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culture

Televisualist: Improvising this Post Title Isn’t Going so Purple Monkey Dishwasher

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.

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This is true: Cochran (centre) accurately defined the Monty Hall problem this season on “Survivor” and became our favourite Survivor ever for just that reason. (Because we’re nerds.)

Monday

So tonight is game three of the first-round NHL playoff series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. The Leafs have tied up the series at 1-1, and their win no doubt led to all sorts of Toronto notables making bets with Bostonians about the playoff outcome, all of which have been met with “yeah, we just had a bombing here, maybe next year, okay” and really, can you blame them? (CBC, 7 p.m.)

In other Toronto sports news, the Blue Jays, who are playing Tampa Bay tonight, are 11-21 and are the third-worst team in baseball and HA HA HA HA HA THIS IS WHAT BEING A SPORTS FAN IN TORONTO IS LIKE SO MUCH OF THE TIME. (Sportsnet, 7 p.m.)

If you aren’t a sports person (and given Toronto’s sports teams, that seems like a definite possibility), The Voice has progressed to the “live playoffs,” which are the first bits where viewers actually get to vote. As always, the contestants by this point are a terrifically skilled lot, and Usher and Shakira have proven themselves to be entertaining coaches/judges (we already knew Adam Levine and Blake Shelton’s aggro-bromance wouldn’t fail to be fun). So this is good. (CTV, 8 p.m.)


Tuesday

We’re going to lay odds that Constitution USA With Peter Segal, PBS’ new series about the history of the Constitution, will within two episodes cause at least four online political communities to accuse Peter Segal and PBS of bias, treason, or both. (9 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Mypods and Broomsticks,” which is mostly a toothless late-season Simpsons but does feature the brutally vicious introduction of Mapple to the Simpsonsverse in a scene that reminds you of what The Simpsons used to be like. “I see you’re admiring our MyCube. It’s fueled by dreams and powered by imagination.” “What does it do?” “You should ask yourself: what can I do for it?” (CFMT, 6 p.m.)


Wednesday

Karma’s A B-tch!, a show where wronged women get back at their cheating bastard husbands, is proof of two things: firstly, along with the late and lamented Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23, it proves that television people really want to use the word “bitch” in show titles; and secondly, that if you just handed Slice’s network programmers a stack of old Best of the Jerry Springer Show videotapes, they would treat it like the Lost Ark. (9 p.m.)


Thursday

Community concludes yet another season hovering on the brink of cancellation but still with decent odds of being renewed simply because NBC has so few shows that have any audience whatsoever. (City, 8 p.m.)

Returning for its annual summer engagement: Wipeout. Because deep down, you just want to see people do spectacular pratfalls into swiming pools, and that is okay. (ABC, 8 p.m.)


Friday

“The One With All The Poker” is probably the first of the truly great episodes of Friends (and if you’re one of the haters who says no such things exist, you are bad and wrong). The very best episodes were either the bottle episodes featuring all six characters bouncing off one another and continually upping the ante, or the ones with the most openly sentimental endings. “Poker” has both. (TVTropolis, 8 p.m.)

Vegas comes to an end, and did anybody watch this show? We don’t even know any critics who watched this show. (Global, 9 p.m.)


The Weekend

Concluding this weekend with the usual two-hour finale-plus-reunion show: Survivor, which has presented us with an uncommonly strong season. The triple-immunity surprise play by Malcolm served up one of—if not the single best—tribal councils ever, which was immediately followed by Malcolm failing to find the second immunity idol and his immediate ouster. Shortly thereafter, when Erik found that idol and gave it (for reasons still unknown) to Andrea, Andrea decided that it was time to start blindsiding her biggest threats—which in turn caused Cochran to grow concerned and arrange her blindside, and now it appears that Cochran may be in trouble. All of this, of course, is all the sweeter because at every tribal council you get to watch poor eliminated Phillip, who is still clearly raging on the inside over being voted out, and that is delicious. (Global, 8 p.m. Sunday)

Family Tree is what happens when HBO decides to just give Christopher Guest and his buddies a TV show. There are lot of improvised scenes, a lot of Guest regulars (Michael McKean, Ed Begley Jr., Fred Willard, Bob Balaban, etc.), the eminently wise choice of Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids) as lead, and generally a good old time to be had by all. Recommended. (HBO Canada, 10:30 p.m. Sunday)

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