and because it has Kevin Conroy (Batman), Tim Daly (Superman), Susan Eisenberg (Wonder Woman), Michael Rosenbaum (The Flash), and Carl Lumbly (the Martian Manhunter) all reprising their principal roles from the high-quality, popular “Timmverse” (which defined DC animation for over a decade), it is a bit better than most of them, which are, generally speaking, not that good. (The cartoon adaptation of Batman: Year One is particularly lousy.) Doom is okay, but suffers from the original comic story’s conceit that Batman putting in place special means to kill the League in case they happen to be taken over by mind-controlling aliens or the like is somehow a bad idea rather than being the eminently practical and indeed responsible thing to do. Still: Kevin Conroy as Batman is always, always good, because Kevin Conroy is the Batman you always hear in your head, the ur-Batman. (Teletoon, 9 p.m.)


The Weekend

The Biggest Loser returns, and this season’s gimmick is that Jillian Michaels is back and she will cut you. (CFMT, 9 p.m. Sunday)

Also back: Republic of Doyle is now in its fourth season, although Russell Crowe will not appear in this season’s debut episode because, although Russell Crowe may like Doyle a lot, he has a very busy schedule and doing a mediocre Javert in Les Miserables took up a lot of his time as it was. (CBC, 9 p.m. Sunday)

Comments

  • randall c nesbitt

    Ron James really does blow.

  • Anonymous

    It’s so cute how Torontoist pretends to hate Ron James for no reason!

  • Anonymous

    So, overall there’s nothing good on TV, despite this being the time of year when lots of people are off work and want to watch TV.

  • Anonymous

    Ron James scared the hell out of me when I was working backstage in a theatre once about ten years ago. He’s a very very angry man.