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Olivia Chow for Mayor

Toronto can do better. This is how.

culture

Televisualist: The Streets Bleed Reality

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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Danger zone.

Monday

American Ninja Warrior: USA vs. Japan inverts the usual “American contestants go to Japan, lose” formula that is so well known to fans of Sasuke / Ninja Warrior (although in fairness, just about everybody loses at Ninja Warrior, so that’s no knock on the Americans) by instead having top Japanese Ninja Warriors come to America to try and beat the American course in Las Vegas, which is slightly easier. Really, though, the point of this is to watch more Ninja Warrior antics, and if you’re up for that, you’re already sold. (ABC, 8 p.m.)

Boston’s Finest returns for a second season of not being COPS even though it’s basically just COPS with a recurring cast. (Bravo, 10 p.m.)

Archer now airs in Canada at the same time as it does in the States! This is a major coup for Teletoon, and it will be interesting to see if the idea of airing a popular American show before it is easily downloadable off the internet helps ratings. In the meantime, Archer is the best show ever, and this season is apparently all about the ISIS crew giving up being superspies to instead try to sell a gigantic amount of cocaine, so we’re firmly in the danger zone. (10 p.m.)


Tuesday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Lisa the Tree Hugger,” wherein Lisa tries to save a tree when she falls for a handsome young activist. “The eco-radical group, ‘Dirt First,’ staged a daring protest today at Krusty Burger. Krusty the Clown has issued the following statement: ‘This I don’t need.’ The group is led by teenage activist Jesse Grass, the dreadlock dreamboat whose birkenstock is on the rise!” (MuchMusic, 9 p.m.)


Wednesday

“Oh, look, American Idol auditions, that’s cool, lots that’s novel about those, hey, I bet they find some people who are really bad singers and then the judges all make funny faces while the bad singers sing, who are the judges this season, oh, okay Keith Urban, J-Lo, and Harry Connick Jr., that’s certainly three people who do music for a living” is the run-on sentence that went through my head when trying to talk about Idol, and it’s about as much effort as I’m going to expend on it. Man, sometimes I don’t believe they pay me to do this! (CTV2, 8 p.m.)

Notorious reality show number one returning this week: Duck Dynasty. Mere weeks after conservatives were up in arms about A&E’s suspension of Old Patriarch Duck Guy for being kinda homophobic and racist, A&E caved because the whole affair was probably just an excuse to drive Duck Dynasty’s ratings even higher than they already are. Conservatives love them some rednecks! Even fake TV rednecks. (10 p.m.)

Men at Work comes back for a third season, somehow. We have no idea—we really don’t. (Comedy Network, 10:30 p.m.)


Thursday

Notorious reality show number two returning this week: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo—and really, all the hullabaloo when Honey Boo Boo debuted last season was really kind of pointless, wasn’t it? Because it turned out the Clan Boo Boo was, in fact, a really nice and accepting bunch of people who had their priorities in order (Boo Boo money? Being locked away into college funds for the kids). We still don’t like the show particularly, but if we must have awful reality shows, then up with the Honey Boo Boos and down with the fake rednecks, that’s what we say. (TLC, 9 p.m.)


Friday

I Didn’t Do It is the latest tween sitcom produced by the Disney Channel, and it is quite possibly the single whitest show it has ever made. Hell, even Saved by the Bell had one visible minority in the main cast. This show is so white, the Disney people are considering introducing an Italian-American character but are worried he might alienate their core audience with his street-smart lingo and pizza-loving ways. That’s how white this show is. (Family Channel, 9:30 p.m.)


The Weekend

Notorious reality show number three returning this week: Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Really, the Kardashians seem relatively tame these days, don’t they? I mean, they even sort of do things for a living now. Kinda. Marrying Kanye counts, right? (E! Canada, 9 p.m. Sunday)

And if you want to see what the Kardashians have to compete with these days to be considered truly awful, you can watch the premiere of #RichKids of Beverly Hills, the premise of which is apparently “let’s find the absolute worst people in the entire goddamned world and give them a TV show.” We are not even kidding a little bit. The stars of this show make Paris Hilton look like Indira Gandhi. (E! Canada, 10:30 p.m. Sunday)

But seriously, rather than that crap, watch Looking, which is HBO’s new dramedy about gay men in San Francisco—a sort of Sex in the City times Queer as Folk that, based on what we’ve seen so far, surpasses both quite easily. It’s a magnificent show, engaging and funny and smart and romantic, and it deserves many more superlatives. Just great TV. (10:30 p.m. Sunday)

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